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Honest Answers About Bankruptcy
If you are considering bankruptcy to deal with overwhelming debt, you likely have several questions. LHA is here and has answers for you.
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Is Bankruptcy Right for You?
Everyone’s situation will be different. But generally, if you’re over your head with debt and struggling to make monthly payments, it’s a good idea to consider all your options. This should include filing for bankruptcy.
It can be a complex process, and there may be other solutions depending on the circumstances of your financial situation. Still, before making a decision, it’s best to consult an experienced lawyer about your debt.
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As a founding partner of LHA, Jeremiah E. Heck understands what his clients face and what questions they have. Let him address your concerns and provide information about all your options.
What Are the Types of Bankruptcy?
There are many types of bankruptcy, but the most common types of personal bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7, also called “liquidation bankruptcy,” involves discharging most of your debt. Chapter 13 consists in making a three- to five-year re-payment plan.
How Much Does Bankruptcy Cost?
The fees for bankruptcy vary depending on the type of bankruptcy you file and the complexity of your case. Most bankruptcy attorneys will offer very flexible payment plans to make sure you can afford to file your case.
Do Married Couples File Bankruptcy Individually or Jointly?
Married couples can file either individually or jointly. Typically, there is only a $20 difference in cost associated with filing jointly versus individually.
Do I Have to Go to Court if I File Bankruptcy?
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is one hearing you will have to attend. In Chapter 13, there is at least one hearing and possibly two. Bankruptcy hearings are very straightforward and non-adversarial (without arguments and disputes).
Is Filing Bankruptcy a Public or Private Matter?
Like other court cases, filing a bankruptcy is a public filing. It is typically not made public through normal media outlets. However, someone could search for your bankruptcy filing on a court website. Practically speaking, the only people who know of your filing are your attorney, the trustee, your creditors, and whomever you decide to tell.
Can I File a Bankruptcy More Than Once?
Yes. You can file for bankruptcy multiple times. If your bankruptcy ended in a discharge, you would need to wait at least eight years between Chapter 7 filings; two years between Chapter 13 filings, and four years between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
How Long Does Bankruptcy Take?
An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help with an emergency filing within days. However, the length of time it will take to get a resolution or discharge your debt will vary. If you file Chapter 7, it usually takes four to six months. Chapter 13 requires a three- to five-year payment plan to reach the end.
Does Bankruptcy Stay on My Credit Report?
Generally, a negative item stays on your credit report for seven years. A bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years. However, the late payments and charge-offs on your credit history were likely hurting your credit more. In many cases, bankruptcy won’t make your credit score significantly worse. The negative effect of bankruptcy is significant, but it’s a big step in repairing the damage.
Can I Get Financing After a Bankruptcy?
Yes. You can still buy a house car or make other large purchases after filing bankruptcy. A financial institution will consider your bankruptcy when extending traditional financing; however, that does not mean you cannot get it. Most people who file for bankruptcy can obtain approval for credit in the future. It is ultimately up to the bank or financial institution as to whether or not you are approved for financing.
What Are Federal Bankruptcy Laws?
Federal bankruptcy laws can be found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. These statutes dictate who can file which type of bankruptcy, how much filing fees are for bankruptcy, and what debts may be discharged in bankruptcy.
What Property Can I Keep in a Bankruptcy?
In Ohio, many bankruptcy exemptions will allow you to keep personal property. You can likely keep your home, car, jewelry, retirement accounts, and other assets.
What Is a Wild Card Exemption?
In Ohio, a Wild Card Exemption is an allowance to keep any one piece of personal property worth up to $1,475 out of your bankruptcy.
How Much Does a Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost?
Many bankruptcy lawyers charge a flat fee. You might be worried that hiring a bankruptcy attorney will be too expensive. However, in reality, an attorney can save you money by making sure you include all of your debts and expediting your case.
Do I Need an Attorney to File for Bankruptcy?
Although you are not required to use an attorney, it is not a good idea to engage in the federal legal process without legal representation. Bankruptcy requires specific documents, and you must meet strict deadlines. If you make one small mistake in your bankruptcy, then your case may be delayed or entirely dismissed.