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Debtor Representation

“We are a debt relief agency.  We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the bankruptcy code.”

Because there are lasting consequences for the debtor’s credit, a bankruptcy filing should be carefully considered and used only as a last resort.  The bankruptcy code exists to allow a fresh start for those honestly seeking relief from crushing financial hardship.  The bankruptcy code limits how often an individual may file for bankruptcy protection.

The filing of a bankruptcy initiates the “automatic stay” that requires all contact initiated by creditors with the debtor to stop.  The automatic stay will also temporarily stop a property foreclosure as long as the bankruptcy is filed prior to the sheriff sale.

All bankruptcies are filed in federal court.  Unlike mortgage foreclosure actions that are filed in the county court of common pleas, notice of consumer bankruptcy filings are not published in the local newspaper.

Liabilities for repayment of student loans, certain unpaid tax liabilities and court ordered restitution for criminal wrong doing are typically not eliminated through bankruptcy.

A husband and wife may file bankruptcy jointly, one as the debtor and the other as the co-debtor.  A bankruptcy case may also be filed by an individual only without the spouse.  However, this should be carefully considered as certain marital debt may become the exclusive responsibility of the non-filing spouse.

There are two filing options for individuals under the bankruptcy code; Chapter 7, known as “straight bankruptcy” and Chapter 13, known as “wage earner bankruptcy”.

Chapter 7, straight bankruptcy, takes its name from chapter 7 of section 11 of the United States Code.  Chapter 7 discharges (eliminates) all unsecured consumer debts (i.e.: credit card debt, etc.) and allows the debtor to retain certain exempt personal property.  Debtors seeking relief under Chapter 7 must first pass the “Means Test” by having qualified income below the mean income level of the county in which they reside for a period of 6 months prior to the filing date of their bankruptcy case.

Chapter 13, wage earner bankruptcy, allows the restructuring of debt through the submission of a repayment plan for approval to the bankruptcy court.  In a Chapter 13, the debtor agrees to repay a portion of the debt owed to creditors over a period of 3 to 5 years.  The remaining balance of debt owed is discharged by the court.  Monthly payments are made by the debtor to a court appointed bankruptcy Trustee throughout the repayment period. The Trustee pays the individual creditors the amounts outlined by the repayment plan.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy can allow an individual to keep a house and automobiles and other personal property as outlined in the repayment plan and approved by the court.

Hawkins Law represents individuals filing for relief under the bankruptcy code within the jurisdiction of the U.S.  District Court for the Southern District of Ohio at Cincinnati.  This includes the Ohio counties of Adams, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, Highland, Lawrence and Scioto.  We offer free initial consultation to clients considering bankruptcy.

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