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Cincinnati Bankruptcy Law Blog

Are you “judgment proof?”

Personal bankruptcy is a good example of salvation that comes with a price. It can enable you to keep things that you might otherwise lose to foreclosure or repossession, like your home and your car. It can help you to get back on your feet financially by discharging debts. It can bring you peace of mind by stopping creditor lawsuits against you and ending collection agency attempts to relentlessly pursue you.

Yet despite its intended use as a means of last resort for those in financial trouble, bankruptcy is still used unnecessarily by some people. Sometimes an individual's financial and asset situation is such that there can be other ways to get out from under heavy debt burdens without the need to use bankruptcy. One such group of people are those who are referred to as, "judgment proof."

Ohio homeowners could be overlooking options to stop foreclosure

The term "zombie foreclosure" might conjure up scenes from the movie "Night of the Living Dead," but for the more than 7,000 homeowners who abandoned their homes before their lenders completed the foreclosure process by taking possession, the term could represent a lost opportunity.

According to recent data on foreclosures in the United States, Ohio ranks fourth on the list of states with zombie foreclosures.

Regulations leave payday loans as risky consumer debt options

Living from paycheck to paycheck can leave you confronting an unexpected expense with no way of paying it until your next payday. Payday loans help people to bridge the gap between paychecks with short-term but high-interest loans. Interest rates are usually in the double-digit range, but they can skyrocket when the fees charged by lenders are factored into them.

The state regulations may not be enough to keep people struggling to make ends meet from falling prey to the lure of high interest rate short-term loans. A debtor who may default on payments should speak to an attorney to find out what can be done before the creditor harassment and debt collection efforts begin.

Increased government scrutiny of car title loans for debt relief

What is a money emergency? It can be a short-term crisis, like not having enough money to pay the electric bill until your next payday over a week from now when the temperature is forecast to be in the single digits for the next five days. Or your child needs unexpected medical treatment for an allergic reaction, and the urgent care center requires upfront payment or insurance coverage, and you do not have either.

Whatever your crisis, chances are you have seen an ad for a car title loan. Since you just need to borrow cash until your next payday, it sounds like a perfect solution, right? Not necessarily.

How can I keep my home once foreclosure begins?

In an earlier post, we discussed the procedures that take place when your mortgage lender begins the foreclosure process against you. This post will elaborate on ways that you can possibly avoid losing your home in a foreclosure sale.

An important point to remember throughout the foreclosure process is that the lender would prefer that you stay in your home if at all possible. Even if this means having to restructure your home loan on terms less favorable than the original. From the lender's perspective, receiving less than it would like is preferable to gambling that a foreclosure sale will generate a high enough price, or worse, the sale does not attract a high enough bid, and the lender ends up with an empty house that generates no revenue at all. 

Can I file for bankruptcy without my spouse?

Everyone understands that facing financial hardship can be extremely difficult, both mentally and emotionally. It is also no secret that financial challenges can place a strain on marriages. The bankruptcy code is a powerful tool that can be successfully used to eliminate debt; stop garnishments, repossessions and foreclosures; and obtain a fresh financial start.

However, some people in the middle of a credit crisis may be reluctant to use this tool for fear that it will negatively affect a spouse with good credit. The good news is that there is absolutely no requirement that both spouses file bankruptcy together.

Bankruptcy can be best option even for those who make millions

The term bankruptcy may give some people the image of someone who makes an average income, who has fallen on hard times due to losing a job. But there are many bankruptcies that emanate from financial decisions by people who are worth millions. Many of these stories involve professional athletes.

Like most other people, hardly any professional athlete comes from a background of wealth. So when the salary of a professional athlete is available for making extravagant purchases, giving in to temptation too often can result in financial difficulties.

Exempt property in an Ohio Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Most of the attention on how a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition works in Ohio focuses on the types of debts that can be discharged. Another aspect of Chapter 7 that needs to be carefully considered by anyone contemplating using it as a means of debt relief is how the law treats property in possession of the debtor.

Although Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a way to eliminate many kinds of debt without having to repay them as one would under a Chapter 13 debt discharge, this does not mean that using Chapter 7 requires no sacrifices on the part of the debtor. The bankruptcy court will attempt to pay creditors at least part of what they are owed. One key way it will make this attempt is by selling off, or "liquidating," some of the debtor’s assets.

How do I stop debt collection and find out if I owe the debt?

The abuses associated with debt collection agencies and creditor harassment are topics that have been well-documented in earlier blogs posted on this website. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act places restrictions on allowable conduct by those companies and individuals in the business of collecting delinquent consumer debt. But the statute also gives consumers rights of their own that they can exercise when confronted by debt collection efforts.

For instance, you can stop collection efforts while verifying if you actually owe a debt by simply writing a letter. Under federal law, a debt collector must notify you of your right to dispute all or part of the debt. This notification must be given to you within five days of the first contact the creditor or collection agency has with you.

Ohio bankruptcy filings decline for 5th straight year

Anyone who has been paying attention to financial news lately has heard that the economy is improving, resulting in a much needed reprieve for many Ohio residents and businesses who have been facing monumental financial struggles in recent years. Perhaps one promising economic indicator is the nationwide reduction in yearly bankruptcy filings.

Published numbers from the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio recently showed a 12 percent reduction in cases filed in 2014 over 2013. Similarly, there was also a 12 percent drop in bankruptcy filings the year before.

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