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Personal bankruptcy can provide a fresh financial start

Filing for bankruptcy in Ohio is a complicated process and may be best navigated with the guidance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. He or she can explain the pros and cons of the different types of bankruptcies -- called chapters. Individuals typically have to do a means test to determine whether they qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 brings debt relief within months, while Chapter 13 takes between three and five years.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is suitable for individuals who have fallen behind on car or mortgage payments and need extended time to pay it off. Most of their debts may be non-exempt such as child support or student loans, and they may not want to risk losing assets such as a car or jewelry. This chapter involves drawing up a court-approved reorganized payment plan to settle debts over a period of three to five years.

Some consumers may qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These are those individuals whose incomes are low or irregular, whose assets are exempted, and who are unable to settle their debts over the next three to five years  This involves the liquidation of non-exempt assets and the discharge of unsecured debts such as credit card and medical debts. These individuals may not own property that they would stand to lose in liquidation.

As soon as an individual has filed for bankruptcy, an automatic stay becomes effective that puts a stop to all debt collection efforts, including foreclosures, wage garnishments, repossessions and more. If a consumer has a co-signer on an indebted account, the stay will not prevent creditors going after the co-signer in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow the filer to repay the co-signed debt as part of the repayment plan. With the support and guidance of a skilled Ohio bankruptcy attorney, bankruptcy may offer debt-ridden consumers a fresh financial start.

Source: nerdwallet.com, "Bankruptcy Basics: How to File for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13", May 20, 2016

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