January 2021 - Groth & Associates
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January 2021

bankruptcy in ohio

What Debts Are Left after Bankruptcy in Ohio?

By | Bankruptcy, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

Bankruptcy is an effective means of wiping out debt. But not all debts are eligible for “discharge” in the bankruptcy process. It is possible that you will remain several thousands of dollars in debt even going through bankruptcy. For this reason, it is important that you meet with a Toledo bankruptcy attorney to review your debts and determine which you can eliminate.

Secured Debts

Every secured debt has two parts—a debt you personally owe and a security agreement where you pledge collateral in the event you default. Technically, you can eliminate the personal debt in bankruptcy. However, you cannot get rid of the security agreement. Consequently, your creditor can still seize the collateral if you don’t pay—so it doesn’t make sense to say you can “eliminate” secured debts.

The most common secured debts are car loans and home mortgages. Many people hope to eliminate their mortgage in bankruptcy but keep their home, but that is not possible. Instead, you will need to reaffirm your loan, which means it survives bankruptcy. Otherwise, you can give up the collateral.

Child Support & Alimony Debts

If you fell behind on these domestic support obligations, you cannot eliminate them in bankruptcy. Any past-due payments are called “arrearages,” and you will still owe them even after the bankruptcy process. Congress identified these debts as “non-dischargeable” in 11 U.S.C. § 523(5).

Of course, you can still use bankruptcy to help with these debts. If you file Chapter 13, for example, you can spread out your arrearages over the course of your payment plan and avoid wage garnishment. But you can’t eliminate them.

Most Taxes

The government wants taxpayers to pay up, so the bankruptcy code makes most taxes non-dischargeable. You can’t get rid of them.

An exception exists for certain income taxes only. They must meet a long list of conditions, such as:

  • The taxes are more than 3 years old
  • You timely filed your returns or filed for the relevant tax year at least 2 years ago
  • You did not commit tax fraud or evasion
  • The IRS assessed the debt more than 240 days before you filed for bankruptcy

Payroll taxes and tax penalties are not eligible for discharge. Debtors must also realize they cannot eliminate a tax lien that is already in place. Instead, they will need to pay off the lien to get it removed.

Some Court Judgments

A court judgment against you is a debt you must repay. You can eliminate some court judgments in bankruptcy—but not all. For example, the code states that any penalty or judgment based on drunk driving is non-dischargeable.

With other court judgments, it depends on the actions your creditor takes. He or she would have to file an adversary proceeding with the court to object to the discharge. This might happen if your judgment is for an injury caused by fraud or malicious acts.

Student Loans

For now, student loans are difficult to eliminate in bankruptcy. Basically, you will need to show that paying them back is an “undue hardship” by showing the following:

  • You can’t maintain a minimal standard of living and pay your debts at the same time
  • This financial situation will exist for most of the repayment period
  • You have made a good faith effort to pay back the loans

For example, you might be disabled and unable to find full-time employment. If your loans eat up most of your disability check, then they are a hardship.

Let Us Review Your Debt

At Groth & Associates, we perform a full review of all debt to determine whether bankruptcy is right for you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

toledo skyline

Where to File for Divorce in Toledo

By | Divorce, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

No matter how eager you are to divorce, you cannot officially split from your spouse until a judge approves and issues a divorce decree. And to obtain a decree, you need to file paperwork in the correct court.

If you live in Toledo, you will file for divorce in Lucas County. You will need to go to the Domestic Relations Division of the county court, which has a physical address at 429 N. Michigan Street, Toledo, Ohio 43604.

However, before you rush off to the office to file for divorce, you need to check whether you are even eligible for divorce in Ohio at all. Our state does not allow for “quickie divorces,” so you must satisfy certain residential requirements first.

Are You Filing for Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage?

People refer to both as “divorce,” but they are legally distinct in Ohio.

Couples can seek a dissolution of marriage when they both agree to divorce. Neither party alleges fault, and the couple agrees on all critical issues.

A couple divorces when they allege fault and/or they disagree about a critical issue such as child custody, child support, spousal support, or the division of marital property and debts. The divorce becomes contested, and the judge must decide one or more of these issues.

Has Either Spouse Lived in Ohio for at Least Six Months Before Filing for Dissolution?

This is the first requirement, found in Ohio Revised Code §3105.62. Either you or your spouse must have lived in Ohio for the six months right before you file for dissolution of your marriage. If you just laid down roots, you’ll need to wait before filing.

Critical: If you are filing for divorce (and not dissolution), see below.

Have You Lived in Ohio for at Least Six Months Before You File for Divorce?

If you are filing for divorce, you must have personally lived in the state for six months before you file your complaint in court. This requirement is found in ORC §3105.03. Unlike with dissolution, it’s not enough that your spouse meets the requirement. If you are filing the paperwork, you must meet this requirement yourself.

Has Either Spouse Lived in Lucas County for at Least 90 Days?

This is another requirement you must meet. Under Ohio Revised Code §3105.03, at least one spouse must have lived in the county where you file for at least 90 days. Again, you will have to wait if neither spouse meets this requirement.

Of course, only one spouse must have lived in the county. You could have moved to a different part of Ohio. So long as your spouse is still living in Lucas County, you can file for divorce here.

Our Toledo Divorce Attorneys Will Untangle the Legal Issues

Deciding when and where to file can be a headache for many people. Let us help. Fortunately, all men and women filing for divorce can hire an attorney to represent them. We will draft all legal pleadings, file them for you, and serve copies on your spouse.

Contact Groth & Associates today to speak with an attorney. Our consultations are confidential.


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