Bankruptcy Attorneys in Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati Bankruptcy Lawyer
Many Cincinnati area residents learn a difficult and painful truth when they look at their latest bank statements. They may have spiraled into debt that seems impossible to escape. Unexpected medical bills, unavoidable job changes and predatory credit cards can lead to
substantial debts you can’t afford.
For some debtors, the best way out of this agonizing cycle is to declare bankruptcy. In fact, bankruptcy can help rid you of debt and put you on a path toward financial health.
Filing for bankruptcy is a serious and complicated step. Do not try to do it alone. Contact Amourgis & Associates, Attorneys at Law, today to speak with one of our Cincinnati bankruptcy attorneys.
Our bankruptcy attorneys are ready to explore whether bankruptcy represents your best option. Our legal team can also ensure that your bankruptcy proceeding goes as smoothly as possible.
Types of Bankruptcy Cases We Handle
Our Cincinnati bankruptcy law firm can help you file for bankruptcy. We can help you determine whether it’s best for you to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
- Chapter 7. Chapter 7 is also called liquidation bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of a debtor’s non-exempt assets. The liquidation generates money to pay off as much of the debtor’s outstanding debt as possible. After liquidation, any remaining balances on most kinds of debt are discharged and eliminated. The debtor in effect gets a “clean slate.” One downside to Chapter 7 bankruptcies: they are noted on a debtor’s credit report for up to 10 years.
- Chapter 13. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also known as a “wage earner’s plan.” A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a debtor to reorganize debts by proposing a plan to pay off a portion or all of the debts during a three- to five-year period. A Chapter 13 debtor makes payments to a trustee, who then disburses the funds to creditors according to the repayment plan. The debtor keeps possession of his or her property in this kind of bankruptcy. If the filer complies with the terms of the plan, any remaining eligible debts are discharged at the end of the repayment period.
How to File Bankruptcy in Cincinnati
If you decide to file for bankruptcy, you must follow these steps to file your petition:
- Collect your financial records, including pay stubs or business income statements, tax returns, bank statements, mortgage records and credit card statements.
- Take a credit counseling course within six months prior to filing for bankruptcy.
- Prepare a bankruptcy petition. The exact form of the petition must be completed using the local bankruptcy court’s specific requirements.
- File your bankruptcy petition with the filing fee at your local bankruptcy court.
- Attend a bankruptcy hearing held by the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee and your creditors might ask you questions about your petition. If you have filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your creditors can file objections to your petition or repayment plan.
- Take a post-filing credit counseling/debtor education course.
Working with one of our bankruptcy lawyers in Cincinnati can help you accomplish these complex steps. You will have the added security of knowing your paperwork is filed correctly.
How Our Cincinnati Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help
Are you considering bankruptcy to help you deal with your crushing debt? A Cincinnati bankruptcy attorney from Amourgis & Associates, Attorneys at Law, can help you by:
- Exploring alternatives to bankruptcy that could have a less drastic impact on your credit. Those alternatives include financial counseling, loan modification, or debt consolidation.
- Determining which type of bankruptcies you qualify for. A bankruptcy attorney can help you choose between them.
- Preparing and filing your bankruptcy petition.
- Preparing your repayment plan in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Representing you during bankruptcy hearings and addressing any creditor objections to your bankruptcy or repayment plan.
What Debts Can Be Eliminated in Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy allows debtors to discharge or eliminate these types of debt:
- Credit card debt
- Medical bills
- Lawsuit judgments
- Leases and contracts
- Personal loans
- Promissory notes
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to discharge debts, including:
- Marital debts (other that support payments)
- Debts incurred to pay a non-dischargeable tax debt
- Court fees
- Condo/co-op/HOA fees
- Loans from a retirement plan
Contact an attorney to understand which of your debts qualify for discharge. Bankruptcy can’t discharge certain types of debt, including child support and alimony, criminal fines/penalties/restitution, certain taxes and student loans.
Understanding Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions
The Ohio bankruptcy exemptions designate certain kinds of property that you can keep instead of liquidating in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A maximum value is set on these types of exempt property.
The exemptions include:
- Up to $145,425 of equity in your residence
- Up to $500 of cash on hand or on deposit
- Up to $4,000 of value in a motor vehicle
- Up to $13,400 of value in household goods, up to a value of $625 per item
- Up to $1,700 of value in jewelry
- The interest in one burial lot
- Up to $25,175 of a personal injury award received within 12 months of a bankruptcy filing
- Up to 75 percent of your wages
- Up to $2,550 of value of equipment you use in your job or business
- A wildcard exemption of $1,325 in value (You can exempt property not otherwise
exempt, or you can add the wildcard value to another exemption.)
- The full value of:
- Private pensions
- Tax-exempt retirement accounts
- IRAs and Roth IRAs
- Public retirement system benefits
- Disability payments
- Earned income tax credits and child tax credits
- Unemployment compensation and workers’ compensation
If you file for bankruptcy with your spouse, you can double these values for the property jointly owned with your spouse.
What You Need to Know about the Ohio Bankruptcy Means Test
The Ohio bankruptcy means test helps the bankruptcy court determine whether a debtor meets the eligibility requirements to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The means test consists of several steps. If you meet any of the steps, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
First, you can show that your total current family monthly income is lower than the median monthly family income for a same-sized family in the state of Ohio.
If your monthly income is higher than the median income in Ohio, then you can move to the full means test. This involves subtracting your reasonable monthly expenses from your average monthly income. This helps you determine whether you have disposable income after paying all your expenses.
If your monthly income after expenses falls below a certain level for your family size, you meet the means test and can file for Chapter 7. If your income after expenses is above a certain floor, you can’t file for Chapter 7 and must instead file for Chapter 13.
Falling between these figures requires you to undertake a more detailed calculation under the means test. The calculation helps you determine whether you will have sufficient income to pay at least 25 percent of your outstanding debt over the next five years. If you don’t, you may file for Chapter 7.
Talk to Our Cincinnati Bankruptcy Attorney Now
If you can’t afford to make payments on your mortgage, credit cards, or other debts, bankruptcy may prove to be your best option. Bankruptcy could allow you to wipe the slate clean on your debt and move forward with a fresh financial start.
Do not wait any longer to find out if bankruptcy is the right option for you. Contact Amourgis & Associates, Attorneys at Law, today. We can schedule a free, no-obligation, confidential consultation with one of our Cincinnati bankruptcy lawyers. We can explain your legal rights and bankruptcy options. Our goal is to make the process of resolving your debt or filing for bankruptcy as smooth and painless as possible.