Author Archives: Keegan752

Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13

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

For most once they decide to file bankruptcy the decision comes down to which Chapter they will be filing.  Both chapters are beneficial in their own way.  Many factors play into which chapter you will file.  Your income and assets are the main considerations.  Many prefer to qualify for Chapter 7 but may not qualify.

BANKRUPTCY TIMELINE

In Ohio a typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy lasts about six months from the day you file until you receive your discharge.  Your actual court date which is call a 341 Meeting of Creditors will be four to six weeks out from your filing date.  For Chapter 13 you will also have a 341 Meeting of Creditors about four to six weeks after your filing date.  Once you file for Chapter 13 expect to be in the case for a period of three to five years as this time period is mandated by federal law.  Once your complete your Chapter 13 you will receive your discharge.

PAY BACK OF DEBTS

In bankruptcy different debts are classified in basically two groups.  Your unsecured debts (credit cards, medical debts, loans) and your secured debts (houses, cars, anything secured by collateral). There is also a sub-category of unsecured loans which are called priority debts, student loans and tax debts fall into this category.  If you file for Chapter 7 you will be able to discharge all of your unsecured debts and not have to pay anything back.  Most unsecured debts can be discharged, student loans and most taxes will survive the case.  Any secure debts that you would want to keep (such as your home or vehicle) you would continue to make your payments on and sign a reaffirmation agreement within the case. Chapter 13 is a re-payment plan.  Under this re-payment plan you will pay all of your debts with a single payment to the Chapter 13 Trustee once a month.  Out of this payment the trustee may make your regular house payment.  If you have any back payments on your home they would also make this payment for you.  If there is a vehicle payment involved this will also be made by the trustee. You will pay back a percentage of your unsecured debts.  This percentage is based on several factors and can range from 1 percent to 100 percent.  The debts will be paid in order of priority.  So basically in a Chapter 13 you have one payment a month to the Chapter 13 office and your utilities to pay during the duration of the case.

ASSETS

One big benefit of Chapter 13 is you will not have to worry about losing any of your assets in the case.  You keep all of your assets that you wish to keep.  In a Chapter 7 which is also referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy as the trustee may take some of your assets and liquidate them to gain funds to pay your creditors.  Most people do not have to worry about this though because in Ohio the exemptions are very high and most assets can be protected.

As to your home if you want to qualify for a Chapter 7 you must be current on your mortgage payment to keep your home.  If you file Chapter 7 and are not current on your home the lien holder will require that you get current or they may file for Relief from Stay which once granted they can begin the process of foreclosure.  However, if you are current on your home Chapter 7 is no problem, just continue to make your payments and you may reaffirm the debt in the case is you wish.

Chapter 13 is designed to help you save your home if you are behind on your payments.  Under Chapter 13 you will have the three to five year period to make up your missed payments through the case.  The trustee will also make your regular house payment and at the end of the case the trustee will certify that all payments are current.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information check out our website at Middltown Bankruptcy.

Call today for your free consultation to find out which bankruptcy chapter is best for you.

CHOOSING A BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Middletown, Ohio.  Our main focus of practice has been bankruptcy for over 28 years.

Some people seem fixated on getting the cheapest cost they can for every thing they buy.  That might work when buying an electronic gadget, but it doesn’t work very well when hiring a bankruptcy attorney.

BANKRUPTCY IS LIKE MAJOR SURGERY

If you had to have major surgery, say open heart surgery, would you want to find the cheapest open heart surgeon?  Of course not!  You would want to know how may surgeries they had done, how long the surgeon had been doing that kind of surgery, what kind of reputation the surgeon had in the community.  While some might think that your financial future is not as important as open heart surgery, it is still important.  Fee should not be the only part of the consideration when deciding to hire a bankruptcy attorney.

CHECK REFERENCES AND REPUTATION

There are several places to check an attorney’s reputation and references, but the best way to find the best attorney for your situation is usually word of mouth.  Ask your friends and co-workers who they used when they were faced with a similar situation.  You will be surprised that most of your friends and co-workers have experienced the same type of situation that you are going through and will most likely be able to guide to a good attorney, or guide you away from a bad one.  Remember, you are not the first person to be faced with financial difficulty.  The attorney you choose is just as important as the decision to file for bankruptcy.

LOW FEES USUALLY MEANS CUTTING CORNERS

Friends of mine needed work done on their home.  They got bids from several contractors.  Some of the bids were really low.  The looked at the low bids and wondered how the contractor could afford to do the work for the low bid.  And you know what?  They were probably right.  There was probably no way the contractor could do the job they were expecting for the amount quoted.  The contractor would have to cut corners.  They are not going to be able to do all of the work need to properly handle the bankruptcy case.

Do you want an attorney who feels like he had to do the minimum he can for your case or someone who will take an active interest in your case and make sure that everything is done properly.  If you want the latter, you want to look beyond the amount of the fee.  Otherwise, you may spend a lot more getting it fixed than just paying a fair amount in the beginning.

OUR OFFICE

At our office we offer handsyour a free consultation.  The attorney will quote you a fee based on your individual case.  Our fee may not be the lowest, but it will not be the highest either.  We offer fair fees for the services we provide.  We will walk you through your case and guide you every step of the way.  We will care about your case and your individual situation.  Bankruptcy may be the cure for your financial difficulties.

MORE INFORMATION

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

Contact your Middletown, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today for your fresh financial start!  Free consultation 513-422-2994.

BANKRUPTCY

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 fresh 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% to 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 and Co Attorneys, LLC & 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 attorney 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 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 AND THE AUTOMATIC STAY

We are bankruptcy attorneys in Middletown, Ohio.  We have been in practice for over 28 years and can help you get a fresh financial start.

Are you struggling with debt, garnishments or medical debt?  Under bankruptcy you can discharge all of these debts and get a fresh financial start.

At our office we offer you a free consultation.  At this consultation you will be able to sit down untitled15with one of our experienced attorneys and discuss your personal situation.  The attorney will be able to guide you as to your best interest as far as the next step.  Bankruptcy could be an option, or another avenue may be best for you.  If you do decide to move forward with filing bankruptcy a small retainer fee will get things started and we will then accept monthly payments until your fees are paid in full.  Once you put down this retainer you can discontinue paying on debts which you do not wish to retain and refer your creditors to our office.  During this time we will communicate with your creditors.

Once your case is filed the automatic stay will automatically go into effect.  What is an automatic stay?  The meaning of stay is to stop.  Which means once your case is filed it prohibits creditors from continuing to collect a debt from you.  If there is a garnishment it will have to stop.  Any court proceeding will have to stop.  All collection efforts have to stop.

If it is your intention to surrender a home through a Chapter 7 the creditor will have to seek relief from stay before they will be able to move forward in the foreclosure proceeding.  In essence filing Chapter 7 will slow down the foreclosure procedure and give you more time in your home.

Once you complete the bankruptcy and receive your discharge the debts are discharged which means they are gone, you are not responsible for them, they cannot collect on them from you.  If they were to contact you all you will have to do is give them your case number and filing date and this will resolve any problems.  Of course debts that are incurred after a bankruptcy filing are not included in this category.

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

Contact your Middletown, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today for your free consultation.  Bankruptcy may give you a fresh financial start!