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Cincinnati Bankruptcy Law Blog

How frequently can I declare bankruptcy?

For many people in Ohio, bankruptcy is something to be avoided at all costs, something they would never consider normally. Other Ohioans are risk-takers, often putting it all on the line over and over again in different ventures in hopes to make it big. Sometimes, these risks pay off; other times, they crash and burn. For the risk-takers, and for others as well, it is important to know just how often you can file for bankruptcy.

The answer to this question is dependent on your previous filings. If you successfully filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past eight years, you cannot have your debts eliminated again until after that time period. Additionally, you must wait at least six years after filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy to get a chapter 7 discharge.

Ohio debtors to receive part of millions assessed against Chase

Owing debt you can’t pay is a bad enough feeling. But when you are being harassed to pay debt you’ve already paid off, debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy, or even debt you never owed at all, the feeling goes from bad to frustrated and even angry.

These feelings are now being compensated by one of the biggest names in credit cards.  Debtors, real and imagined, in Ohio and most other states, are entitled to part of the $136 million settlement agreement by Chase Bank as payment for its illegal collection practices. 

Is it time to file for bankruptcy?

When you are facing monumental financial challenges, bankruptcy often becomes the only option. Yet, individuals and families sometimes don’t understand the full process and implications of filing for bankruptcy before diving into it. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will be able to explain the entire process fully to you, but it is important to know when it is time to file.

The first thing you should do when you are feeling underwater with your unpaid bills and other debt is to try to negotiate with your creditors. Oftentimes, filing for bankruptcy, especially chapter 7, can leave your creditors unpaid, making it a lose-lose situation. Therefore, they will sometimes negotiate with you to make sure you can pay back the debt. If this doesn’t work, however, it may be time to file.

Small business bankruptcy lessons from a billionaire

Some people associate business bankruptcy with failure, but this is far from the truth. Donald Trump's net worth has been reported as somewhere between $4.1 billion and $8.7 billion which is hardly a sign of a failure. Yet, Trump, who has never filed for personal bankruptcy, has seen four of his business ventures file for business bankruptcy.

The Chapter 11 filings allowed the billionaire to engage in business debt negotiations that resulted in new, more favorable terms being worked out with creditors. Whatever concessions Trump was forced to make does not appear to have hurt his personal wealth, and the companies involved in each business bankruptcy underwent a business reorganization that allowed them to continue operating.

What is “parking the debt?”

Anyone who has ever watched television or dealt in-person with debt collectors in Cincinnati knows how sneaky they can be. Generally, there are certain rules set out by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that creditors must follow when calling about a debt. These dictate what they can and cannot say. But what if you never knew about the debt in the first place?

According to federal law, there are creditors, such as hospitals, who are not required to send a bill before sending collectors after you. All the sudden, you may be dealing with wage garnishment and other punishments for money you did not know you owed. This is called “parking the debt.”

Court rules in favor of banks on second mortgages.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is widely thought to be a proceeding through which all of a person’s debts can be discharged. There are certain exceptions to this rule, however, which further emphasize the importance of having professional advice before deciding whether to file and, if so, which type of bankruptcy will be the best option. A recent United States Supreme Court case is a good example of the nuances of bankruptcy law.

For those familiar with bankruptcy law, it is probably not surprising to know that a mortgage that secures a home is generally not dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The word "secures" is the key here: Chapter 7 bankruptcy may cancel all unsecured debts, but secured debts, such as mortgages, generally survive the proceeding.

Supreme Court changes bankruptcy law

For many years, conventional wisdom and practice has stated that, during bankruptcy, certain debts would automatically be lessened or even eliminated. One of these was second mortgages. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, this is no longer the case.

In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that bankruptcy would not automatically void second mortgages. This held true even if the home wasn’t worth even the first mortgage amount, called “being underwater.” This is not to say the second mortgage must remain, but it is now up to the lender to decide.

Ohio foreclosures rates continue to fall, but still high

A new report shows that foreclosure rates have fallen since 2011, but are still twice as high as the average rate in the 1990s. 2014 saw a drop of nearly 20 percent over 2013 with only about 44,000 homes foreclosed upon. But, with the average 20 years ago being about 21,000, there is still a long way to go in the recovery from the predatory lending period in the early 2000s.

The report did include tax foreclosures that were completed last year. But, it does not include the 3,000 new tax foreclosure cases that were filed last year. These types of foreclosures typically cover abandoned properties that are managed by county boards of revision. When these kinds of cases were first allowed in 2006, it was a benefit to various communities, as the government could grant the property back to the banks for reutilization more easily. But the number of tax foreclosures has not decreased quite as much as some figures show, as they are handles outside of the court.

How bankruptcy can help you with medical bills

Even with the best insurance, medical bills can become a crippling weight for many families. If you find you cannot handle your bills for your hospital or doctor visit, it may be time to consider bankruptcy. There are two main options that will handle your medical expenses differently, depending on your situation.

The first thing to know is that medical bills are considered “dischargeable debt.” This means that if the court grants your bankruptcy, you are no longer held personally liable for it. This is especially important if you are considering chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy options for businesses

It's no secret that small businesses often fail. No matter how great of an idea you had, if the community simply is not interested, it can become very difficult to keep the doors open. The end of a business does not have to be the end of you, however. There are options to get a fresh start. Businesses have four different bankruptcy options to settle their debts and move on.

The first is chapter 7. Similar to chapter 7 bankruptcy for individuals, this option allows a business to liquidate their assets to pay off their debts. The most common users of chapter 7 bankruptcy are those sole business owners who simply did not get off the ground and do not really have a successful future before them.

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