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Cincinnati Bankruptcy Law Blog

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.

Feeling overwhelmed with debt while going through a divorce?

There are only a few things equal to or more difficult than dealing with large amounts of debt. One example is dealing with a divorce. Financial problems are frequently a source of struggling relationships. These financial issues often force individuals to deal with both a collapsing marriage and collapsing finances at the same time.

Bankruptcy may be a good option to eliminate marital debt. Couples or an individual party in a divorce may find that it's best to file for bankruptcy while going through a divorce. This will allow the parties to have a clearer picture of what debts will be discharged in bankruptcy. Other couples may find that it's best to finalize the divorce and then file for bankruptcy. This may allow couples to more quickly proceed through the divorce while each party is responsible for their own debts presented in the divorce judgment. 

What effect does the means test have on my personal bankruptcy?

For many residents of Cincinnati, personal bankruptcy offers them an opportunity to resolve their financial challenges by eliminating debt through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Protection Act of 2005 introduced a qualification standard to be eligible for Chapter 7 debt relief.

The means test compares your average monthly income with the median family income in Ohio. Your income must be equal to or below the median amount. If it is not, you still have the opportunity to qualify by completing the second stage of the means test in which your monthly expenses are deducted from your income. The disposable income that remains must not leave you anything with which to eliminate debt.

How often can I file for bankruptcy?

Helen Keller once said that “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Many people throughout history have followed that axiom, sometimes failing multiple times along the way. Nowhere is this more plain to see than in the records of noteworthy people who have filed for bankruptcy multiple times: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and even financial wizard Donald Trump, all took advantage of bankruptcy laws more than once in their lives.

Just how often can one file for bankruptcy under the modern US Bankruptcy Code? The answer to that question depends in part on the type of bankruptcy that one uses.

3 things to keep in mind when dealing with a debt collector

Debt collectors have one job and one job only, to secure as much as money from you as possible. Many collectors go to great lengths, such as making harassing phone calls and using threatening language. Others are simply persistent while adhering to the laws. As you deal with a collector, even in the early stages, it can be intimidating.

There are three important points to keep in mind when you find yourself in the collection process. First, don’t give in to threats. Second, get everything in writing. Third, do not give any collector access to a bank account.

Will the court take my property if I file for bankruptcy?

For the individual, generally speaking, there are two different types of bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Each type of bankruptcy has its own advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages of Chapter 7 over Chapter 13 is that the debtor will not be required to enter into a lengthy payment plan in which payments would be made to the court over the course of three to five years, and the debt is discharged relatively quickly. Chapter 7 could be, however, a disadvantage to those debtors who own large amounts of property.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as "liquidation" bankruptcy. When you file, all of your property becomes part of your "bankruptcy estate." In a Chapter 7, the bankruptcy trustee assigned to the case has the power to liquidate the property in the bankruptcy estate in order to pay debts that are owed to creditors.

What is wage garnishment and what are my legal defenses?

When a person sinks into debt, the stress of maintaining the lifestyle they have become accustomed to while simultaneously meeting their financial obligations can be overwhelming. Debt collectors can be relentless in making a difficult situation worse and it is easy to feel like you are in a hopeless situation.

The knowledge of an experienced bankruptcy attorney can be very helpful in assessing options presented to you by your creditors. Bankruptcy lawyers can help improve your position by explaining options that you may not have known about or were unsure if they could be applied to your situation.

Good news for the average homeowner as housing market improves

The foreclosure crisis that began in 2007 hit the state of Ohio hard, and only recently have indications emerged suggesting that the worst is over. This at least is according to statistics from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, which suggest that a significant improvement from previous years has been underway.

The average price for houses in Ohio has improved from $84,000 in 2011 to $103,000 in 2014. This translates to improved property value for homeowners. Construction of new homes in Ohio had been slow since the onset of the foreclosure crisis, but things are beginning to pick up despite low demand.

How will a foreclosure affect my credit score?

Most people understand that our credit scores affect our daily lives. Generally, it is difficult to get a loan or obtain a credit card without decent credit. If a person's credit score is low, he or she may be able to get a loan but the interest rate may be unreasonably high. The lender may even add some creditor-friendly clauses into the lending agreement that otherwise would not typically be present.

If you're going through the foreclosure process, it's important to know how your score will be affected and for how long. Then you can take the necessary steps going forward to get back on track in the shortest time possible.

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