Deciding to file for bankruptcy is a difficult decision, but if you think you are ready to take the step of filing, it is essential to do so properly. The bankruptcy process is complex, and mistakes can result in complications that can cause your discharge of debts to be denied or, even worse, be considered fraudulent and lead to criminal charges.
To avoid mistakes, it’s best to have the guidance of an experienced Ohio bankruptcy attorney. The skilled and seasoned Ohio debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that even the most well-intentioned people can find themselves in financial trouble and that no one wants to have to file bankruptcy. However, if you are at the point where you can’t meet your bills and find yourself drowning in debt, a correctly filed bankruptcy can eliminate many debts, provide protections from creditors and give you a fresh financial start.
Our compassionate attorneys understand what you are going through. We provide a free consultation to evaluate your individual situation and make sure you avoid costly problems before, during, and after your bankruptcy procedure. The following is a list of some common mistakes you want to avoid.
Since the inception of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005, there has been a greater emphasis on eliminating acts of fraud, so make sure the information you provide is as accurate as possible. Attorneys can only provide legal advice and representation based on the information you give them. No matter the state of your financial matters, telling the complete truth to your attorney will prevent problems and result in a better outcome.
Be aware that even debts you believe to be nondischargeable in bankruptcy must be listed in your paperwork. If you fail to disclose any income, asset or creditor, even unintentionally, it may result in of the following:
If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the most common form of bankruptcy, it discharges most or all consumer and/or business debts. In return, the courts will liquidate your non-exempt property. The bankruptcy trustee will sell the property, distribute the proceeds to your creditors, and then discharge (wipe out) debt that remains after the sale. An experienced attorney can make sure you will lose little or no property in the process and don’t wind up with unexpected losses.
There are many Ohio Exemptions for property that cannot be seized. The Ohio Revised Code allows you to protect part of the value of your vehicle in bankruptcy, but still problems often occur with auto loans.
The exemption situation can get especially tricky in situations where you are involved in a joint bankruptcy case, in a divorce situation, or if the auto loan company didn’t record their lien properly against your automobile. Also, some auto finance companies will automatically repossess your automobile in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy unless you execute a special contract called a reaffirmation agreement. An experienced bankruptcy attorney knows how to deal with these finance companies.
Tax refunds owed to you in the future can present problems, since any monies due to you must be listed as property in bankruptcy paperwork. People often lose at least part of their upcoming tax refund unless they know how to claim the right exemptions and time the date of the bankruptcy. The same situation exists for proceeds of personal injury or other lawsuits, money or life insurance proceeds that may be inherited, and sales commissions and bonuses that are due to be paid.
Under 11 U.S. Code § 547, debtors may not pay one creditor a larger amount than other creditors before filing for bankruptcy. To do so can be considered a preferential transfer, and the bankruptcy trustee may even file a lawsuit to recover money that should have been evenly distributed among all creditors.
This is especially true if the people you are paying back are friends or other family members, who may wind up being sued if you pay back a personal loan. Trustees will look back for 90 days to see whether any such payments were made for most creditors, but for friends and family, they will look back as far as one year.
If you have people you wish to pay back, do so after your bankruptcy is discharged. And giving away assets such as a car, to friends and family is also likely to be viewed as fraudulent. So are attempting to sell items cheaply so they can be purchased back later and transferring items out of your name to avoid losing them in bankruptcy. Doing any of the above may result in your being subject to investigation for intent to hinder, delay or defraud a creditor.
Bankruptcy cases can be dismissed without discharging your debts if you do not comply with Ohio bankruptcy requirements for filing, producing documents, or other administrative matters. Here are some common reasons for bankruptcy dismissal:
The experienced Ohio debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer know that bankruptcy can give you a fresh start, but you need to know what you are doing or you could wind up in a worse situation than before you started. Proper legal assistance from our compassionate attorneys can help ensure that you avoid problems and actually wind up saving money in the long run.
We recognize that everyone’s individual situation is different, so we offer a free consultation to evaluate your entire financial picture. We will examine your income, your debts and your goals and help you find the best path to a brighter financial future.
Delaying can only make your situation worse, so take control of your financial future and learn more about how our firm can be of assistance today. Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation so we can determine what solutions will work best for you.
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