Bankruptcy, Maumee, Ohio FAQs

Thinking About Bankruptcy?

Thinking About Bankruptcy

Thinking About Bankruptcy?

“Frequently Asked Questions”

 

Bankruptcy Lawyers near Maumee, Ohio

 

 

5 TIPS FOR BANKRUPTCY SUCCESS

  1. Start with a free consultation
  2. Choose an experienced bankruptcy attorney
  3. Get a copy of your credit report
  4. Avoid impersonal & large bankruptcy mills
  5. Do your homework, learn about bankruptcy

What is bankruptcy?  Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding afforded to individuals (or businesses) who are unable to handle a financial crisis.  Bankruptcy is made available by federal law so that you can have a fresh chance.  There are different types of bankruptcy, so choose a bankruptcy lawyer near Maumee, Ohio who will be your experienced guide through the bankruptcy relief process.

 

Will I lose my car or home?  Many of our clients are able to save their car and/or home. Legal strategies are available to assist bankruptcy debtors in saving their most valued assets such as the family home and primary vehicle(s).  However, each case is unique and these liquidation risk concerns should be thoroughly discussed with your experienced bankruptcy attorney near Maumee, Ohio.  Some warning signs that your home or car may be at risk include loan arrears and excessive equity.  Your local bankruptcy attorney will carefully review your specific situation, and discuss your options.  As a general rule, debtors who wish to keep their home and car are encouraged to remain current on their loan payments until they can discuss their status with a bankruptcy attorney.  In Chapter 7, debtors who seek to keep their home and/or primary vehicle typically are guided through the reaffirmation process.  Deadlines apply to the debtor during a chapter 7 bankruptcy reaffirmation process, so debtors are encouraged to remain in contact with their attorney, post bankruptcy filing.

 

What is an exemption?  We prefer to think of exemptions as “shields of protection” during the bankruptcy process.  Essentially, bankruptcy exemptions protect up to a specific amount of exposed (excess) equity that you may have in your personal and/or real property.  Specific exemptions exist for a variety of assets.  Ohio is considered to be an “Opt Out” state, meaning that it has its own set of statutory bankruptcy exemptions as listed in Ohio Revised Code 2329.66.  These statutory exemptions amounts vary over time and the online version of the statute is not always timely updated. Basic examples of some current  Ohio bankruptcy exemptions are $3,775.00 per owner towards your primary vehicle and over $130,000.00 (per homeowner) on your primary residence.  In order to claim a homestead exemption, it must be on your residence as opposed to a vacation cottage or separate parcel of land. Other exemptions apply towards jewelry, term life insurance, many retirement plans, portions of personal injury settlements, cash, bank accounts, tools of trade, certain animals including some horses, and more. Debtors filing in “opt out” states like Ohio, may not use Federal exemptions.  NOTICE FOR MICHIGAN DEBTORS:  France Law Group also serves chapter 7 bankruptcy clients from Southeastern Michigan.  Michigan is not considered to be an “opt out” state, thus Michigan chapter 7 bankruptcy debtors may choose between Michigan statutory bankruptcy exemptions or Federal bankruptcy exemptions.  Once a Michigan debtor has chosen between Michigan or Federal bankruptcy exemptions, he or she may not combine types of exemptions. Also, it should be noted that exemption amounts vary greatly between Ohio and Michigan, so the above Ohio bankruptcy exemption amounts are different in Michigan bankruptcy cases.  Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss how bankruptcy exemptions may work in your particular case.

 

Can I re-establish credit after filing bankruptcy?   YES!!!!  Bankruptcy is intended to give you a fresh start.  After the completion of your bankruptcy case, it is not uncommon to receive new credit offers.  However, we typically suggest to our clients to be prudent in choosing credit after a bankruptcy filing.  Creditors may seem anxious to lend you money, however many times high interest rates or other negative terms exist. These terms and rates will likely improve with time. It may be prudent to research the many ways to rebuild your credit post bankruptcy filing.

 

Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?  Many individuals file for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.  Which one you qualify for is a function of your household income, debts, prior bankruptcy filings, liquidation risks, and various other factors.  It is estimated that over 86% of debtors in the metro Toledo area file under chapter 7.  Your experienced local bankruptcy attorney near Maumee, Ohio will be able to help you best understand which bankruptcy chapter is right for you.

