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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!

 

BANKRUPTCY & THE ELDERLY

We are bankruptcy attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  Our firms main focus of practice has been bankruptcy for over 28 years.

Bankruptcy is generally designed to help people who are underwater with debt gain a fresh start.  While that is sound in principle, there is one group in our society who don’t really need a fresh start, they just need a clean end, and that’s our elderly.  We have a rapidly growing senior citizen population and while many have been able to plan for the future with quality pension and health insurance plans, there are just as many who rely on social security.  Problems really develop when this same group are suddenly hit with demands from creditors on debts they have co-signed on, often for their children and grandchildren.

In most cases, if a senior citizen is collecting social security, then they will most likely travel through the bankruptcy process with no problem, they won’t lose a thing.  Even if they own their home outright the exemption for Ohio is high enough that it will most likely protect their home.  They may even qualify to have their filing fee waived by the court.

Social security and pension plan payments are exempt from bankruptcy.  When it comes to assets, many of our seniors have little to show for their life’s work and what they do have is often well aged and with little resale value.  These assets are worthless to a bankruptcy trustee since the cost of selling them may well exceed the value earned.

What does concern many welfare workers in this area is the pressure our seniors place on 14734987-businessman-in-crisis-on-the-rocksthemselves to pay debts when they are really struggling to pay for food and medication.  Many seniors today were raised that bankruptcy is not an option and do not see bankruptcy as a way for a fresh start and view it as a failure.  Many elderly need to realize it’s an option that may allow them to retire with a more comfortable lifestyle.

Contact our office today to see if bankruptcy will be able to help you or your aging parents get a fresh financial start.

Check out our website at www.keegancolpa.com.

Call your Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today.  We offer a free consultation, fair fees and monthly payment plans.

BANKRUPTCY BEFORE OR AFTER DIVORCE

We are attorneys located in Eastgate, Ohio.  Bankruptcy has been the main focus of our practice for over 28 years.

If you are considering bankruptcy you should contact our office for your free consultation.  At this consultation you will be able to sit down with one of our attorneys and discuss your individual situation.

Your spouse does not have to file bankruptcy.  You can always file bankruptcy without your spouse, but whether they should file depends on the circumstances. Here are some of the most common situations that may make you question whether or not to file with your spouse.

All (or Most) Debts are in One Spouse’s Name

This happens often either in a relatively new marriage, or one in which one of the spouses had free_4616491operated a failing business. The person with little or no debt doesn’t want to participate in filing bankruptcy if it’s not necessary to do so. And often the person with the debt, out of guilt or sometimes more noble motives, wants to avoid harming the other person any further by dragging him or her into a bankruptcy case.

In a newer marriage, the couple may come to realize that the debts of one of them are now hurting their joint financial lives. Possibly the financial stress is jeopardizing the marriage itself. That is especially true if the person with the debts either was not candid about the amount of debts he or she was bringing into the marriage, or has continued to use credit within the marriage without the full knowledge of the other spouse.

Whatever the context, determining whether to file bankruptcy for just one spouse requires a thorough analysis to find out who is liable on each of the debts.  If there is joint liability, the creditor can go after the non-filing spouse for the full amount.  And even if the non-filing spouse does not think he or she is legally liable on some debts, you have to double check before they opt out of being included in the bankruptcy filing.

It is often more difficult than you’d think to know for sure whether one spouse is or is not liable on a debt.  Being an authorized user sometimes creates liability, and sometimes doesn’t. You can discuss this at your free consultation.

Preserving the Other Spouse’s Credit Record

A common reason given for one spouse not wanting to file is to protect his or her credit record. creditThat’s a sensible enough goal. And not only for the non-filing spouse. If it works the couple itself could benefit through the non-filing spouse’s subsequent access to credit on behalf of their household. That non-filing spouse may even be able to help the filing spouse re-establish his or her good credit through co-signing of new debts and such.  Many times when one spouse has a small amount of debt, we suggest leaving them out of the bankruptcy.

