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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.

BANKRUPTCY & DIVORCE

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

It’s not uncommon for someone to file for bankruptcy after a divorce. You or your ex-spouse may not be able to keep up with payments on credit cards and other debts on a single salary. It happens, and it’s a legitimate reason to look for relief through bankruptcy.

Money is a big stress factor in many relationships. Sometimes a couple that has money images (4)problems will think that the answer to their problems is divorce. Each spouse is likely to believe that the other is mostly responsible for the couple’s money problems. This belief may or may not be true. One thing is true, you can divorce your spouse, but you can’t divorce the debts incurred during your marriage.

When either party contemplates bankruptcy, one consideration is the timing of the filing and whether the parties should file a joint bankruptcy before or during the divorce, or an individual bankruptcy before, during, or after the divorce. Your creditors are not part of the divorce, and the family court cannot alter, modify or revise the contract between debtors and their creditors.  Any joint debt discharged by one party will leave the other party solely liable, exposed to collection efforts and law suits, and will often force the other spouse to repay or file bankruptcy.

Both spouses are responsible for the debts incurred during the time of the marriage. Your divorce settlement will divide up the debts, assigning responsibility for some to one spouse and some to the other. But that divorce settlement is between you and your ex-spouse. It doesn’t bind the creditor, who can collect the debt from either one of you. This means if your ex-spouse doesn’t pay his or her share of the debts, the creditor can come after you for payment.

HOW CAN I GET STARTED?

Call our office today and set up your free consultation with our Attorney’s. Here you will discuss which chapter of bankruptcy is best for you.

Bankruptcy can mean different things to different debtors. There are several types of bankruptcy chapters provided under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, each with its own rules and procedures.

The most common filings for bankruptcy are chapter 7 and chapter 13. Chapter 7 will wipe out all your unsecured debt (credit cards, medical fees, utilities, etc.). You can also keep your house and vehicle in chapter 7, as long as your current on payments. Chapter 7 is a straight bankruptcy, referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. This will stop all collection proceedings including phone calls, mailings, garnishments and court proceedings. As many as 65% of consumer bankruptcy filings in the U.S. are chapter 7. Under a Chapter 7, any debt incurred to a spouse or former spouse that is incurred during a divorce by agreement, decree or court order is not dischargable.  If any assets are recovered, these debts are paid before most of the other debts.

Chapter 13 is a repayment plan. It is referred to as a wage earner. You must have a reliable source of income so that you can repay all or a portion of your debt. Chapter 13 will stop a downloadforeclosure or repossession as well. It is designed to help you retain your home or vehicle if your behind. You will repay 1% to 100% of your unsecured debt, depending on the individuals situation. This will last a minimum of three years and maximum of five years. During this time it will be up to the creditors to file claim in order to be paid during the case.  Under a Chapter 13, the debtor may receive a discharge from obligations incurred as part of the divorce if certain conditions are met.

HOW CAN I GET BACK ON TRACK?

Once you have fully discharged, rebuilding can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task. But it’s important to realize that there is life after bankruptcy. Repaying your existing bills as agreed will be one of the single, most powerful things you can do to restore your finances and your credit. You will be surprised at the credit offers you will receive once you have finished the bankruptcy process

MORE INFORMATION

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

FREE CONSULTATION

Contact our office today in Eastgate, Ohio your free consultation to see if bankruptcy will give you the financial relief you are looking for.

BANKRUPTCY INFORMATION

We are a bankruptcy firm located in Eastgate, Ohio.

What is bankruptcy? Bankruptcy is a process in which consumers and businesses can eliminate or re-pay some or all of their debts under the federal protection of the bankruptcy code. Basically there are two types of bankruptcy available for the consumer; Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY

Chapter 7 is designed to clear off or discharge all of your unsecured debt. This will give you a stopfresh financial start. Creditors can no longer collect on debts by mail, telephone calls or court proceedings. If there were secured items that you wish to keep such as your home or vehicle you would re-sign on these items under a reaffirmation agreement.

A reaffirmation agreement is a bankruptcy document that you would sign to reaffirm debts that you do not want to discharge through your case. The debts that are re-signed on will report to the credit reporting agencies and help to re-build your credit.

Chapter 7 is also referred to as a “liquidation bankruptcy” because the  trustee may take and sell or liquidate some of your property to pay back some of your debt. However, you will be able to keep most if not all of your property due to the protection of the bankruptcy exemptions. These include such things as your home, vehicle, cash on hand, jewelry, household items, retirement plans, and most other assets. The exemptions vary so you should contact our Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy firm for further details.

Are you eligible for a Chapter 7. Not everyone can qualify for Chapter 7, there are several factors to consider, but most can qualify. Contact our office today for your free consultation to see if you qualify for Chapter 7.

CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is also referred to as a “wage earner” plan because in order to file for Chapter 13 protection you must have a reliable source of income so that you can repay all or a portion of your debt,

In Chapter 13 you will pay back a percentage of your unsecured debts, this can range from 1% vehiclesto 100% depending on your individual situation. Chapter 13  can also stop a foreclosure action and a vehicle repossession and allow you to make up your missed payments through the chapter 13 plan.

If you file for Chapter 13 be prepared to be in the case for a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years. It will be up to the creditors to file a claim in order to be paid during this case. During this time period you will repay a percentage of your unsecured debts, your secured debts and any missed payments you had on your house or vehicle. At the end you will receive a discharge as to all remaining debt.

Chapter 13 can stop a foreclosure or a repossession of a vehicle.  Once your file for protection under the bankruptcy stay all court proceedings must stop, including foreclosure.  Under Chapter 13 the Trustee would then make the payments you had missed over the next 3 to 5 years within your chapter 13 plan.

OUR OFFICE

At Keegan & Co. Attorneys, LLC we will offer you a free consultation.  At this free consultation you will be able to sit down with one of our attorneys and discuss your individual situation.  The attorney would then advise you which chapter would be best for your situation.  They will also quote you a fee for the filing for your case.  If you decide to move forward a small retainer will get things started (once you put down the retainer you may refer your creditors to our office), we will then accept monthly payments until your fees are paid and then your case will be filed.

MORE INFORMATION

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

If you are thinking of bankruptcy, contact our Eastgate, Ohio bankruptcy attorneys today. We offer a free consultation, fair fees and monthly payment plans.