CHAPTER 7 SOLUTIONSFREEDOM FROM DEBT

A Skilled Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney

Are you struggling to deal with situations such as layoffs and downsizing, overwhelming medical and credit card bills and other mounting debts? When times are tough, bills rapidly pile up and, before you know it, you, your family, or your small business is faced with financial disaster. The good news is that there is help available through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, referred to as a fresh start bankruptcy. It can discharge unsecured debts, including credit cards, medical bills and installment loans. It stops, prevents or resolves collections, loan deficiencies, repossessions, wage garnishment and civil judgments. It can help you eliminate the bills you cannot afford while allowing you to keep assets such as your car and your house.

To find out more about your opportunity to make a fresh start, call a skilled Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati).

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Choosing the Best Ohio Chapter 7 Lawyer

Finding a compassionate, affordable bankruptcy attorney can make all the difference.

As you consider your debt relief options, you may determine that bankruptcy offers the best combination of protections and opportunities. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often suitable for people with a lot of unsecured debt but not much income. Often referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 can allow you to stay in your home while discharging credit card, medical and other debt.

At Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer, an Ohio Chapter 7 lawyer will sit down with you, explain the law, help you get your documents in order, and file a petition on your behalf with the bankruptcy court. We will walk beside you every step of the way. Our attorneys show deep compassion and respect for our clients, and we understand that even the most responsible and hardworking individuals can find themselves in debt despite their best efforts. We keep our fees affordable because we understand that finances are tight. To learn more about our legal team, read our attorney bios. We provide a free, no-obligation consultation and offer professional and supportive representation to protect our clients. We evaluate your individual situation and help you determine whether filing for Chapter 7 is the right choice for you.

You don’t have to feel discouraged or hopeless about debt. There is a solution. You can get a fresh start and experience a brighter future.

Understanding Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If your income is too low to pay credit card bills, medical bills, utilities, payday loans or personal loans, Chapter 7 may be the best option. Chapter 7 is an organized way to liquidate debt and some assets you do not want to keep, and it puts you on a firmer financial footing to move forward.

The process is over in a few months, so you can begin rebuilding credit quickly. Upon discharge of your Chapter 7, you will have little or no debt remaining, and lenders may feel that you will be better able to repay your debts in the future. Many people finance vehicles and receive solicitations for unsecured credit within months. In addition, you may be eligible to purchase a home within two years of your bankruptcy discharge.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Can Protect You From:

  • Creditor harassment
  • Vehicle repossession debt
  • Wage garnishment
  • Civil lawsuits
  • Unpaid cosigned debts.

Chapter 7 and the Ohio Means Test

Not everyone is eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Your income and debt will be subjected to something called a “means test” to determine whether you qualify. The means test assesses whether your household income falls below the median for Ohio. If you are not eligible for Chapter 7, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is another form of relief.

Chapter 7 FAQs

Most of our firm’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy clients are able to keep all of their assets while eliminating most, if not all, consumer debt. So you see, there is hope. Here are some of the most common questions a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer can answer:

In most circumstances, yes, you can keep your house. You must continue to make your mortgage payments during the bankruptcy process. Even if you’re in foreclosure, you can often stop the foreclosure and stay in your home.

Yes, most or all credit card debt can be eliminated through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, depending on your particular situation. Credit card balances are considered “unsecured debt,” which can be discharged. Do not intentionally run up a lot of credit card debt in the 2-3 months before filing bankruptcy in hopes that it will be discharged, because judges are stern if they think you’re trying to scam the system. They can reinstate the debt and force you to pay it.

In most circumstances, no. Student loans are generally not dischargeable through bankruptcy. There is a narrow and rare exception for “hardship” cases if you can prove that paying student loan debt creates undue hardship in your life, but it is not easy to qualify.

Yes, if you want to. You would have to reaffirm this debt and continue to make payments on your auto loan (if you don’t own the vehicle outright) if you want to retain possession of the vehicle.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit record for ten (10) years after your bankruptcy is discharged.

What Are Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Ohio bankruptcy exemptions are state laws that articulate which and/or how much of your assets are “exempt” – meaning outside the reach of creditors in Ohio when you’re filing bankruptcy. They are codified at Section 2329.66 | Exempted interests and rights.

