BANKRUPTCY: FILE TOGETHER OR SEPARATE?

We are attorneys located in Middletown, Ohio.  Bankruptcy has been the main focus of our practice for over 28 years.

If you are considering bankruptcy you should contact our office for your free consultation.  At this consultation you will be able to sit down with one of our attorneys and discuss your individual situation.

Your spouse does not have to file bankruptcy.  You can always file bankruptcy without your spouse, but whether they should file depends on the circumstances. Here are some of the most common situations that may make you question whether or not to file with your spouse.

All (or Most) Debts are in One Spouse’s Name

This happens often either in a relatively new marriage, or one in which one of the spouses had operated a failing business. The person with little or no debt doesn’t want to participate in filing bankruptcy if it’s not necessary to do so. And often the person with the debt, out of guilt or sometimes more noble motives, wants to avoid harming the other person any further by dragging him or her into a bankruptcy case.

In a newer marriage, the couple may come to realize that the debts of one of them are now hurting their joint financial lives. Possibly the financial stress is jeopardizing the marriage itself. That is especially true if the person with the debts either was not candid about the amount of debts he or she was bringing into the marriage, or has continued to use credit within the marriage without the full knowledge of the other spouse.

Whatever the context, determining whether to file bankruptcy for just one spouse requires a thorough analysis to find out who is liable on each of the debts.  If there is joint liability, the creditor can go after the non-filing spouse for the full amount.  And even if the non-filing spouse does not think he or she is legally liable on some debts, you have to double check before they opt out of being included in the bankruptcy filing.

It is often more difficult than you’d think to know for sure whether one spouse is or is not liable on a debt.  Being an authorized user sometimes creates liability, and sometimes doesn’t. You can discuss this at your free consultation.

Preserving the Other Spouse’s Credit Record

A common reason given for one spouse not wanting to file is to protect his or her credit record. creditThat’s a sensible enough goal. And not only for the non-filing spouse. If it works the couple itself could benefit through the non-filing spouse’s subsequent access to credit on behalf of their household. That non-filing spouse may even be able to help the filing spouse re-establish his or her good credit through co-signing of new debts and such.  Many times when one spouse has a small amount of debt, we suggest leaving them out of the bankruptcy.

But be careful with assumptions about being able to keep the other’s bankruptcy filing completely out of the non-filer’s credit record. This is especially if you have a joint debt or two, including ones that you intend to continue to pay and keep “outside the bankruptcy” case, such as a home mortgage or vehicle loan. Although credit reporting agencies are not supposed to refer to a co-debtor’s bankruptcy filing in the non-filer’s credit reports, don’t simply assume that will happen appropriately.

So it’s all the more important for the non-filing spouse to review his or her credit report before the other spouse’s bankruptcy is filed and then very regularly thereafter to make sure there’s no reference, directly or indirectly, to the bankruptcy case.

THINKING OF DIVORCE

Bankruptcy can be good financial planning when anticipating divorce.  If it’s clear, both that you oldwill be getting divorced, and that you need the financial relief of a bankruptcy, which should come first—and if the bankruptcy is first, should you file with your spouse or by yourself?  Most of the time it is a good idea to file together if you can stomach it.  You save on filing and attorney fees, and you have less to argue about (so you spend less on legal fees) in the divorce.  But, this isn’t always true.

The overly simplified answer for the purpose of this already long blog post is as follows:

  • Do not file a joint Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy” case with your spouse in anticipation of a divorce without BOTH of you getting independent legal advice from separate attorneys about whether doing so would truly be in each of your self-interests.
  • Be prepared for the possibility that it would not be in one or the other of your self-interests to file jointly, or to file ahead of the divorce, with the result that you would not be filing a joint Chapter 7 case.
  • In virtually NO circumstances would it make sense to file a joint Chapter 13 case in contemplation of a divorce—they take three to five years to complete, and at the time of your divorce would have to turn that case into two separate Chapter 13 cases, or into two Chapter 7 ones, or one of each, usually causing enough of an administrative headache and cost to make filing a joint Chapter 13 case a bad idea.*But even there the other spouse may become liable in various ways. As for debts incurred during the marriage, under many state’s laws the spouse who did not sign the debt papers or did not otherwise participate in the purchase or transaction can still be liable for the debt. And beyond that, in community property states joint liability is even more easily created.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information check out our website at www.middletown-bankruptcy.com.

Contact your Middletown, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today for your free consultation 513-422-2994.

BANKRUPTCY INFORMATION

We are a bankruptcy firm located in Middletown, Ohio.  Our main focus of practice has been Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy for over 27 years.

