Bankruptcy FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions about Bankruptcy

Short answer: sometimes. In certain circumstances, bankruptcy attorneys may choose to take payment plans for their legal services. However, these circumstances are limited and should be discussed with your bankruptcy attorney. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are the most common example of making payments on bankruptcy attorney fees. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases a portion of one’s attorney fees are repaid as part of a 36 to 60 month debt repayment plan. About 12% of all bankruptcy filings near Toledo, Ohio are Chapter 13 bankruptcies.
Everyone has a distant relative who is best friends with a bankruptcy attorney, right? There’s a safer and better way to choose a Toledo bankruptcy attorney that is right for you. Choosing the right Toledo bankruptcy attorney is important to the success of your case. Since the attorney/client relationship may last from months to years in bankruptcy matters, it is important to choose a Toledo bankruptcy attorney that you are comfortable with. We suggest finding a bankruptcy attorney who has these attributes: Experience (10+ years); Price (middle range, but not overpriced); Personality (easy to get along with); and demonstrated client success (client reviews). Still feeling stuck? Try this easy 1-2-3 approach to finding your Toledo bankruptcy attorney.
Yes, the law does allow for individuals to file their own bankruptcy case (“Pro Se”). The term “Pro Se” describes a debtor representing himself/herself during the bankruptcy process. Pro Se filers are expected to understand the process, documents, and deadlines that apply to all cases, regardless of legal representation. Pro Se filers also pay the same bankruptcy case filing fee, generally just over $300. There is value in retaining an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Represented debtors are less likely to face creditor objections as well as additional trips to Court. Having your own bankruptcy attorney increases the likelihood of a successful outcome.
While there may be a few documents that are unique to your bankruptcy, here is a basic list of required documents needed before filing for bankruptcy relief: 2 years tax returns (federal and state); 6 months of paystubs; 6 months of bank statements; copy of vehicle registration or title; list of creditors (loose bills and credit report); Divorce or Dissolution Decrees if you have had a domestic relations case in the last 5 year; and a credit counseling certificate. Below are some helpful links to get you started:
Yes, as a bankruptcy debtor you can file alone or with a spouse. The choice is yours, however we suggest that you first have a discussion with your bankruptcy attorney about whether or not to include your spouse in a bankruptcy. Sometimes, the experienced bankruptcy attorney may offer insight that will help maximize the fresh start in your home. There is no extra charge to add a spouse to your initial bankruptcy filing. Joint bankruptcy is for married couples.
Sometimes, one has to take a step backwards, before taking two steps forward. Regardless of whether you come to the bankruptcy process with a good or bad credit score, it is realistic to expect a decline in your credit score after filing for bankruptcy relief. The whole reason for filing bankruptcy is to achieve a financial fresh start. Sometimes a fresh start means a short term sacrifice of your credit score for a long term benefit. Post filing, we encourage our bankruptcy clients to begin rebuilding their credit with safe and proven techniques.
By working closely with your bankruptcy attorney, it is possible to remove the fear and anxiety of going to Court. Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will take the time to discuss what will happen at the Meeting of Creditors as well as any other hearing that may arise during your case. The most common Chapter 7 bankruptcy hearing is the Meeting of Creditors. Typically, this hearing is held about 7 weeks post filing and your bankruptcy attorney will sit beside you. The Meeting of Creditors is an opportunity for the Bankruptcy Trustee to ask you some basic questions about your income, assets, and liabilities so that they may properly administer your bankruptcy estate. An average length for the Chapter 7 Meeting of Creditors is 6-12 minutes. At France Law Group, we stand with our clients and work hard to ease any anxieties about attending Court.
About 88% of all bankruptcy filings in Toledo, Ohio are Chapter 7 bankruptcies. This type of bankruptcy is often referred to as liquidation. We encourage all clients to have a discussion with our bankruptcy attorney about asset values, with a focus on whether or not a particular asset has excessive equity beyond the protections offered by law (“exemptions”). Under current bankruptcy laws, it is becoming less common for a debtor to lose their home or primary vehicle. Examples of bankruptcy exemptions that are applied to protect assets are:
  • Homestead Exemption: $145,425.00 (protection beyond your mortgage payoff)
  • Motor Vehicle Exemption: $4,000.00 (protection beyond your loan balance)
  • 401(k) Retirement Plans: Fully protected (qualified funds only)
  • Wildcard Exemption: $1,300.00 of additional protection
  • Cash on Hand Exemption: $500.00 (protection for cash and bank accounts)
Every bankruptcy case requires two credit counseling certificates, one prior to filing and a second about 2 months after filing your bankruptcy. There is no need to leave your home and attend boring lectures. Most credit counseling certificates can be earned via online courses, costing about $15.00 per course. Some course providers also offer telephonic course options. The online courses take about 60-90 minutes. Upon successful course completion, your Court approved course provider will email a copy of your certificate to your bankruptcy attorney.
At France Law Group, we pride ourselves on being honest and helpful to all of our clients. Sometimes that means we suggest non-bankruptcy alternatives, including referrals to outside resources when appropriate. Individual creditor negotiations may be appropriate in situations where a debtor has a small number of creditors and simply needs help negotiating a reasonable payment plan.
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