This provides an added level of protection when you walk through the bankruptcy process. You may exempt a portion of a property that falls into an exemption category such as real estate, disability benefits, life insurance policy or proceeds, and others. You can read more about Ohio bankruptcy exemptions here.

You can take back control of your life by proactively filing bankruptcy. If you are tired of being harassed by creditors, you can stop the phone calls and get back in the driver’s seat.

Knowing the Essentials of Bankruptcy

A skilled Chapter 7 attorney can help you understand your legal rights.

Though we help clients through the entire process of debt management, knowing a little more about the process can help alleviate concerns. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Ohio has a lot of moving parts. We encourage everyone to know your rights! Following is some important information:

  • What you can keep – Bankruptcy can be used to protect valuable assets. Find out what you can and can’t keep while filing for bankruptcy.
  • How to stop collections – Debt collections are a major burden for debtors, but they can be stopped through certain processes.
  • The difference between filing statuses – When it comes to tackling debt, couples have many options available. Find out some of the key differences between common bankruptcy filing statuses.
  • Alternatives to bankruptcy – Bankruptcy is a lifesaver for many debtors, but it’s one of many tools that debtors might consider.
  • Terms you should know – What is an automatic stay? What does the term “under-secured claim” mean? We break down some terms commonly used in the bankruptcy process.

What About Secured Debt?

Debts backed up by property, such as home mortgages or automobile loans, are secured debts. The debt will be discharged, but the lender is entitled to recover the property used as security. If you want to keep the property, you do have alternatives. You can negotiate with the lender while in bankruptcy to alter the terms of the original loan. The lender might be willing to extend your loan so that the payments are more affordable or might offer a reduced principal balance on the loan. You also have the option of keeping the property if you pay its current value to your lender. Our experienced attorneys can review your individual situation and go over all the options with you. For a free consultation, call us at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati)

Non-Dischargeable Debts in Bankruptcy

Under U.S. bankruptcy law, there are some types of debts that are not dischargeable, even if they are large and burdensome. This is because courts don’t want individuals evading their financial responsibilities simply by declaring bankruptcy. Some of these types of debt include:

  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • Student loans (except in rare cases)
  • Some taxes
  • Debt incurred through fraud
  • Financial penalties imposed for DUI arrests.

If you have questions about additional debts you may have and whether they can be discharged through bankruptcy, speak to a skilled and affordable Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer.

Chapter 7 Dos and Don’ts

Some people who consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy make critical errors during or before the filing process. Many do this to try to outsmart the system, but others do so simply because they don’t realize that their actions could have a detrimental impact on their filing. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Do talk to a skilled Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer before making big decisions or taking action with your debt. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to debt solutions.

  2. Do gather all of your documents together to get a real-time assessment of how much debt you have. Gather in one place all credit card statements, medical bills, mortgage or lease documents, car payment info, personal loan paperwork, and other debt information so you can get a true snapshot of your situation. You will need to provide these to your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney.

  3. Don’t attempt to pay off certain types of debt at the expense of others. Often, this takes the form of paying off debt to friends or family members, but it creates many problems in the bankruptcy filing process.

  4. Don’t rack up new debt. You might be thinking that you’re about to tackle your debt through bankruptcy, so what’s the harm in tacking on a bit more before you buckle down. This is yet another way to create serious financial and legal concerns in your case.

  5. Don’t take your time in the process. You should get the process started as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you might lose resources you could have otherwise retained during bankruptcy.

  6. Don’t rush a divorce to get it finalized before filing for bankruptcy. If at all possible, the process will be simpler if you can file for divorce after your bankruptcy.

Make sure you talk to an experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer when considering your options. There are plenty of pitfalls and opportunities for filers. Consulting with someone who knows the law can maximize your assets while minimizing the potential for any critical errors.

Contact Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer Today

The longer you wait to explore your bankruptcy options, the more chances you have of getting deeper in debt, and the more stress and worry you will endure. Bankruptcy issues are complicated, but the Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand the issues and the difficult decisions involved.

We will provide you with a personalized case evaluation and counsel you regarding debt relief options, including but not limited to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We work with you to make sure you are aware of all your options and help you decide on the path to a brighter future that makes sense in your individual case. We understand what you are going through and will walk you through the process.

Don’t delay! Call Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer at one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for a free consultation so we can determine what debt relief solutions will work best for you.

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