If you’re struggling to keep up with your bills and are receiving harassing calls from creditors, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be an option to help you make a fresh start. Per data provided by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, over 470,000 non-business Chapter 7 bankruptcies were filed during the 2017 fiscal year. The process isn’t easy, however. There are strict rules regarding eligibility, and the long-term implications for your credit rating are considerable. The best way to ensure a favorable outcome is to work with a knowledgeable Ohio Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer.
At Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Zeiher Co. LPA, our Ohio bankruptcy attorneys understand how falling on difficult financial times can make you feel helpless. We’re here to shoulder the legal burden by explaining your options, and we’ll handle the entire process from start to finish. Please contact our office to schedule a free case review with attorney Adrienne Hines an experienced Chapter 7 attorney who focuses on these cases. Some answers to the most frequently asked questions may also be useful.
Attorney Hines can be reached at (419) 625-7770, or by reaching out through the online form.
What are the Basics of Filing for Bankruptcy Under Chapter 7?
Chapter 7 is the section of the Federal Bankruptcy Code that allows you to wipe the slate clean through the elimination of your debts. If you’re eligible, you file a petition along with other necessary forms for declaring bankruptcy. Generally, you’ll need to provide details on the property you own, your current income, your monthly living costs, and your debts. Upon filing your bankruptcy petition, the court appoints a trustee to act as an administrator through the process.
Your bankruptcy trustee starts by reviewing your forms and supporting information. For purposes of bankruptcy proceedings, your assets essentially become the property of the trustee. This is because Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy, which means that the trustee can sell certain assets to cover the amounts you owe to creditors.
Shortly after you file your initial documents, there will be a meeting of creditors in court. The creditors you list in your bankruptcy forms will be present, as well as your trustee. You will be sworn in, and the trustee may ask questions to clarify the information you provided in your documents. After the creditors meeting, the trustee will make a determination on which assets to sell, because not all of your property can be sold to satisfy your debts.
Do I Qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Your income, expenses, and debts are the focus of Chapter 7 proceedings. You will likely qualify if your wages are low, and your expenses and debts are high. However, any combination of these factors may make you ineligible for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy. If it’s possible for you to repay your debts or decrease your monthly expenses, you may not qualify.
Assets and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Ohio
Certain types of property are considered exempt from being surrendered/sold under federal bankruptcy statutes. These laws intend to provide options to resolve your debts, not to leave you destitute. Therefore, assets such as your primary, clothing, furnishings, and personal effects are exempt. You may also be able to keep your vehicle and tools necessary to perform your job.
Please contact Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney Adrienne Hines to learn more about exempt property. There are very complicated rules regarding certain items and secured assets. An Ohio bankruptcy lawyer can help you understand how these laws apply to your case.
What Happens After Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Once the trustee sells some of your assets and applies the proceeds to your debts, your financial record is clear. The amounts you owe to creditors are discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, there are certain legal obligations you cannot eliminate, such as:
- Child support
- Student loans
- Amounts owed to the IRS
- Debts that you procured through fraud
You should note that Chapter 7 bankruptcy has a significant impact on your credit rating. The matter remains on your credit report for 10 years. It may seem a harsh result, but the advantage is being able to discharge your debts without paying them.
How an Ohio Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can provide legal assistance at all phases of the process. Even before you file, a lawyer can advise you on which type of bankruptcy is the best fit for your situation. Your attorney will prepare the necessary forms and gather the paperwork relevant to your creditors. It’s also beneficial to have a bankruptcy lawyer at your side during the creditors meeting, as you may need advice in responding to the trustee’s questions.
Contact a Chapter 7 Attorney for Help Today
If you’d like more information on Chapter 7 bankruptcy and your legal options, please contact attorney Adrienne Hines. She focuses on Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and has extensive knowledge and experience in these cases. She can explain more about the pros and cons of the process after reviewing your circumstances. Contact Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Zeiher Co. LPA by calling (419) 625-7770 or visiting us online to schedule a free consultation.