What is bankruptcy? Bankruptcy is a process in which consumers and businesses can eliminate or re-pay some or all of their debts under the federal protection of the bankruptcy code. Basically there are two types of bankruptcy available for the consumer; Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY

Chapter 7 is designed to clear off or discharge all of your unsecured debt. This will give you a imagesfresh financial start. Creditors can no longer collect on debts by mail, telephone calls or court proceedings. If there were secured items that you wish to keep such as your home or vehicle you would re-sign on these items under a reaffirmation agreement.

A reaffirmation agreement is a bankruptcy document that you would sign to reaffirm debts that you do not want to discharge through your case. The debts that are re-signed on will report to the credit reporting agencies and help to re-build your credit.

Chapter 7 is also referred to as a “liquidation bankruptcy” because the  trustee may take and sell or liquidate some of your property to pay back some of your debt. However, you will be able to keep most if not all of your property due to the protection of the bankruptcy exemptions. These include such things as your home, vehicle, cash on hand, jewelry, household items, retirement plans, and most other assets. The exemptions vary so you should contact our firm for further details.

Are you eligible for a Chapter 7. Not everyone can qualify for Chapter 7, there are several factors to consider, but most can qualify. Contact our office today for your free consultation to see if you qualify for Chapter 7.

CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is also referred to as a “wage earner” plan because in order to file for Chapter 13 protection you must have a reliable source of income so that you can repay all or a portion of your debt,

In Chapter 13 you will pay back a percentage of your unsecured debts, this can range from 1% country-home-paintingto 100% depending on your individual situation. Chapter 13  can also stop a foreclosure action and a vehicle repossession and allow you to make up your missed payments through the chapter 13 plan.

If you file for Chapter 13 be prepared to be in the case for a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years. It will be up to the creditors to file a claim in order to be paid during this case. During this time period you will repay a percentage of your unsecured debts, your secured debts and any missed payments you had on your house or vehicle. At the end you will receive a discharge as to all remaining debt.

Chapter 13 can stop a foreclosure or a repossession of a vehicle.  Once your file for protection under the bankruptcy stay all court proceedings must stop, including foreclosure.  Under Chapter 13 the Trustee would then make the payments you had missed over the next 3 to 5 years within your chapter 13 plan.

OUR OFFICE

At Keegan & Co. Attorneys, LLC we will offer you a free consultation.  At this free consultation you will be able to sit down with one of our attorneys and discuss your individual situation.  The images-1attorney would then advise you which chapter would be best for your situation.  They will also quote you a fee for the filing for your case.  If you decide to move forward a small retainer will get things started (once you put down the retainer you may refer your creditors to our office), we will then accept monthly payments until your fees are paid and then your case will be filed.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information check out our website at www.middletown-bankruptcy.com.

If you are thinking of bankruptcy, contact our Middletown, Ohio bankruptcy attorneys today. We offer a free consultation, fair fees and monthly payment plans.

BANKRUPTCY

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Middletown, Ohio.  We specialize in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filings.

Many people get over their heads in debt.  This can happen for many reasons, job loss, health images (2)issues, divorce as just a few of the most common reasons people get into debt.   Many will do many things to try to keep their heads above water during this time, but there are some things that you should not do if you are struggling with debt before you consider filing for bankruptcy to get a fresh financial start.

Do not take out a second mortgage on your home to pay your debts.  If you cannot pay your unsecured debts why would you transfer them to a secure debt attached to your home, once you do that if you cannot make these payments the creditor would be entitled to take your home through foreclosure.

Do not pay your debts out of a retirement savings account.  You will need these funds in the future when you are able to retire.  Retirement accounts will also be protected through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not max out your credit cards to stay afloat.  Recently incurred charges may not be able to be discharged through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not transfer your home to another person to avoid having a lien placed on your property.  If you do this you will not be able to file for at least 4 years and this could be considered fraud in the eyes of the court.

Bankruptcy is not the end of the world, just because you have fallen into a bad financial situation does not mean that you are a bad person.  There are hundreds of thousands of bankruptcy filings in the United States each and every year.

Here are some thoughts of things to do when filing for bankruptcy.

Do consider this decision very carefully.  Are you really in so far over your head that bankruptcy is the only way out.  Under Chapter 7 you will only be able to receive a discharge every 8 years.  There are other options if you have filed within the last 8 years and are struggling, contact us for a free consultation to discuss these options, 513-422-2994.

Do follow the advise of your attorney.  At our office we have over 30 years of combined experience and will be able to guide you to make sure your bankruptcy is as painless as possible.

Do be honest in all of your answers on the petition.  Be sure to list all assets and not leave anything out.

Do be sure to list all of your creditors on your petition.

Do close any bank accounts you have any credit lines or credit cards associated with.  This will prevent the account from being seized by the creditor.

goodscoreBankruptcy is a serious decision and one that should not be taken lightly.  Contact our office for your free consultation to discuss your individual situation to see if bankruptcy is the right decision for you.