But be careful with assumptions about being able to keep the other’s bankruptcy filing completely out of the non-filer’s credit record. This is especially if you have a joint debt or two, including ones that you intend to continue to pay and keep “outside the bankruptcy” case, such as a home mortgage or vehicle loan. Although credit reporting agencies are not supposed to refer to a co-debtor’s bankruptcy filing in the non-filer’s credit reports, don’t simply assume that will happen appropriately.

So it’s all the more important for the non-filing spouse to review his or her credit report before the other spouse’s bankruptcy is filed and then very regularly thereafter to make sure there’s no reference, directly or indirectly, to the bankruptcy case.

THINKING OF DIVORCE

Bankruptcy can be good financial planning when anticipating divorce.  If it’s clear, both that you couple-fighting-20131087will be getting divorced, and that you need the financial relief of a bankruptcy, which should come first—and if the bankruptcy is first, should you file with your spouse or by yourself?  Most of the time it is a good idea to file together if you can stomach it.  You save on filing and attorney fees, and you have less to argue about (so you spend less on legal fees) in the divorce.  But, this isn’t always true.

The overly simplified answer for the purpose of this already long blog post is as follows:

  • Do not file a joint Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy” case with your spouse in anticipation of a divorce without BOTH of you getting independent legal advice from separate attorneys about whether doing so would truly be in each of your self-interests.
  • Be prepared for the possibility that it would not be in one or the other of your self-interests to file jointly, or to file ahead of the divorce, with the result that you would not be filing a joint Chapter 7 case.
  • In virtually NO circumstances would it make sense to file a joint Chapter 13 case in contemplation of a divorce—they take three to five years to complete, and at the time of your divorce would have to turn that case into two separate Chapter 13 cases, or into two Chapter 7 ones, or one of each, usually causing enough of an administrative headache and cost to make filing a joint Chapter 13 case a bad idea.*But even there the other spouse may become liable in various ways. As for debts incurred during the marriage, under many state’s laws the spouse who did not sign the debt papers or did not otherwise participate in the purchase or transaction can still be liable for the debt. And beyond that, in community property states joint liability is even more easily created.

MORE INFORMATION

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

Contact your Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorney today for your free consultation 513-752-3900.

BANKRUPTCY

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

Many people get over their heads in debt.  This can happen for many reasons, job loss, health images (2)issues, divorce as just a few of the most common reasons people get into debt.   Many will do many things to try to keep their heads above water during this time, but there are some things that you should not do if you are struggling with debt before you consider filing for bankruptcy to get a fresh financial start.

Do not take out a second mortgage on your home to pay your debts.  If you cannot pay your unsecured debts why would you transfer them to a secure debt attached to your home, once you do that if you cannot make these payments the creditor would be entitled to take your home through foreclosure.

Do not pay your debts out of a retirement savings account.  You will need these funds in the future when you are able to retire.  Retirement accounts will also be protected through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not max out your credit cards to stay afloat.  Recently incurred charges may not be able to be discharged through a bankruptcy filing.

Do not transfer your home to another person to avoid having a lien placed on your property.  If you do this you will not be able to file for at least 4 years and this could be considered fraud in the eyes of the court.

Bankruptcy is not the end of the world, just because you have fallen into a bad financial situation does not mean that you are a bad person.  There are hundreds of thousands of bankruptcy filings in the United States each and every year.

Here are some thoughts of things to do when filing for bankruptcy.

Do consider this decision very carefully.  Are you really in so far over your head that bankruptcy is the only way out.  Under Chapter 7 you will only be able to receive a discharge every 8 years.  There are other options if you have filed within the last 8 years and are struggling, contact us for a free consultation to discuss these options, 513-422-2994.

Do follow the advise of your attorney.  At our office we have over 30 years of combined experience and will be able to guide you to make sure your bankruptcy is as painless as possible.

Do be honest in all of your answers on the petition.  Be sure to list all assets and not leave anything out.

Do be sure to list all of your creditors on your petition.

Do close any bank accounts you have any credit lines or credit cards associated with.  This will prevent the account from being seized by the creditor.

goodscoreBankruptcy is a serious decision and one that should not be taken lightly.  Contact our office for your free consultation to discuss your individual situation to see if bankruptcy is the right decision for you.

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

Call today for your free bankruptcy consultation with one of our experienced attorneys to decide if bankruptcy if the best choice for you.