Bankruptcy FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about filing for Bankruptcy

Below you will find answers to some of the most common questions people have when filing for bankruptcy in Ohio. Having a clear understanding of how bankruptcy works and how filing for bankruptcy will affect your life, will allow you to make the decision that is best for you.

How will filing for bankruptcy affect my credit?

Can calls and threats from creditors be stopped?

What are the costs involved with filing for bankruptcy?

What will happen to my home and car if I file for bankruptcy?

Can I own anything after filing for bankruptcy?

Will filing for bankruptcy wipe out all of my debts?

Will I have to appear in Court?

What are the different forms of bankruptcy I should consider?

What if I Don’t Have Complete Financial Records?

How will filing for bankruptcy affect my credit?

There is no clear answer to this question. Unfortunately, if you have been sued in foreclosure or you are behind on your bills, your credit is already downgraded. Bankruptcy will probably not make things any worse, and can bring an end to your financial stress and provide you with a fresh financial start.

The fact that you filed a bankruptcy can remain on your credit record for ten (10) years. However, it is important to understand that bankruptcy wipes out most old debts; as a result, you are likely to be in a better position to pay your current bills, and you may be able to get new credit.

Can calls and threats from creditors be stopped.

Upon the filing of the bankruptcy, all creditor calls must stop. If you are experiencing problems with creditors calling you day and night, you should consider filing bankruptcy as a means of legally stopping all telephone calls. Your creditors will be violating the law if they call you after the filing, and as part of my representation of you, I will write “cease and desist” letters to any creditor who does so. In my experience, these letters have been 100% effective in stopping any creditors contacting you after the filing of your petition.

What are the costs involved with filing for bankruptcy?

First there are court costs. The court costs are $299 to file for bankruptcy under chapter 7, and $274 to file for bankruptcy under chapter 13, whether for one person or a married couple. If you hire an attorney you will also have to pay the attorney’s fees. Your attorney may not pay your filing fee for you. In the case of Chapter 13 bankruptcies, the attorneys’ fees are set uniformly by court order. In the case of Chapter 7 bankruptcies, I will meet with you and structure attorneys’ fees and a payment plan which is fair for you.

What will happen to my home and car if I file bankruptcy?

In most cases, you will not lose your home or car during your bankruptcy case as long as you keep you monthly payments current. If you have equity in the property it may be fully exempt. If the sale of the property will not result in a meaningful distribution to creditors, your home and car will not be sold. Even if your property is not fully exempt, you may be able to keep it if you pay its fair value to creditors in Chapter 13. Your attorney should be able to fully advise you regarding any property loss before you file Chapter 7.

Can I Own Anything after filing for Bankruptcy?

Yes! Many people believe they cannot own anything for a period of time after filing for bankruptcy. This is simply not true. You can keep your exempt property and anything you obtain after the bankruptcy is filed. However, if you receive an inheritance, a property settlement, or life insurance benefits within 180 days after filing for bankruptcy, that money or property may have to be paid to your creditors if the property or money is not exempt.

Will filing for bankruptcy wipe out all of my debts?

Yes, but with some exceptions. Bankruptcy will normally not relieve you of the following:

  1. money owed for child support or alimony, fines, and some taxes;
  2. debts not listed on your bankruptcy petition;
  3. loans you got by knowingly giving false information to a creditor, who reasonably relied on it in making you the loan;
  4. debts resulting from willful and malicious harm;
  5. most student loans ( unless “undue hardship” provides an exception )
  6. mortgages or other liens which are not paid in the bankruptcy case, excepting any deficiency judgment.

Will I have to appear in Bankruptcy Court?

In most bankruptcy cases, you only have to go to a proceeding called the “first meeting of creditors” to meet with the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case. Although any creditor who chooses to come can attend, it is extremely rare that they do so. Most of the time, the meeting will be a short and simple procedure where you are asked a few questions about your identify, your employment, your bankruptcy forms and your financial situation.

Will i have to appear in Bankruptcy Court?
Last sentence “your attorney will charge you an additional fee should you have to attend this type of hearing.”

Occasionally, if complications arise, or if you choose to dispute a debt, you may have to appear before a judge at a hearing. If you need to go to court, you will receive notice of the court date and time from the court and/or from your attorney. Your attorney will charge you an additional fee should you have to attend this type of hearing.

What are the different forms of bankruptcy cases I should consider?

There are four types of bankruptcy cases provided under the law:

Chapter 7 is known as “straight” bankruptcy or “liquidation.” In some cases, it requires a debtor to give up property which exceeds certain limits (called “exemptions”) so the property can be sold to pay creditors. However, from a practical standpoint, this is by far the most common type of bankruptcy. Your attorney will advise you whether you should file Chapter 13, instead of Chapter 7, in the event you run the risk of losing any of your valued property in Chapter 7.

Chapter 11, known as “reorganization”, is used by businesses and a few individual debtors whose debts are very large.

Chapter 12 is reserved for family farmers.

Chapter 13 is called “debt adjustment.” It requires a debtor to file a plan to pay debts (or portions of their debts) from current income but allows to keep property, even if the property is in foreclosure.

Most people filing bankruptcy will want to file under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Either type of case may be filed individually or by a married couple filing jointly. Married couples may also file individually without any consequence to their non-filing spouse, if the spouse is not a co-signer or co- maker.

What if I Don’t Have Complete Financial Records?

It is essential to list every creditor by name and mailing address in your petition. If you do not have complete financial records for your debts, you can obtain a copy of your credit report by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus. They will charge you around $8.50 per report; the report is free if you have been denied credit in the previous 60 days or if you have been the victim of credit fraud.

To order a credit report by mail, provide your full name, including middle initial and Jr., Sr., or any other designation you have used; current address and previous addresses for the last five years; Social Security number; date of birth; spouses’ first name; home phone number, name of current employer and signature. Here is the contact information for each of the three major credit bureaus:

Equifax

P.O. Box 105496, Atlanta, GA 30348-5496. By phone: 1-800-997-2493, or 1-800-685-1111. Online: www.equifax.com.

Transunion

Transunion, Consumer Disclosure Center, P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022. By phone: 1-800-888-4213. Online:www.transunion.com.

Experian

Experian, P.O Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013. By phone: 1-888-397-3742. Online: www.experian.com.

If you have a credit report you have obtained and you want me to use it in your case, make sure that all of your creditor addresses are listed. If the credit report you bring to me does not have the creditors addresses listed, I can’t use it to prepare your petition.