Tag Archives: Eastgate Ohio Bankrutpcy Attorney

BANKRUPTCY & INCOME

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  We specialize in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.

Many people assume that if their income is relatively high, they cannot file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Usually this assumption is incorrect.  It is not by any means unusual for a high-income debtor to file under Chapter 7.  In reality, high-income Chapter 7 bankruptcies are filed everyday.

What constitutes as high income is a matter of perspective and depends on many factors, such as where you live, your living expenses, the size of your family, etc.  (A salary of $80,000.00 for a family in rural Ohio goes a lot further than the same earnings in the city center of Columbus or Cincinnati).  With that being said, in the language of bankruptcy attorneys a “high-income debtor” is a debtor with earnings above the state median income for the debtor’s family size.

The Ohio state median income per family size (determined by census figures) as of the date of this post is as follows

Individual Family of 2 Family of 3 Family of 4
43,688 53,850 61,568 77,500

*For each additional family member over four, add $8,100.

WHY IS THE STATE MEDIAN IMPORTANT?

Whether your income is above or below the Ohio state median income determines if you will be able to discharge all or most of your debts in Chapter 7, or will you be required to pay back at least a portion of your debt under Chapter 13.  If your average gross earning for the six months before filing for bankruptcy is at or below the state median for your family size, you may file under Chapter 7 (assuming that you meet the other requirements).  Simple!

On the other hand, if your average gross earnings for the six months before filing is over the median, you will have to takes a “means test” to determine if you qualify for Chapter 7.  This means test considers your income minus certain allowable expenses.  Frequently the results allow a debtor with substantial earnings but high expenses to file under Chapter 7.

ARE YOU REALLY A HIGH-INCOME DEBTOR?

Before jumping to meet the means test, debtors need to determine if they are actually high-income debtors for the purposes of the test.  We often have clients with seemingly high earnings who are surprised that they fall below the state median.  Many of these clients have not considered the size of their families.  However, one of the most important factors in determining whether or not you are a high-income debtor is family size.  For example, a family of four making $85,000 would have earnings well above the state median of $77,500 for their family size.  But what if that family making $85,000 includes six members?  Because the median state income medical for a family of six is $93,700, the debtors do not need to take the means test.

Even if the debtor is above the state median, it is often by much less than the debtor presumed.  The closer your overall earnings are to the state median, the easier it is to pass the means test.

WHAT TYPE OF INCOME?

If you appear to be over the median, you may still be able to avoid the means test.  Depending on what type of earnings you have.  Not all sources of money count as income for calculating gross earnings.  For example, under the Bankruptcy Code certain income, primarily social security, is excluded from your gross income for the purposes of the means test.  This exclusion will often bring a debtor’s gross earnings below the state median, thus avoiding the means test.  In addition, because the bankruptcy code focuses on “regular income”, some irregular earnings may not count as “gross income”.

CAN I PASS THE TEST?

Finally, even if you must take the means test, it is still quite possible that you will qualify for Chapter 7.  Very often, high-income debtors have high allowable expenses, including mortgage payments, vehicle payments, etc., that will offset their earnings.  Although the means test is complex and must be handled carefully, it is not at all unusual for high-income debtors to pass the test.  However, failing to list income of any kind can lead to unpleasant consequences.  Attention to detail is the name of the game?

WHAT NOW?

We have spent most of this blog discussing the initial qualification for Chapter 7.  However, it is important to note that even if you pass or avoid the means test, you do not automatically get to file under Chapter 7.  You must meet all other requirements, including a showing that after expenses, you have no significant disposable income to pay your creditors.  In addition, there may be a reason for choosing Chapter 13, such as saving a house from foreclosure or a car from repossession.  In some cases, a non-bankruptcy solution such as debt negotiation may be available.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information check out our website at www.keegancolpa.com

FREE CONSULTATION

Contact our Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today for your free consultation to see if you can qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY BASICS

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  Our main focus of practice has been Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings for over 28 years.

In this blog, however, we will be focusing on Chapter 13.

WHAT IS CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY

Chapter 13 is designed for people who are behind on their mortgage payments who would like to save their home or their income is too high to qualify for Chapter 7.  Chapter 13 involves paying your disposable income to creditors over a three to five year period.  During this time you will be able to make up any missed mortgage or vehicle payments.  Your unsecured creditors will be paid a percentage of what you owe them, once you complete your case and receive your discharge the remaining balance will be deemed discharged through the case.  This means that creditors will not be able to collect on these debts in any way or form.  They will not be allowed to contact you by phone, mail or any other means.

