Bankruptcy in Ohio
If you're looking for a bankruptcy lawyer, you're likely highly stressed, at the end of your rope, and feeling harassed by creditor phone calls. We get it. That's why we wrote this article. We want you to know two things.
First, you are not alone. Last year about 1.5 million families in Ohio and across the country filed for bankruptcy protection.
Second, there is help out there for you. If you are struggling to pay your bills and can't seem to catch up, bankruptcy protections were created for you.
To help you take the next step toward a fresh start, we'll use this article to explain:
- How Ohio bankruptcy law is unique and can protect your assets;
- The difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies;
- How to select a bankruptcy attorney; and
- How to best work with your attorney.
How Ohio Bankruptcy Law is Unique
In some states, bankruptcy filers can choose between the federal and state exemptions; not so in Ohio. Only the state exemptions apply, but that's okay; most filers don't lose any assets anyway.
If you are an Ohio resident, you can protect:
- Your home up to the $20,200 exemption.
- Your car up to $3,225 of equity.
- Your tools (related to your occupation) up to $2,025 worth.
- Your jewelry up to $1,350.
- Your personal items up to $10,725.
If you're married and filing bankruptcy jointly, double these exemptions.
Your Choices in Filing Bankruptcy in Ohio: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
If you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your bankruptcy lawyer will likely tell you to "go for it" because your unsecured debts are eliminated and the process only takes about 6 months.
If Chapter 7 isn't the right way to go, Chapter 13 likely is. In Chapter 13 bankruptcies, some debts are discharged and others are reorganized (so you're repaying less). This process takes between 3 and 5 years.
How to Select a Bankruptcy Attorney
It's important to work with a lawyer you're comfortable with.
- First, try to get a personal referral from friends, family, or professional advisors.
- Second, seek out an attorney who focuses on bankruptcy law.
- Third, investigate by reading blogs and web content from attorneys and asking questions over the phone or in person.
How to Prepare to Work with a Bankruptcy Attorney
The key to a successful attorney/client relationship is full disclosure. Though it may be difficult to discuss your finances (and what you may deem to be a failure), it's necessary for the best outcome.
Where to Get Help Filing Bankruptcy
While you may want to keep your troubles to yourself, it's likely in your best interests to consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney. A lawyer will best know how to protect you and your assets.