You CAN start over!
- Why should you consult an experienced attorney who focuses his practice on bankruptcy BEFORE deciding to file?
All bankruptcies are NOT the same – your situation is unique. With Chapter 7 or 13 Personal Bankruptcy it’s possible to:
Keep your home and vehicles.
Stop foreclosure proceedings.
Stop lawsuits, garnishments and annoying collection calls.
- Can I keep my house?
This is not an easy question to answer without knowing specific information. However, in a Chapter 7 it is possible to keep your home if you are current on your mortgage and there is not a lot of equity in the home.
- Can I keep my car?
In most cases people are able to keep their cars. A single debtor in Ohio is allowed to have $3225 of equity in a vehicle and married couples are allowed to have $6450.00 of equity in a vehicle. If you still owe money on the vehicle then it is possible to reaffirm the loan and keep the vehicle.
- Will a bankruptcy stop creditor phone calls?
Yes. When a bankruptcy is filed creditors must stop contacting you. This includes collection phone calls. After creditors receive notice of a bankruptcy filing they must contact the debtor’s attorney if they have any questions about the case.
- What if I’m being sued, or I have a judgment against me, is it too late to file?
No. It’s almost never too late to file bankruptcy. Assuming that it is a “dischargeable debt” (debt which hasn’t been incurred through fraud, a domestic support obligation, or any of the other debts Congress has excluded from dischargeability), you can still “discharge” your debt, even if a creditor has filed a lawsuit against you and received a judgment. Also, you may even “discharge” debt, when a creditor has placed a lien against your property (however, the lien will remain against the property unless you are able to remove it during the bankruptcy proceeding).
- Can I keep my personal property?
Yes. Exemptions are allowances which protect the value in certain assets. Different types of assets have different exemption amounts, but for the most part you will be able to keep most of your personal property.
- Can a bankruptcy get me fired, or denied a job?
No. Bankruptcy cannot be used as a basis for terminating your employment, or excluding you from potential future employment. This is set forth in Section 525 of the Bankruptcy Code.
- Can I be denied a student loan because I or my parents filed for bankruptcy?
No. Section 525 of the Bankruptcy Code prohibits discriminatory treatment by ANY governmental or other student loan program, solely on the basis of filing for bankruptcy.
- What is the difference between filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?
Chapter 7, otherwise more commonly known as “liquidation”, allows for a debtor to discharge all of his or her existing debts immediately (usually within 4-6 months), and allows you a “fresh start” with your finances. Chapter 13, otherwise more commonly known as “reorganization” requires the debtor to make monthly payments to a Bankruptcy Trustee for a certain period of time (usually 3-5 years). Upon completion of the Chapter 13 Plan, all remaining debt is discharged.
- Do I have to list all of my creditors in my bankruptcy case?
One cannot pick and choose who he or she wants to list as a creditor in your bankruptcy. You must list ALL your assets and all your debts in any chapter of bankruptcy. You may voluntarily repay anybody you choose, and you accomplish this through Reaffirmation Agreements.
- What is a Reaffirmation Agreement?
An agreement between a debtor and creditor to continue paying an otherwise dischargeable debt (such as an auto loan) after the bankruptcy. This type of agreement allows the debtor to keep his or her collateral (in the vehicle) while securing the rights of the creditor despite the protections afforded a debtor through the filing for bankruptcy.
- Where is my bankruptcy filed?
Your case is filed in the particular District where you reside, or have your domicile (in the case of businesses, it is the principal place of business) for the greater part of the 180-day period prior to the date your Bankruptcy Petition is filed. If you live in Summit or Medina County then your case will be filed in Akron. If you live in Stark, Carroll, or Wayne County then your case will be filed in Canton.