WHAT IS DISPOSABLE INCOME?

To determine your disposable income we will need to know your income for the last six months.  If you have had a pay cut or loss of overtime hours we can reduce your current income for images (2)these situations, same if you are making more money at the time we would have to increase your current income.  We would then need to subtract your expenses from your income.  This includes all of your expenses required to take care of your family such as food, rent or mortgage,vehicle payments, utilities and other such needs.  Then we consider things that you know you will be spending such as car repairs, home maintenance or medical expenses.  Then we need to look at things you may not be spending money on but it would be in your best interest to do so such as health insurance, life insurance or maybe a retirement savings account.  If you have expenses not mentioned that doesn’t mean we can’t count it as long as it is reasonable and necessary.  Once all of these expenses are counted they get deducted from your income and the remainder is an idea of your disposable income.

WE WILL BE THERE FOR YOU

It is not a good idea to try to file a Chapter 13 on your own at your court hearing the trustee will evaluate the reasonableness of your expenses and will try to cut them down so that there is extra money to pay your creditors.  Our job as your attorney is to protect the money that is necessary for you to take care of yourself and your family.  This is why we sit down with you and go over your unique situation and expenses with you thoroughly before the case is filed.

HOW MUCH WILL MY CHAPTER 13 PAYMENT BE?

Your Chapter 13 payments must be enough to cover certain required payments.  Your plan payment must be enough to pay for your mortgage arrears over the next five years, your current mortgage payment (as the 13 office would make your regular mortgage payment through the case), if you have a vehicle payment this will be included and a small amount for your unsecured creditors.

FREE CONSULATION

Every situation is unique.  We offer a free consultation where you will be able to sit down with 25604196-a-person-drawing-and-pointing-at-a-bankruptcy-consulting-chalk-illustrationone of our attorney and discuss your situation.  The attorney will be able to give you an approximate amount of what your Chapter 13 payment would be at this free consultation.  They would also quote you a fee.  If you decided to move forward a small retainer would get things started and then we would take payments, once paid your case will be filed.

For more information see our website at www.keegancolpa.com.

Contact your Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today for your free consultation.

BANKRUPTCY

We are bankruptcy attorneys in Eastgate, Ohio.  We have been in practice for nearly 30 years serving the community.

Bankruptcy is specifically mentioned in the United States Constitution.  The United States Constitution states “The Congress shall have Power to establish….uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.”  This means bankruptcy is constitutional.

The founders wanted to ensure that there would be a uniform system of bankruptcy so that 800px-constitution_we_the_peopleone state would not put someone in debtor’s prison for a debt that was discharged in another state.  James Madison, in Federalist Paper No. 42, wrote about how important uniform bankruptcy laws would be for the regulation of commerce in the United States.  In this article the power to pass and regulate bankruptcy was mentioned in the same paragraph as the power to issue currency and regulate the use of foreign currency.

The United States Congress passed the first bankruptcy law in 1800.  However, that law only lased until 1803.  The next bankruptcy law was not passed until 1841, which also had a short life, lasting only until 1843.  After the civil ware, Congress passed a bankruptcy act with a little more longevity, lasting from 1867 to 1878.  Congress finally passed a permanent bankruptcy law in 1898, which remained in place for eighty years.  In 1978, the current structure of bankruptcy laws were enacted.  In 1984, 1986, 1994 and 2005, the bankruptcy act was revised, but the basic structure remained in effect.  The 2005 act added the means test, limits on restructuring vehicle loans and the credit counseling requirement.

Bankruptcy could help you get a fresh financial start.  It is designed to discharge all of your unsecured debts.

At our office we will offer you a free consultation where you can sit down with one of our attorneys and discuss your individual situation.

For more information check out our website at www.keegancolpa.com.

Contact your Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today!

Bankruptcy and the Automatic Stay

We are bankruptcy attorneys in Eastgate, Ohio.  We have been in practice for over 28 years and can help you get a fresh financial start.

Are you struggling with debt, garnishments or medical debt?  Under bankruptcy you can discharge all of these debts and get a fresh financial start.

