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Ohio Bankruptcy Law
Bankruptcy May Be Your Best Debt Elimination Option
Don’t be intimidated by bankruptcy. LHA knows the law and will help you decide if bankruptcy is best for you.
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Personal Bankruptcy Laws To Know
There are multiple types of personal bankruptcy, but the most common are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges most or all of your debts. According to your financial commitments and ability, you may choose to keep a home, car, or other personal property.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a three to five-year plan to repay as much of your debt as possible. This can help reduce fees and interest.
Federal Bankruptcy Law
Bankruptcy laws are federal, and bankruptcies are handled in federal courts. Here are some protections afforded through a bankruptcy filing:
Stop Legal Action
When you file for bankruptcy, the federal court issues an “automatic stay.” During an automatic stay, creditors legally cannot repossess an automobile, foreclose on a home, garnish wages, or evict you from your home.
If you have been sued by a creditor, all legal action will be halted. The debt that is at issue in that lawsuit will be included in your bankruptcy plan. Even if you have a judgment against you, the creditor cannot continue garnishing your wages or taking other legal action against you. Everything stops during bankruptcy.
End Harassment & Collections
An automatic stay also stops most creditor calls while your case progresses through the bankruptcy court. This protection may resume depending on the debt and whether it is included. If it is eliminated via Chapter 7, a debt collector is presently barred from collecting on it.
For those struggling with debt, it’s wise to consult an experienced lawyer about whether you would benefit from federal bankruptcy law.
Not Just Any Debt Attorney
As a founding partner at LHA, Jeremiah E. Heck is a leader in consumer law. Let him assess your situation and discuss your bankruptcy options.
Debts Discharged in Bankruptcy
Most unsecured debt can be discharged according to various bankruptcy laws. However, not all debt can be discharged. Examples of debt that cannot generally be discharged include:
- Tax debt (unless it is very old)
- Student loans (unless you can prove hardship)
- Spousal support, alimony, or child support
- Debts from a previous bankruptcy where the discharge was waived
- Debts incurred due to fraud or misrepresentation
- Consumer debts for luxury goods obtained within 90 days of the filing
- Cash advances obtained within 70 days of the filing of the bankruptcy
- Debts owed for fines, penalties, or forfeitures due to the government
- Personal injury judgments arising from a DUI
- Obligations arising from condo fees and assessments after discharge
Ohio Bankruptcy Law
While federal bankruptcy laws are based on the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, some Ohio exemption laws apply to bankruptcies filed in Ohio. The State of Ohio determines what property is exempt from the bankruptcy process. That means specific property cannot be taken from you in bankruptcy.
Ohio bankruptcy exemptions typically apply to each person involved in the bankruptcy. So, if you file bankruptcy with your spouse, your exemption may be doubled.
Ohio bankruptcy exemptions include:
- Up to $4,450.00 for motor vehicles
- Up to $168,320.00 in equity for one piece of property used as your residence
- $550.00 in cash
- $14,875.00 in household goods (maximum of $625 for each item)
- $1,700 for jewelry
- $27,950.00of personal injury award you received 12 months before filing
- $1,475.00 of the value of any property you choose (called a “Wild Card Exemption”)
- Your interest in one burial plot
- Wages up to 30 times the federal minimum wage of 75% of your disposable weekly earnings
- $2,825.00 for tools of your trade, business, or occupation
- Tax-exempt retirement accounts
- Spouse and child support
- Public benefits like unemployment compensation, earned income and child tax credits, workers’ compensation, disability assistance, and crime victims’ compensation
- 529 college savings plans
- Business partnership property
- Up to $5,000 in benevolent society death benefits
- Group life insurance policies or proceeds
- Life, endowment, or annuity contracts for a spouse, child, or other dependents
These exemptions allow you to retain much of your property and assets and ensure you don’t lose everything through bankruptcy.
Why Use a Lawyer
When filing for bankruptcy in Ohio, you will have questions and shouldn’t handle everything alone. You’ll need someone familiar with state and federal bankruptcy laws.
Representation in Bankruptcy Court
Your lawyer must be admitted into the specific court where you file bankruptcy. In Ohio, that includes United States Bankruptcy Courts in the Northern District of Ohio or Southern District of Ohio.
Determine Which Bankruptcy is Right for You
The type of bankruptcy that you file depends on many factors. A bankruptcy attorney can help you determine if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is more beneficial for you.
Ensure Things Are Done Correctly
One small mistake in bankruptcy paperwork or a missed deadline can result in significant delays or your entire case being dismissed. Working with an attorney can ensure the details are well managed.