Bankruptcy in Cleveland, OH

Are you contemplating bankruptcy or hiring a bankruptcy attorney in Cleveland, Ohio? Are you tired of creditors calling for payments you can’t make? Maybe looking for a way to get out of debt and have you exhausted all other options? Then bankruptcy might be the solution you seek. It is a legal option that can erase a portion or all of your debts.

Types of Bankruptcy in Cleveland, Ohio

Bankruptcy is a legal process that helps individuals and businesses get a fresh financial start. It eliminates a portion of or all of their debts or financial liabilities. In Cleveland, OH to be approved, individuals must prove they have a hardship that prevents them from staying current on their financial obligations. Keep in mind that not all debts qualify. Some liabilities, such as child support arrears, delinquent taxes, alimony, and student loans generally do not qualify for discharge. Consumers who find themselves falling behind in debt can file either Chapter 7, 11 or 13. To determine which option is right for you, you’ll need to assess your goals, assets, and income. You should also consider working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

If you find yourself going through bankruptcy proceedings in Cleveland, you will have to appear before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Many people find Chapter 7 to be the right solution for their circumstances because it provides them with the opportunity to start over financially. However, before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should thoroughly assess your income and ability to repay what you owe. You should also speak with a bankruptcy attorney in Cleveland  who can help you to decide if a liquidation plan is right for you.

Typically, individuals approved for Chapter 7 lack stable income or have experienced a change in circumstances that has resulted in an inability to manage their debts. Though Chapter 7 erases debts, the tradeoff is you may have to give up certain possessions. Things such as your home, car or some other assets. However, once you file your petition, an automatic stay goes into effect that requires all collection activity against you like foreclosures and garnishments, to stop temporarily. However, the automatic stay does not prevent all collection attempts. For example, if you owe child support or restitution for a criminal case, you are still liable for those payments.

Cleveland residents who protect themselves by filing chapter 7 bankruptcy should be aware that a stay is placed on creditors, according to the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. In fact, once a notice of bankruptcy is received by a creditor, by law they must cease and desist any type of collection efforts. However, before they receive this notice a debtor must complete their filing, complete their credit counseling, and pass a means test for chapter 7.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is more complex than other types of bankruptcy. It is often used by businesses and certain types of people. It allows petitioners to restructure their debts with a reorganization plan, so they are easier to manage over a determined length of time, usually four to 18 months. The main benefit of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that it does not require petitioners to sell off or liquidate their assets to pay what they owe. It does allow debtors to negotiate with their creditors a reorganization plan that enables them to stay current on their debts moving forward.

The U.S. Courts state that there are certain filing requirements for those seeking protections under Chapter 11, and failing to follow the guidelines for these filings can result in the dismissal of your case and leave you vulnerable to creditors. Filings such as current monthly income, unsecured creditors, and claims against your property are all paramount and must be filed. Chapter 11 is generally used by businesses seeking to stave off liquidation, but individuals can take advantage of these protections as well as long as they meet the criteria. An experienced Cleveland attorney can best help you in these matters.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a debt restructuring or wage earners plan. In Cleveland, OH after you file, the courts will assign a trustee to examine your liabilities and assets and ability to pay bills. Unlike other types of bankruptcy, Chapter 13 involves you restructuring your debt with a three to five-year repayment plan. The flexibility of this repayment plan will depend on what property you want to keep. As well, how steady your income is will be a factor. It may also give you the opportunity to have some or most of your debts discharged.

According to Ohio Bankruptcy Law, if you are behind in your mortgage payments and desire to keep your property, filing Chapter 13 is the only way to accomplish this. However, you will be required to present a repayment plan, including a schedule of repayment, to the court. The timeline for repayment under Chapter 13 is generally between 3 and 5 years.

The Bankruptcy Process in Cleveland, Ohio

There is never an ideal time to declare bankruptcy. However, if you are unable to pay off what you owe within five years, filing for bankruptcy can help you to lessen the negative impact on your situation. It can help you get back on track.

In Cleveland to begin the filing process, gather all of your financial records, including monthly expenses, debts, assets and annual income. This information is crucial to give the courts an accurate picture of your circumstances. Failure to provide all necessary information can result in your petition being denied.

If you are facing tremendous debt in Cleveland, you must first determine if bankruptcy can help you. As well you need to know what type of bankruptcy you need to file. Once you’ve determined this, you must then begin the filing process. Pay all applicable filing fees, and then refrain from paying creditors any further.

Potential Exemptions

There are several exemptions that you can use to your benefit, according to the Bankruptcy Statutes of Ohio. You can exempt your residence up to $145,425, and your motor vehicle up to $4,000. Benefits such as pensions and insurance, and public benefits like workers compensation can all be protected. In addition, Ohio has a wildcard exemption in place for personal property up to $1,325.

At least six months before you file for bankruptcy, eliminate unnecessary spending. Do not run up the balances on your credit accounts. You’ll also need to complete an approved credit counseling course, usually online or over the phone. Credit counseling is necessary to help you learn financial literacy and help you learn better financial habits. Once you complete the course, you’ll receive a certificate of completion to include in your filing. If you don’t have the certificate of completion from the credit counseling course that you took, the courts will reject your bankruptcy petition.

Work With an Experienced Cleveland, Ohio Lawyer

Hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer in Cleveland during this process can help reduce the costly risks of self-representation in court. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer understands state and federal bankruptcy laws. He or she can help you understand which laws apply to your case, especially which debts that can be discharged or can’t be discharged. An experienced Ohio attorney can also offer you guidance to improve the outcome of your case.

Keep in mind that there are debt management alternatives and financial resources that may benefit you more than bankruptcy, such as debt consolidation. Though bankruptcy is an attractive solution, it is best as a last resort. Do you need immediate help? Then one of our experienced lawyers in Cleveland can guide you through the entire bankruptcy process. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Ohio state lines.

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