At our office we offer you a free consultation.  At this consultation you will be able to sit down 25604196-a-person-drawing-and-pointing-at-a-bankruptcy-consulting-chalk-illustrationwith one of our experienced attorneys and discuss your personal situation.  The attorney will be able to guide you as to your best interest as far as the next step.  Bankruptcy could be an option, or another avenue may be best for you.  If you do decide to move forward with filing bankruptcy a small retainer fee will get things started and we will then accept monthly payments until your fees are paid in full.  Once you put down this retainer you can discontinue paying on debts which you do not wish to retain and refer your creditors to our office.  During this time we will communicate with your creditors.

Once your case is filed the automatic stay will automatically go into effect.  What is an automatic stay?  The meaning of stay is to stop.  Which means once your case is filed it prohibits creditors from continuing to collect a debt from you.  If there is a garnishment it will have to stop.  Any court proceeding will have to stop.  All collection efforts have to stop.

If it is your intention to surrender a home through a Chapter 7 the creditor will have to seek relief from stay before they will be able to move forward in the foreclosure proceeding.  In essence filing Chapter 7 will slow down the foreclosure procedure and give you more time in your home.

Once you complete the bankruptcy and receive your discharge the debts are discharged which means they are gone, you are not responsible for them, they cannot collect on them from you.  If they were to contact you all you will have to do is give them your case number and filing date and this will resolve any problems.  Of course debts that are incurred after a bankruptcy filing are not included in this category.

For more information check out our website at www.keegancolpa.com.

Contact your Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today for your free consultation.  Bankruptcy may give you a fresh financial start!

 

BANKRUPCY

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  Our main focus of practice has been bankruptcy for over 27 years.

Are you struggling with debt?  Of course if you are considering bankruptcy it probably means that you are looking at debts with you are unable to pay.  Bankruptcy in most cases may help you get rid of your debts and give you a fresh financial start.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most common consumer chapters.  Each chapter has its own rules so you must know which chapter best fits your circumstances.  At our office you will be able to sit down with a knowledgeable attorney and he will be able to advise which chapter is best for you.

CHAPTER 7

Most thinking of bankruptcy would prefer to be able to file Chapter 7.  This is the most common filing for most consumers.  Under Chapter 7 you will be able to discharge all of your unsecured debts under the bankruptcy code.  A discharge is a federal court document releasing you from your debts.  This document automatically releases you from most of your unsecured image7sdebts.  Debts which cannot be discharged include such things as student loans, newly incurred tax debt, spousal or child support and court costs for criminal charges.  As to your secure debts such as your home, vehicle or jewelry you will have to make a decision if you will want to resign on these debts through a reaffirmation agreement or surrender them.  A reaffirmation agreement is a document basically re-entering the terms of the original debt, once you sign the reaffirmation agreement this debt will be excluded from your bankruptcy and will report going forward on your credit.  If you decide to surrender your collateral this debt will be discharged through your case.

Chapter 7 is sometimes referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy because the trustee may take some of your assets, but most bankruptcy attorneys refer to Chapter 7 as a simple or straight bankruptcy, because most assets are covered under state regulated exemptions and are protected.

CHAPTER 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed for those who are over the income limit for Chapter 7 or are behind on their home or vehicle and would like to retain these going further, or some who just do not like the idea of not paying their debts, but just cannot make the minimum monthly payments and would like to stop all interest and charged going forward.  Chapter 13 is a re-payment plan, you will pay back between 1% to 100% of your debts depending on your individual circumstances.  An unsecured creditor cannot charge you interest during a Chapter 13.  Once you complete your case you will be receive you discharge and all debts will be discharged.

AFTER DISCHARGE

Once you receive your discharge creditors are not allowed to collect on these debts in any way images5or form.  They cannot send you a bill, they cannot call you, they cannot take you to court, they cannot garnish your wages.  You are free and clear from these debts and you have gotten your fresh financial start!  Congrats!  Now how to stay that way and re-build your credit going forward.  The most important thing is to make any payments for debts that you reaffirmed on on time and try not to let debts get into collection.  Your credit will improve in no time.

MORE INFORMATION

Bankruptcy is serious decision, call today for your free consultation to see if it is the right one for you 513-752-3900.

Check out of website at www.keegancolpa.com.

Contact your Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today!