For more information check out our website at www.middletown-bankruptcy.com.

Call today for your free bankruptcy consultation in our Middletown, Ohio office.

BANKRUPTCY ADVISE

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Middletown, Ohio.  Our main focus of practice has been Chapter 13 and 7 bankruptcy filings for over 27 years.

Many people get over their heads in debt.  This can happen for many reasons, job loss, health hiding_bearissues, divorce as just a few of the most common reasons people get into debt.   Many will do many things to try to keep their heads above water during this time, but there are some things that you should not do if you are struggling with debt before you consider filing for bankruptcy to get a fresh financial start.

Do not take out a second mortgage on your home to pay your debts.  If you cannot pay your unsecured debts why would you transfer them to a secure debt attached to your home, once you do that if you cannot make these payments the creditor would be entitled to take your home through foreclosure.

Do not pay your debts out of a retirement savings account.  You will need these funds in the future when you are able to retire.  Retirement accounts will also be protected through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not max out your credit cards to stay afloat.  Recently incurred charges may not be able to be discharged through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not transfer your home to another person to avoid having a lien placed on your property.  If you do this you will not be able to file for at least 4 years and this could be considered fraud in the eyes of the court.

Bankruptcy is not the end of the world, just because you have fallen into a bad financial situation does not mean that you are a bad person.  There are hundreds of thousands of bankruptcy filings in the United States each and every year.

Here are some thoughts of things to do when filing for bankruptcy.

Do consider this decision very carefully.  Are you really in so far over your head that bankruptcy is the only way out.  Under Chapter 7 you will only be able to receive a discharge every 8 years.  There are other options if you have filed within the last 8 years and are struggling, contact us for a free consultation to discuss these options, 513-422-2994.

Do follow the advise of your attorney.  At our office we have over 30 years of combined experience and will be able to guide you to make sure your bankruptcy is as painless as possible.

Do be honest in all of your answers on the petition.  Be sure to list all assets and not leave anything out.

Do be sure to list all of your creditors on your petition.

Do close any bank accounts you have any credit lines or credit cards associated with.  This will prevent the account from being seized by the creditor.

10418205-hulp-van-de-schuld-net-voor-green-road-sign-meer-dan-dramatische-lucht-wolken-en-zonnestraalBankruptcy is a serious decision and one that should not be taken lightly.  Contact our office for your free consultation to discuss your individual situation to see if bankruptcy is the right decision for you.

For more information check out our website at www.middletown-bankrutpcy.com.

Choosing the Right Bankruptcy Attorney

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Middletown, Ohio.  Our main focus of practice has been bankruptcy for over 27 years.

ARE YOU THINKING OF FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY

Are you thinking of filing for bankruptcy.  Looking for an attorney to represent you through the process?  Calling around to get a fee?  Looking for the lowest fee around?  Just remember that you get what you pay for.  Bankruptcy is a very specific process and must be done correctly so Fesenmyer Law Offices, LLC_that your case will go through and you will receive your discharge through your case.  You do not want any snags and want everything to go through smoothly.  It is stressful enough when everything goes just right let alone when things are messed up.  Some believe that bankruptcy is simple, so simple that they can even take care of it themselves.  This may have been the case in the past but since the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005 things are much more difficult and more precise.  It is not recommended that you attack this task on your own.

Trying to file for yourself will most likely cause you more headaches than you would like to endure.  So the decision to seek an attorney to help you through the process is the best one.  You will want to find an experienced attorney who specialized in bankruptcy.

OUR LAW OFFICE

At the Keegan & Co. Attorneys, LLC our main focus of practice is bankruptcy, this is our main focus of practice.  Our office has specialized in bankruptcy for over 27 years.  We can provide you with the expertise that will make your bankruptcy seem simple and before you know you will be on with your debt free life.

FREE CONSULTATION

At our office we will offer you a free consultation where you will be able to sit down and discuss 25604196-a-person-drawing-and-pointing-at-a-bankruptcy-consulting-chalk-illustrationyour individual situation.  They will be able to advise you as to the best road for you to take on your financial journey.  Sometimes bankruptcy is the answer, sometimes it may not be the best decision.  The attorney will advise what is best for you.

At this free consultation the attorney will quote you a fee.  If you decide you want to move forward a small retainer will retain this office.  Once you have retained our office you will quit paying on bills you do not want to keep and refer your creditors to our office until your case is filed.  We will accept monthly payments until your case is filed.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information check out or website at www.middletown-bankruptcy.com call 513-422-2994 for your free consultation today!

At our Middletown, Ohio bankruptcy office we will be able to help you get out of debt and get a fresh financial start!