1. What do I need to bring to my first appointment?
You should bring as much information as you can. The more information your bring, the more in depth your consultation will be. See the “Documents Required for Filing Bankruptcy” list.
2. Why do I have to fill out the questionnaire for my free consultation?
The more information you provide for us the easier it is for us to understand your situation. Your bankruptcy options hinge on property you own and the amount of money you make. This information is necessary to determine the type of bankruptcy that will best fit your current financial situation or if bankruptcy is even necessary.
3. How much is the initial consultation?
The first appointment is free unless it is a business case and you have been advised ahead of time that there will be a consultation fee.
4. How long will the initial consultation take?
30 to 90 minutes
5. How much does a bankruptcy cost.
Your fees are determined by the type of bankruptcy to be filed and the complexity of your situation. We do not quote fees prior to the first appointment.
1. filing fee $281 for Chapter 13 $306 for Chapter 7
2. Consumer Credit Counseling $49 Debtor education $19 per person
3. Chapter 13 requires a real estate appraisal $150
4. Chapter 7 fees range from $1000 to $1500 plus costs (fees can be higher in complicated cases and business cases)
5. Chapter 13 fees are set by the bankruptcy court at $3500. Not all of that has to be paid prior to filing. It depends on your case and situation.
6. Do I have to go to court?
Every individual who files bankruptcy must attend court at least once for a 341 Meeting (also known as the Meeting of Creditors)
This is usually the only time you will need to appear in Court.
7. What are the government disclosures and why do i have to read them?
The simple answer is “Because the government says so.”
It is a requirement of the 2005 law changes. The documents are to give you a basic understanding of certain information about bankruptcy.
8. Why do I have to take credit counseling?
The simple answer is “Because the government says so.” It is a requirement that every individual that files bankruptcy must take credit counseling. We make it easy for you to take the course. Go towww.hummingbird.org and follow the before bankruptcy instructions. If you do not have a computer you can schedule an appointment to take the course at our offices.
9. The creditors phone calls are driving me nuts.
I am being garnished.
I am being sued.
My house is in foreclosure.
My car is being repossessed.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
These are all typcial problems individuals face on a daily basis.
The first step is to have a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and learn what your rights are.
Once you have filed bankruptcy all collection activity must stop. You will receive a case number and you can give it to your creditors.
Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file and what fits your situation, you may be able to save your home and your car . Filing bankruptcy will stop the phone calls and the garnishment.
10. What is the process to file the bankruptcy?
a. You must have a consultation.
b. You must provide the required documentation and answer all questions honestly.
c. Once you have paid the fees then we can begin to process your paperwork.
d. Once the paperwork is completed we will send you a draft copy for your review.
e. You must complete your credit counseling.
f. You must then review all of your paperwork with your lawyer and sign the documents.
g, Once you have signed the documents then we can file the papers with the bankruptcy court and obtain your case number. We will also obtain your 341 hearing date and time.
h, The next steps depend on whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I have to list all my assets?
Bankrupty law requires you to list all assets that you own or that are titled in your name.
This does not mean you lose will lose those assets.
2. Do I have to list all my debts?
The bankruptcy laws require you to list all of your debts and all people you owe money to, no matter how small or who they are owed to. You cannot keep a credit card out of the bankruptcy if a balance is owed. There are certain debts you may choose to reaffirm or repay after your bankruptcy. These are usually secured debts and you are required pay them back to keep the assets.
3. Are my students loans included in my bankruptcy?
You must list your student loans in your bankruptcy, however most student loans do not qualify for a discharge. This means you will have to pay them back after your bankruptcy.
4. Will my taxes go away in my bankruptcy?
You have to list all taxes you owe. Certain types of taxes maybe discharged in your Chapter 7. The liability must be older than 3 years old and meet certain other requirement. Make sure you discuss this in detail with your lawyer. Some tax liability may receive better treatment in a Chapter 13. Your options with regards to tax debt will be discussed at your consultation.
5. Am I eligible for Chapter 7?
You must pass 2 income tests to determine if you are elgible for a Chapter 7 discharge. The first test is the median income test. If you are below the median income for a household of your size, determined by the income received/earned in the 6 full months prior to the filing of your case, then you pass the first test. If you are above the median income you may still be eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge provided you pass the means tests. The means test is based on expenses and income in the six full months prior to the filing of your case. If you pass this test you are eligible to file Chapter 7. However you still may not be able to file Chapter 7 if you have too much income above your expenses based on your current income (this is your income at the time your case is filed and going forward after your bankruptcy is filed). This requires us to examine your income and expenses after the bankruptcy is filed (which will not include expenses for debt that is included in the bankruptcy). The United States Trustee and/or your creditors can object to your bankruptcy discharge and determine you have too much excess disposable income. If the objection is successful, you could be required to dismiss your Chapter 7 case or convert it to a Chapter 13.
6 . Do I get to keep my asests?
Ohio law determines what assets you may keep. On September 30, 2008, Ohio increased the exemption amounts or the amount of your assets you can protect. Any asset that is worth less than your exemption, you are permitted to keep.
Example: You are entitled to ONE vehicle with $3450 in equity or less. You can keep up $10,000.00 worth of household goods. A complete list of exemptions are available here. This can get complicated and should be reviewed with an experienced attorney.
7. Is my retirment protected?
Almost all forms of retirment are protected by law. You must discslose all retirement accounts you have an interest in and your attorney will select the proper exemptions to protect that asset.