Toledo Bankruptcy Lawyers
Sometimes the financial circumstances we find ourselves in can make us feel hopeless. You might feel like you’ve tried everything possible and you don’t even see a way out anymore. Maybe you’ve negotiated, tried to pay off debts, budgeted all your earnings and you still can’t seem to get anywhere. If this sounds like you, you are not alone. In fact, people often experience these types of financial challenges at some point in their lives. If the problems get bad enough and it starts to impact your well-being, you should strongly consider filing for bankruptcy.
As bankruptcy attorneys, we understand that it is quite common for our clients to go through financial difficulties at some point in their lives. People’s financial positions are particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in job markets, changing workplace requirements, and difficult unforeseen economic conditions or emergencies. Despite this, we all have bills that still come due. Sometimes, it simply becomes too difficult to balance of these competing factors and you just need to reset your financial life. Bankruptcy offers that reset. If you’re looking for a bankruptcy attorney, call Sawan PLLC today at 419-469-5002 for a free bankruptcy consultation.
Types of Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy laws are federal laws with State law specific overlays that allow for people and entities to liquidate their assets, declare bankruptcy and discharge certain debts or re-organize their debts. If you’re considering bankruptcy, it is important to contact a bankruptcy lawyer in order to review your financial circumstances, discuss your legal options, and provide legal advice to you based on your individual situation. Bankruptcy might just be the reset you’re looking for to get back on your feet and get a second chance at your financial life. Everyone deserves a second chance.
For individual consumers, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies are the available types. In some rare cases, an individual might file bankruptcy under Chapter 11. Most business cases that are not liquidations under Chapter 7 are filed under Chapter 11 as well. For cities and towns, Chapter 9 bankruptcy applies. For family farmers, Chapter 12 bankruptcy applies.
Causes of Bankruptcy
Most bankruptcies are caused by unemployment, medical bills, or divorce. Another common and growing cause is credit card debt carrying high interest rates. When an unexpected shift in financial circumstances happens coupled with these types of debts, bankruptcy is often the only option. For business bankruptcies, financial conditions of the broader economy can bring difficult environments. Some businesses are unable to make the same levels of revenue as before and it becomes difficult to keep up with the expenses of the business.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the surrendering of non-exempt assets the proceeds of which are used to satisfy as much of debt as possible. A bankruptcy trustee will be appointed in the case to complete the process and distribute assets or proceeds to creditors. Bear in mind that exempt assets will not be subject to liquidation in Chapter 7 (although that depends on specific federal or state law and the debtor’s specific eligibility). In most consumer bankruptcy cases, some form of property exemption should be implicated so its important that you have a qualified bankruptcy attorney make sure you protect as much of your property as possible based on what State you reside. Chapter 7 bankruptcy has eligibility requirements, income limitations, and other specifics so also check with your bankruptcy lawyer regarding them. Click here to learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Most small business bankruptcy filers may consider Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In cases where there is clearly no chance to save the business, they will probably be more inclined to file under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Other than that, a business that could survive the bankruptcy will almost always file for Chapter 11. Bear in mind, it is possible to see creditors forcing a business to file for bankruptcy as well. In most Chapter 11 cases, the business filer will have a certain degree of control over the process as opposed to a Chapter 7 case, where a trustee is appointed. Notably, Chapter 11 cases can always later be converted to Chapter 7 cases so it is important to have a bankruptcy attorney skilled under both bankruptcy methods if you are filing under Chapter 11.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcies involve a repayment plan that aims to repay debts fully or partially over the course of the filer’s future earnings. Usually, these plans are installment plans that span several years. The goals is to come up with a plan that allows debts to be repaid if the terms are altered to meet the filers income level and budgeting.
Filing Bankruptcy in Ohio
Bankruptcy is a constitutional right in the United States. The United States Constitution (Article I, Section 9, Claude 4) authorizes Congress to pass bankruptcy laws. Congress has done so on two occasions. In 1978, Congress passed the original Bankruptcy Code and added amendments in 2005.
The Bankruptcy Petition
A bankruptcy case starts when a person or business files a petition with a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. This petition requests protection and relief under the Federal Bankruptcy laws. Filing out this petition involves extensive information about the filer (much of which becomes public record). Learn more about bankruptcy and privacy. When you file for bankruptcy, you must disclose information about your assets (cash, home equity, personal property or other assets); income; expenses; liabilities; debts; real estate; and more. If you are considering bankruptcy, you should strongly consider hiring a bankruptcy lawyer to complete the petition for you. Complete honesty and candor is required in order to successfully reach discharge and having a lawyer to ensure the maximize the likelihood of success is a great idea. Here’s a link to a recent version of the federal bankruptcy petition hosted by the United States National Bankruptcy Forms Website.
How does bankruptcy work?
Is My Property Exempt From Bankruptcy?
In some cases, property is not liquidated upon the completion of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case. On the other hand, upon a successful filing under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debts are discharged at the end. This means the majority of bankruptcy filers do obtain a fresh financial start and may, in some cases, keep some of their property when its over. In certain cases, these debts will still maintain some exempt assets and property. Bankruptcy property exemptions are based on State law and are quite complex. This is an area where it is critical to speak with an attorney.
Does Filing Bankruptcy Stop Collection Calls?
