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Cincinnati Bankruptcy Law Blog

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.

Can I file for bankruptcy on my own?

The main driver behind people's consideration of personal bankruptcy as an option for debt relief is that their financial situation has reached a point where there is not enough money to cover all of their obligations. So it may seem logical from a cost perspective to try to save money by going through the petition process on your own, without the help of an attorney.

It is certainly possible to serve as your own advocate in bankruptcy court; there is no legal requirement for a lawyer to represent you, just as you are not required to go to an auto mechanic to fix your car, or a carpenter to fix your roof, or an electrician to fix the wiring in your home. But the learning curve to figure out how a bankruptcy works is steep, and the consequences for making a mistake can be severe.

Sometimes your business needs an advocate and an ally

Starting a small business is an undertaking like few others. You often hear small business owners refer to their business as, "their baby." The reason for this affectionate characterization is because the business owner spends so much time, money and energy into working towards making the venture a success.

No one creates a business or product with the hope that it will one day fail. People create businesses with grand plans of changing their lives, gaining financial independence, maybe even starting a franchise and changing an entire industry. So when market realities hit, economies slow down and people's small businesses are struggling, the owners can be devastated at the thought of what will become of their cherished creations.

Bankruptcy may be your first step toward financial stability

We've all heard comments that bankruptcy is bad and that it can ruin your life. This is merely a false negative stigma that has come about through the years. The truth is everyone deals with financial issues at some point in their lives and not everyone is fortunate enough to get out of it quickly and without some help.

Many people may not realize that bankruptcy is a specific procedure codified in the law that affords individuals a new start financially. There are legitimate reasons why lawmakers put this mechanism into place. Simply put, people can make mistakes or find themselves in unexpected financial difficulties, and sometimes people need to start over. Bankruptcy allows you to deal with your financial stress all at one time instead of trying to deal with it piecemeal.

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