Steubenville Bankruptcy Attorney
If you’re considering bankruptcy, you may be facing a level of financial hardship you’ve never experienced. You might have spent the last few years attempting to avoid bankruptcy at all costs, believing it to be a last resort. Additionally, you likely have a number of questions about the process and its long-term effects that internet research cannot adequately answer.
At Isla Law Offices, our Steubenville bankruptcy attorney has more than 25 years of experience helping clients navigate this complex legal process. When you bring your case to our firm, we can spend as much time as needed to answer your questions, address your concerns, and develop a personalized plan to help you regain control over your finances.
How Does Bankruptcy Work in Ohio?
Bankruptcy is one of the most effective forms of debt relief. It is a legal procedure that allows you to restructure and/or potentially discharge certain types of debt. All forms of bankruptcy trigger an automatic stay, which prevents your creditors from initiating or continuing collection attempts for the duration of your bankruptcy process.
These collection attempts include:
- Phone calls
- Letters and emails
- Bank levies
- Wage garnishments
Bankruptcy will look significantly different for each individual and business. This is because everyone has unique levels and types of debt, assets they want to keep or need to liquidate, and goals they want to achieve.
The type of bankruptcy you file will play an enormous role in how long it will take and what your financial situation will look like once the process is complete. The following is an overview of the two most common types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation process. The Bankruptcy Court assigns a trustee, who takes your non-exempt assets and sells them to repay your creditors.
The key term here is “non-exempt assets.” Many people who file Chapter 7 can claim most or all of their property as exempt, leaving little to no assets for liquidation.
Once the liquidation process is complete, the court will discharge your unsecured debt, such as medical bills, credit card debt, utility bills, and more. Unsecured debt is simply debt that is not secured (i.e. guaranteed) by collateral. A mortgage is an example of secured debt because the attached property serves as collateral. In order words, it can be taken from you (foreclosed) if you fail to make payments.
Unfortunately, not everyone will qualify for the substantial level of discharge provided by Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To be eligible for this chapter, you must pass a means test. Generally, you must make less than your state’s median income.
If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7, or you have non-exempt assets that you would like to keep, you may benefit from Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead.
What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Rather than liquidating your assets, Chapter 13 restructures your debt into a reasonable repayment plan. Your repayment plan will take 3-5 years and must use all of your disposable income. Each payment you make will go to the trustee, who will disburse it amongst your creditors according to the Bankruptcy Code.
If you make all required payments in these 3-5 years, the court can then discharge any remaining unsecured debt. Many individuals can use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to save their homes because the automatic stay freezes the foreclosure process, allowing them to spread delinquent payments over the course of their repayment plan.
Let Isla Law Offices Help You Obtain a Fresh Start
Congress created the Bankruptcy Code not to punish debtors but to help them recover from severe financial adversity. If you are falling behind on bills and your debt is too high to manage, our team at Isla Law Offices can determine whether Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy could be the solution you need. We can help you prepare for the proceeding, complete it efficiently and effectively, and obtain the knowledge and resources you need to thrive for years to come.
25+ Years of Bankruptcy Experience
Affordable Financing Options Available
Accessible In-Person, Online & Over the Phone
Personalized Service Tailored to Each Client
Licensed to Practice in Pennsylvania, West Virginia & Ohio