 

What is Chapter 7?  This type of bankruptcy allows individuals who are hopelessly burdened by debt to obtain a fresh chance by eliminating unsecured debts, such as credit cards, medical bills, collections, and vehicle repossessions.   Chapter 7  is appropriate for debtors who are unable to pay a portion of their debts back to the creditors.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy is referred to as “liquidation” because debtors may have to surrender some of their assets in exchange for the elimination of their debts.   However, many exemptions are available to help protect your assets.  Your France Law Group attorney will work closely with you to determine if any of your assets appear to be at risk.

 

What types of debts will NOT be discharged?  In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case some of the following debts may be non-dischargeable:  taxes, child support, alimony, recent cash advances, recent installment loans, most student loans, criminal fines and restitution, traffic tickets, and more. Most governmental and court ordered obligations will not be dischargeable.  Be sure to discuss any bankruptcy history with your bankruptcy attorney, even if you are filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy relief.  In unique circumstances, some chapter 13 bankruptcy debtors may not be entitled to a discharge.

 

What is Chapter 13?  This type of bankruptcy is essentially a debt repayment plan that allows you to combine your debts and repay them over a 3-5 year period.  Chapter 13 debtors are able to retain their home and vehicle while they make regular monthly payments.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also a great tool for those who want to keep their home, but have fallen substantially behind on their mortgage payments.  Filing under chapter 13 can stop foreclosure lawsuits. Your France Law Group attorney will be happy to sit down with you and explain Chapter 13 in its entirety.

 

Will my monthly food stamp benefit affect my bankruptcy case?  It is important to discuss all types of household income sources with your local bankruptcy attorney prior to filing for bankruptcy relief.  Food stamps are considered to be a source of household income when making all bankruptcy eligibility calculations.  Your bankruptcy attorney can help make sense of everything, but it is always best to disclose all sources of household income. 

 

What is the credit counseling requirement? Congress has mandated that all bankruptcy debtors successfully complete two credit counseling courses prior to the discharge of their bankruptcy case.  This requirement is intended to assist the debtor in maintaining financial success after a bankruptcy.  These courses are offered both online and via telephone.  Most debtors will be required to pay a nominal fee (estimated $5 to $40 per course).  In some cases, debtors may receive a fee waiver.  Some course providers charge higher fees for using mobile devices and I-Pads.  When calling to schedule your online class, be sure to discuss any fees associated with the class.  Many of our bankruptcy clients are able to pay as little as $10.00 to $15.00 per course, but again be sure to discuss pricing with your course provider.  While France Law Group does not specifically endorse any course provider, one of the more common providers is CC Advising.

Debt Free - Attractive woman cutting up her credit card

 

How much will bankruptcy cost?   Fees vary according to the complexity of each case. The typical fees in most cases include attorney fees, court filing fees, and nominal credit counseling fees.  When comparing large overall debts to bankruptcy fees, most debtors find a significant value received when comparing bankruptcy related fees and expenses versus the  elimination of qualifying unsecured debts and immediate peace of mind.  As a generic example, consider a bankruptcy debtor’s fees and expenses total near $1,350.00 and the same debtor has about $45,000.00 in unsecured debts such as credit cards, medical, and vehicle repossessions.  In this generic example, the debtor would be able to eliminate these unsecured debts for about 3% of what he or she owes.  This modest investment would pay dividends in the form a fresh start post bankruptcy. The aforementioned generic example is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to be a fee quote of any kind. All attorney fees and bankruptcy filing fees are due before filing your bankruptcy case. If you are ready to file your chapter 7 bankruptcy case now, then check out our “Express File Bankruptcy” promotion  and save up to $200 in attorney fees (conditions apply).

 

Can I hire France Law Group to represent me in creditor negotiations and avoid bankruptcy?  Yes, sometimes creditor negotiations can be an appropriate non-bankruptcy option.  Typically, this is advised for debtors with smaller debt levels needing assistance in getting financially organized.  Many clients enjoy having their own legal advocate in negotiating with the aggressive credit card companies and bill collectors.  This can also be very helpful for those dealing with the IRS and other departments of taxation. 

