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Cincinnati Bankruptcy Law Blog

Residents losing homes at record pace despite foreclosure decline

Although reports show an overall decline in new foreclosures in the state, a homeowner in Hamilton County facing financial challenges might not be breathing a sigh of relief. Other reports put Ohio ahead of all other states number of homes taken by banks following foreclosure proceedings.

Bank repossession of homes in the state was up by more than 50 percent during the first quarter of 2015 as compared to a year ago. Experts attribute the increased taking of homes by mortgage lenders to a slow foreclosure process that is just now catching up with foreclosure actions started in prior years. 

Successful business debt negotiations concluded by Chapter 11

When a business finds itself having financial difficulties, one solution to resolving them is Chapter 11. A recent bankruptcy filing by an Ohio corporation that owns the Oneida and Anchor Hocking brands illustrates why business bankruptcy under Chapter 11 is referred to as reorganization.

Unlike some other business bankruptcy filings that signal the start of business debt negotiations, the company and its creditors worked out an agreement that includes a complete business reorganization of the company. The creditors agreed to reduce the outstanding debt of the company by almost $250 million. In return, the company agreed that its creditors will own 96 percent of its shares of stock

Can creditors take everything I own if I default on payments?

Some Hamilton County, Ohio, residents live with the daily fear that their home, car or even their furniture and personal belongings will be taken away from them to satisfy a consumer debt on which they have defaulted. If you default on payments, your creditors have the legal right to take you to court to obtain a judgment that authorizes them to use wage garnishment and the forced sale of real and personal property to satisfy the debt.

Ohio law protects you from losing everything you own to a debt collector seeking to satisfy a judgment. It does so by exempting certain property owned by a debtor from execution or wage garnishment. 

How should you choose a bankruptcy law firm?

You have been putting off the decision for as long as you can, looking for ways to avoid having to petition for bankruptcy. You have exhausted your finances, maxed out your credit, juggled your bills, perhaps even played hide-and-seek with collection agencies. But the time has come when you must face the unpleasant reality that bankruptcy may be the only practical option that you have left.

So you look in the phone book or search online for "Ohio bankruptcy attorney." Only to discover that you have many, many law firms and solo practitioners to choose from. How do you know which one to select?

How may a court deny a discharge in bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often entered into when people have their financial backs against the wall, so it is understandable that many of these same people want the fresh start that is the implied promise of a Chapter 7 to liquidate as much of their debt load as possible. And overall, that is what this form of bankruptcy protection is able to do: give people with few or no options left a chance to get back on their feet again.

No form of bankruptcy, however, and especially a Chapter 7, should be contemplated without a thorough understanding that while it can be a lifeline, it is not a cure-all. Many debtors come out of the petition process still owing some money, because for a variety of reasons the bankruptcy court will not necessarily be willing or even able to discharge every financial obligation.

Consumer debt and the garnishment of property in Ohio

We recently discussed the importance of seeking legal advice from a Hamilton County bankruptcy law attorney when creditors resort to wage garnishment to collect a consumer debt. Another form of debt collection procedure authorized by Ohio law that can be equally harmful to a debtor is the garnishment of property other than earnings or wages.

Consumers who fall upon hard times because of unemployment or unexpected illness or injury risk more than just creditor harassment and abusive debt collection tactics. A person to whom money is owed may file a lawsuit against the debtor. If he or she is successful, the court will award the creditor a judgment for the amount that is owed.

Accident victims fall prey to creditor harassment from hospital

People injured in motor vehicle accidents who seek medical treatment from an Ohio hospital are becoming victims of aggressive debt collection practices. It appears from recent incidents that the hospital has chosen to bypass seeking payment from an injured patient's insurance company. Instead, it has been billing the patient directly at rates that are higher than those normally paid under the hospital's negotiated agreement with insurance companies.

The hospital has subjected accident victims to creditor harassment and, in at least 57 instances in a single 12-month period, filed lawsuits against those in default on payments. By comparison, other hospitals in the state resorted to filing lawsuits to collect consumer debt in significantly lower numbers.

Will a business bankruptcy force me to close my business?

Hamilton County is like other communities throughout Ohio that depend upon the success of small business owners to keep their economies strong. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses are responsible for 54 percent of total sales in the U.S. and 55 percent of the jobs. Cash flow challenges and mounting debt can put a squeeze on the financial stability of even a well-managed company.

When business debts negotiations with creditors fail to provide a solution to the financial troubles of a struggling business, business bankruptcy might offer a viable solution. Depending upon the type of bankruptcy chosen, either Chapter 7 or Chapter 11, a business might be able to continue to operate during the bankruptcy proceedings and after they have concluded.

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.

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