There are penalties if a creditor attempts to collect a debt after the automatic stay is imposed. Bear in mind that certain cases might provide the opportunity for a creditor to challenge the automatic stay with a filing in the bankruptcy case. Once you file your bankruptcy case and while the case is pending, creditors cannot try to collect on their debts. To the extent your debts are discharged, creditors may never attempt to collect on them again. As many clients know, stopping the harassing collection calls is one of the most important parts of why bankruptcy is so important to your fresh start. The automatic stay also puts an end to lawsuits that have been filed. It is important to know that certain legal actions can survive bankruptcy so speak with your bankruptcy lawyer about the specific aspects of your case. Also consider the effect of the automatic stay on any pending divorce actions. The automatic stay usually prevents the completion of the divorce until the stay is lifted (the bankruptcy case ends). As with most other creditors, a spouse can file a request with the court asking for relief from the bankruptcy stay to continue a division of marital assets in the divorce.
Secured v. Unsecured Debt
As far as your debts are concerned, it is important to categorize secured debts from unsecured debts. A secured creditor will usually also have a lien they hold in some part of your property. Unsecured creditors, on the other hand, are only able to be repaid from whatever funds are available in the bankruptcy estate. Secured debts (such as home mortgages, judgment liens, tax liens or car loans), are debts where creditors have a right to be repaid the debt as well as a right to repossess and sell certain property if the debt is not repaid. The property is referred to as collateral and the secured creditor has rights to use this property to satisfy the debt if the debt is not repaid. Unsecured debts simply carry a right to repayment. These include credit cards and medical bills. The creditors holding unsecured debts do not have a lien in property and cannot utilize that collateral to satisfy the debts.
What Happens to Your Vehicle if You File Bankruptcy?
Before you file for bankruptcy, you should strongly consider what will happen to your vehicle. If you lease your vehicle or otherwise have an associated car loan, it is likely that the vehicle is collateral for the loan. This means that if you do not repay the loan, your vehicle could be repossessed. Bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily ensure you can keep your car and it could be difficult to obtain a car loan after a bankruptcy depending on the lender. For more about bankruptcy and car loans, here’s more information on car loans in bankruptcy or give us a call today at 419-469-5002 for a free bankruptcy consultation.
What Happens After Bankruptcy?
Once you file bankruptcy, it can be difficult to obtain credit. If you are able to obtain credit, the terms are usually not as favorable as they would have been without a bankruptcy on your record. This can impact your ability to secure a car loan, mortgage, or personal loan. It also can impact your ability to obtain credit cards and it will be easily ascertainable that you filed bankruptcy for anyone reviewing your credit report in connection with any transactions you enter. Another disadvantage to bankruptcy is that it remains on your credit report for as long as ten years. It is possible to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy. This process, however, may have to start with secured credit cards to rebuild your credit. It can be difficult to find any type of financing after a personal bankruptcy. With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any non-exempt property you own will be liquidated to satisfy debts.
Can I Get Evicted if I File Bankruptcy?
Before you file for bankruptcy, you should strongly consider what will happen to your living arrangements. If your landlord has already filed for eviction in court and obtained a judgment to evict you, there’s only a few ways that filing bankruptcy will stop the eviction. In these cases, you’d need to file a specific form with your bankruptcy petition, pay any owed amounts and thirty days rent to the court. There will also be an opportunity for the landlord to object and the court will then need to make a decision on what will happen next. In other words, you can pay any back rent that you owe and request that the court stop the eviction. If your eviction is not based on non-payment of rent, however, the landlord may have an easier time evicted you with a simple filing in the bankruptcy court.
What to Expect When You Speak to a Bankruptcy Lawyer
The first step in the bankruptcy filing process is to speak with your bankruptcy attorney. Understanding what debts you owe, what your financial circumstances are and what you would like to accomplish are all important things for us to consider to begin to understand the unique facts underlying your case. It is really important that you hire an attorney if you are going to file for bankruptcy. Even if you’re just considering it, give us a call because we offer free consultations. Our free consultations are confidential and we are happy to field general questions.
What Do Bankruptcy Lawyers Do?
Bankruptcy lawyers can help with every step of the bankruptcy process. This includes helping to determine whether bankruptcy is right for you and your eligibility to file certain types of bankruptcies. If it turns out bankruptcy is right for you, a bankruptcy lawyer helps you gather the required information and complete the required bankruptcy forms in order to file. Once the case is started, your bankruptcy lawyer will attend the meeting of creditors and address any other issues that might arise between your creditors, the trustee and the bankruptcy court. As your case comes to a close, a bankruptcy lawyer is a key ally to make sure you have met all the requirements to obtain a discharge.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File Bankruptcy?
You are not required by law to have a bankruptcy attorney but we strongly advise you to hire one. While it can be expensive and difficult to come up with the funds since you are already having financial troubles, filing bankruptcy without an attorney can result in a full dismissal and jeopardize your ability to discharge your debts. The consequences of making a mistake can be drastic and when weighed against what’s at stake, you should also have a lawyer by your side to help make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. The process is too complicated and even small mistakes can result in the dismissal of your case. For more, read our article on whether you need a lawyer to file bankruptcy.
How Much Does a Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost?
Most bankruptcy lawyers will charge you depending on the type of bankruptcy you are filing. For a standard Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should expect anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 in attorney’s fees. If your case is more complicated (for example, if you have a lot of assets or creditors) it can be more. If you are looking to setup a reorganization plan where you negotiate new terms but still will be paying your creditors, the attorneys fees can be between $3,000-$5,000. It’s important you speak with a bankruptcy lawyer before you file to get an idea of the costs involved for your specific case. Also bear in mind there are other costs of bankruptcy that you will need to pay so you should factor this in to your decision as to whether to file or not. Here’s a breakdown on how much it costs to file bankruptcy.
Chris Sawan is both a licensed attorney and a CPA which allows him to provide exceptional service to bankruptcy clients in Toledo, Ohio.
Dennis Sawan is a licensed attorney with a robust background interfacing with Courts making him a valuable asset for bankruptcy clients in Toledo, Ohio.