 

I’m married – does my spouse have to file for bankruptcy too?  No, you and your spouse are not required to file for bankruptcy together. However, you may both want to file for bankruptcy jointly if you and your spouse share responsibility for the debt. (i.e. co-signed debts) In situations where only one spouse files for bankruptcy, the creditors may still be able to collect from the non-filing co-debtor.  Also, it may be cost effective to file jointly.  France Law Group attorney fees are based on a per case basis, meaning it is the same amount whether one person files alone or if a married couple files bankruptcy jointly. Special considerations may be available in chapter 13 bankruptcy cases for the non-filing spouse, but this should be thoroughly discussed with your local bankruptcy attorney.

 

FranceLawGroupDo I have to go to court if I file for bankruptcy?   Unless there are issues that cannot be resolved among you and your creditors, you will probably not need to go to an actual courthouse in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case . In most Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases, you will be required to attend one “Meeting Of Creditors.”  The “meeting” is typically not held in a courtroom and a judge will not preside. The Meeting Of Creditors typically occurs between 30-50 days after your bankruptcy filing date. In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case, you will be required to attend an additional hearing to confirm your payment plan.  Your France Law Group bankruptcy attorney will be with you every step of the way and will help make the entire process as painless as possible.

 

How long does the bankruptcy process take?    The answer depends on whether your are filing chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Your protection from creditors begins at the time of filing your bankruptcy case.  Discharge in a typical chapter 7 bankruptcy happens about 4 to 5 months following the filing of your chapter 7 bankruptcy.  In chapter 13 cases, discharge typically occurs soon after the final monthly plan payment is made (estimated 3 to 5 years).  Special circumstances may prolong an expected discharge date.  Your local bankruptcy attorney can keep you updated so that you have a clear understanding of what to expect.

 

What about student loans in bankruptcy?  As a general rule, student loans are not discharged in a bankruptcy.   Hardship exceptions may apply in certain situations.  If you are behind in your student loan repayment, one possible solution is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in which you combine your student loan debt and other debts into a single monthly payment.  Your France Law Group bankruptcy attorney can carefully assess your unique situation and advise you accordingly. 

 

Divorce and bankruptcy?  Sometimes a good marriage can end, leaving two adults with a substantial change in household finances.  It is not uncommon for bankruptcy and divorce proceedings to occur simultaneously.  You should carefully advise both your bankruptcy attorney and your divorce attorney of your situation so that everyone can work together.  Having your own coordinated group of individual legal counselors can help this difficult period of time proceed more smoothly for everyone. Bankruptcy attorneys typically charge by the case, not by the number of people, thus you may be able to save money by filing as a married couple, so be sure to discuss timing with your local bankruptcy attorney.  Also, be aware of joint debts and joint assets.  Generally, the terms in your Divorce Decree may have an impact on your bankruptcy case.

 

Jurisdiction (Where do I file my bankruptcy case)?  Jurisdiction refers to the proper location for the filing of your case.  France Law Group attorneys are licensed to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases in both the Northern District of Ohio and the Eastern District of Michigan.  As a general rule, jurisdiction in bankruptcy cases is the location in which you have resided for the preceding six (6) months.  If you have either recently moved, or are planning an upcoming move, it is important to notify your bankruptcy attorney.

 

 

 

FRANCE LAW GROUP                                          (419) 725-9300

 

 

 

 

NOTICE: We are a debt relief agency. We help individuals file for relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code. Choosing an experienced bankruptcy attorney near Maumee, Ohio is an important decision.  The content contained within the pages of this website and any outbound links contained herein, are for educational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice.

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Bankruptcy attorneys near Maumee, Ohio serving:  Maumee, Toledo, Monclova, Waterville, Perrysburg, Haskins, Grand Rapids, Neapolis, Whitehouse, Port Clinton, Sandusky, Holland, Lake Township, Rossford, Northwood, Clyde, Woodville, Fremont, Fostoria, Tiffin, Upper Sandusky, Lima, Swanton, Delta, Wauseon, Fayette, Archbold, Bowling Green, Ohio.

Local chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys serving Southeastern Michigan:  Temperance, Lambertville, Bedford Township, Ida, Petersburg, Luna Pier, Erie, Summerfield, Ottawa Lake, Blissfield, Deerfield, Dundee, Milan, Saline, Tecumseh, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Canton, Michigan.

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