Ohio Bankruptcy Lawyer
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If you have come to realize that your financial situation is out of control and you are unsure of how to get out and live debt free, bankruptcy may be the correct option for you. Bankruptcy is most often the result of unforeseen circumstances and therefore should not been seen as shameful or embarrassing. Bankruptcy can mean a fresh new start for people who have fallen on hard times, whether through job loss, sudden illness or injury that leads to high medical bills, or divorce or other personal emergency.
Legally, bankruptcy is the declared inability, or impairment of ability, of an individual or organization to pay its creditors. Creditors may file a bankruptcy petition against a debtor in an effort to recoup a portion of what they are owed or initiate a restructuring. In the majority of cases, however, bankruptcy is initiated by the debtor.
If you are considering bankruptcy, you will want to contact a qualified Ohio bankruptcy attorney in order to help you decide the right path to take. Bankruptcy may not be in your best interests, and your attorney – who is well-versed in all forms of debt relief – will be able to evaluate your personal financial situation and determine whether or not you should pursue this option or another, more appropriate one.
After you and your attorney have made the decision to pursue bankruptcy proceedings, the next step to take is to determine whether or not you will be eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is also known as "liquidation bankruptcy," and is what people typically think of when bankruptcy comes to mind. Recent changes to the Bankruptcy Code, however, have made this type more difficult to qualify for. In order to determine your eligibility, you will take a means test, which will evaluate your income, your assets and your expenditures.
If your income falls under the Census Bureau\'s established median income level for families in Ohio, you will automatically be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you make more than the median income for families in Ohio, you will proceed to the next level of the means test, at which point the court will consider your income over the past six months, your mortgage and car payments, any back taxes or child support due, and school expenses. If, after deducting these amounts and the living expenses provided in the Internal Revenue Service\'s national collection standards, you are still found eligible to pay approximately $100/month to unsecured creditors over a period of five years, you will not be able to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. At this point, you will be forced to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also known as the "wage earner\'s plan" and is the right plan for those debtors who have mortgages or car loans that they would like to bring current in order to retain their property or other assets. Under Chapter 13, you will reorganize your debts in order to give you time to pay them, formulating a repayment plan which will take between three to five years.
In either case, a court-appointed trustee will take charge of your case. If you have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your trustee will sell your remaining non-exempt assets and distribute the profits to your creditors. If you have filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your trustee will receive your monthly payments and will then disburse those payments to your creditors.
For many consumers, the decision to use the protection of bankruptcy is a difficult one. However, it may be the best course of action for consumers in dire financial situations. Bankruptcy allows you to gain control of your debts and legally work with your creditors. You can come out of bankruptcy with fresh start and begin to rebuild your financial future. Contact an Ohio bankruptcy lawyer today by visiting the website of the American Bar Association and using their free service to locate an attorney in your area.
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