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People often put off considering bankruptcy as a form of debt relief because they are afraid of losing valuable assets in the process. Old stereotypes about bankrupt debtors being kicked to the curb with only the clothes on their back persist, as do other myths about bankruptcy.

In fact, filing for bankruptcy may offer the greatest opportunity to preserve a manageable lifestyle without the burden of unmanageable debt. Filing for bankruptcy can free you immediately of the threat of repossessions, foreclosure, wage garnishment or bank account levies, and you may be able to keep your home, your car, and most, if not all, of your possessions.

The experienced Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that financial problems can happen to hard-working and well-intentioned people.  With law offices in Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, our compassionate attorneys provide advice, assistance and a pathway to a fresh start for clients with financial difficulties in central and southwestern Ohio. Our clients receive personalized case evaluations and counsel regarding debt relief options, including Chapter 7 bankruptcyChapter 13 debt reorganization, debt settlement negotiations with creditors, and foreclosure defense for mortgage holders.

We offer a free consultation to examine your individual financial situation, your debts and your goals.  Should bankruptcy be your best option, we will help you get on the path to financial solvency and find the best ways to make sure you can keep as many of your possessions as possible. Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call us or contact us online today.

What the Laws Say

The question of “What can I keep?” in bankruptcy is best answered through an understanding of state and federal bankruptcy exemptions. Exemptions are laws that enumerate assets that a bankruptcy filer is allowed to set aside and keep, out of reach of the bankruptcy court’s management. How this is done depends on the type of bankruptcy you file.

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy— In Ohio, if you file for Chapter 7, which is a liquidation plan, you can automatically keep property that is protected by Ohio’s bankruptcy exemptions. While your bankruptcy trustee will liquidate nonexempt assets to pay creditors, if you do not own a great deal of property, your possessions may all be exempt, qualifying you for a “no asset” case, and you can wind up keeping everything.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy— If you file for Chapter 13, which is a reorganization and repayment plan, your bankruptcy exemptions will affect how much you pay to creditors through the plan.  You may get to keep the vast majority of your assets if you make the agreed-upon payments.

In addition to Ohio’s bankruptcy exemptions, under certain circumstances you may use any of the federal non-bankruptcy exemptions. These protect property such as federal and military retirement benefits. And if you are married and filing jointly for bankruptcy, you can double the Ohio exemptions allowed.

What Are Ohio Exemptions?

Ohio has some of the best exemptions in the country. Some of the most commonly used exemptions in our state include:

Homestead
You can keep a fixed amount in one parcel of real or personal property that you or your dependents use as a residence, including a house, manufactured home, or mobile home. You must remain current on your mortgage payments.

Personal Property
This includes cash and the value of one motor vehicle, household goods, jewelry, etc.

Wages
A set percentage of your wages are exempt.

Pensions
You may keep income you receive from private pensions, tax-exempt retirement accounts [401(k), 403(b), and profit-sharing plans], IRAs, Roth IRAs up to a certain amount, and state teacher retirement.

Benefits
Benefits that are protected under Ohio law include: workers’ compensation benefits, disability assistance payments, unemployment compensation benefits, vocational rehabilitation benefits, crime victim’s compensation received during the 12 months before filing, and earned income tax credit and child tax credit.

Wildcard
Ohio’s wildcard benefit allows you a fixed amount of value in any property.

Support
You may keep spousal or child support that is reasonably necessary for support.

Tools of the Trade
Allows a fixed amount of value in implements, books, and tools of your trade, occupation, or business.

Miscellaneous
There are additional exemptions available to protect specific property, and Ohio updates exemptions every three years. The fixed amounts listed above change based on those updates.

Contact Us For Help, Answers, and Peace of Mind

The bankruptcy code is complicated and filled with extremely complex procedures and rules.  Making mistakes can lead to your case being dismissed by the court without a discharge, missing out on exemptions, and losing property that you might have been able to keep.  It pays to hire an experienced attorney to guide and advise you through the entire process.

The seasoned and compassionate Ohio bankruptcy lawyers at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer are dedicated to helping you through the maze of personal bankruptcy.   Patience, compassion and skillful guidance are attributes of our debt-relief law practice.

Our team of bankruptcy and debt-settlement attorneys works hard to ensure each client’s situation is handled professionally, taking the time to advise each client of the best options for their individual situation. Once our clients decide to move forward toward financial freedom, we immediately begin implementing solutions.

A free initial consultation and careful evaluation of your individual financial situation by the Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer will point you in the right direction and give you the information you need to rebuild your life.  We will compare federal and Ohio bankruptcy exemptions with regard to your specific situation and decide which would apply if you do choose to file bankruptcy.

Don’t delay — call one of our conveniently located office branches or email today to set up your free consultation so we can determine what debt-relief solutions will work best for you.

We are a debt-relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Attorneys Thomas M. Fesenmyer, Courtney A. Cousino and Danielle R. Weinzimmer appreciate your interest in our firm’s Ohio bankruptcy law practice. Through years of experience, we have helped thousands of Ohio clients overcome numerous obstacles to true debt relief.

We understand that those struggling to deal with debt cannot afford to be burdened with large attorney fees, so we make our services as affordable as possible.  By efficiently analyzing your situation and your options, we can prevent you from making mistakes that can wind up costing you more in the long run.

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