SKILLED IN BANKRUPTCY CASES
The ability to buy something on credit or with a loan can be extremely beneficial; however, when debt starts to accrue and debt and expenditures exceed income, financial problems can quickly arise. While there are usually a variety of options for alleviating and getting in control of debt when the problem is addressed early on, excessive spending, accumulated interest, and overall debt may eventually overcome a person’s management abilities. For those who are facing extreme amounts of debt and who are unsure what their options are, filing for bankruptcy may be a solution. At the law office of Groth & Associates, our Maumee, OH bankruptcy attorneys can help you to understand the bankruptcy process, explore your options for managing debt, and represent you during the bankruptcy process if this is the course of action you decide to pursue. Please call our law firm today or send us a message at your convenience telling us more about how we can help.
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TYPES OF BANKRUPTCY
For individuals, there are two different types of bankruptcy actions that can be pursued. Each has its own requirements and specifications. If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy, our Maumee bankruptcy attorneys can help you to understand the differences and which is most appropriate for you.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Also known as liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is for debtors who have no means of repaying any portion of their debt, and therefore cannot enter into a repayment plan. In this type of bankruptcy, also called a “fresh start” bankruptcy, all non-exempt assets of the debtor will be sold or “liquidated,” and then the income from those sales will be used to pay off creditors to the extent possible. Any debts that are unpaid will be discharged, with a few exceptions. For example, child support debt cannot be discharged.
Not everyone can file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In order to choose this bankruptcy type, a debtor must pass a means test. The means test is a way of determining whether or not your means (income and assets) are too valuable to allow you to liquidate assets and discharge debts. If your income is less than the Ohio state median income, you will automatically pass the means test. If it is more than the state median income, then you are less likely to qualify, but may pass the means test if your expenses are particularly high. An attorney can help you to gather and file the appropriate forms related to the means test for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
If you don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then your remaining option is to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also called reorganization bankruptcy. For those who have the financial means to do so, filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is usually a better option. Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, a debtor will be able to keep more of their assets, including a home in most cases, rather than having to liquidate them. Further, instead of debts being discharged, the debtor will enter a repayment plan to pay a portion or all of their debts back over a period of time, usually over the course of three to five years. While both types of bankruptcy will affect one’s credit score, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will have a less severe effect.
OTHER PRACTICE AREA CASES
THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS
The process of filing for bankruptcy is technical, and is a process best engaged in with the representation of an attorney. A brief overview of the process follows – however, you should consult with an attorney to learn more the process and steps that you should take specific to your situation.
- Attend bankruptcy counseling. In order to file for bankruptcy, you must attend a mandatory credit counseling session issued by an authorized credit counseling provider.
- Obtain bankruptcy forms and gather financial information. This process is very intensive, and requires that you disclose all of your financial information to the court when you file.
- Determine whether or not you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy via the means test.
- File your bankruptcy paperwork with the court. When you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay will be initiated, and creditors will no longer be allowed to attempt to collect on debt while the stay is in effect.
- Liquidate assets to repay creditors if you’re filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or enter into a repayment plan if you are filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Discharge of your debts. At this point, any eligible debts will be discharged. Remember, however, that not all debts can be discharged in a bankruptcy case. Talk to your attorney to learn more.
- Start rebuilding. After your bankruptcy case is complete, you’ll want to start rebuilding your credit and establishing more sound financial practices for yourself, such as minimizing credit use, saving money every month, paying debts on time and in full, and more.
ALTERNATIVES TO BANKRUPTCY
Filing for bankruptcy is sometimes the best option for those who are truly buried in debt and have no other way of alleviating and managing that debt. However, there are often alternatives to bankruptcy that are preferred. When you work with our Maumee, OH bankruptcy attorney, we will help you to understand these alternatives, and will recommend filing for bankruptcy only if we believe that you have no other options. Examples of alternatives to bankruptcy include:
- Consolidate debt by combining separate debt into one loan;
- Negotiate with creditors about your debt and see whether terms for repayment can be amended;
- Negotiate the terms of your loan or mortgage with your bank or mortgage provider;
- Liquidate assets and use the money to repay debts;
- Attend credit counseling or meet with a financial professional who can help you to put in place sound practices for managing your money and repaying your debt;
Create a repayment or debt management plan that allows you to repay your debt over time.
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HOW TO DEAL WITH AN INSURANCE COMPANY?
You may be wondering how you should deal with the insurance company after a crash. If you have hired an attorney, your attorney will advise you regarding all interactions with an insurance company. If you have not hired an attorney, then you should know that at the very least, you should not:
- Give a recorded statement;
- Sign anything; or
- Accept a first settlement offer.
As soon as you accept a settlement, your claim is resolved and you release the company from any further liability, meaning that you will be unable to recover any more damages.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE MY CLAIM?
You should act quickly after suffering an injury to hire a lawyer and begin the process of filing your claim. If you do not file your claim against the at-fault party within two years’ time, you will be in violation of Ohio’s statute of limitations, and will be barred from recovering compensation at all.
Words from our clients
Stevin is by far the best Lawyer that I have encountered. He is professional, knowledgeable, and very patient. I have lived out of the country for the past 5 years and anytime I needed legal assistance he has always been there for me as if I was next door. I would strongly recommend Stevin Groth no matter what the circumstances are. His dedication and attention to detail is what’s appreciated the most. Thanks for all that you have done and you will continue to do for me.
Stevin was very professional and got me the best possible outcome for my case. I would recommend him to anybody that is looking for a great quality lawyer.
I had the pleasure of working with Stevin Groth on a case. He went above and beyond what I expected. I expected the worst and he fought for me way better than anyone would have. Will use again if needed. Cannot express my gratitude enough. Thank you.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO WORK WITH AN ATTORNEY?
The good news is that when you work with the Bowling Green personal injury lawyers at Groth & Associates, you will not have any upfront costs. That’s right – we handle the costs of filing your claim, investigating your accident, hiring experts, and going to trial on your behalf. Rather than charging you upfront or hourly fees, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means that if your claim is successful, we will collect a percentage of your winnings; if your claim is not successful, you will not owe us any fee.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A FREE CONSULTATION?
The process of hiring our law firm begins with a free consultation. During the free consultation, you will have an opportunity to learn about our services, including:
- What our role is during the personal injury process;
- How we charge (our contingency fee);
- Who will be working on your claim;
- What your role will be during the process;
- How we investigate your claim; and
- What the difference is between a personal injury claim and a lawsuit.
You will also have the opportunity to learn about our background and experience, including some of our most notable cases. You can also ask questions related to your accident and injuries, such as what your case may be worth, how long your case will take to settle, and what you should expect throughout the claims process. We will also use the free consultation to learn as much as we can about your accident.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED BOWLING GREEN PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER TODAY
Being injured because of the actions of another is a very scary experience. And in some cases, injuries may be so severe that you are permanently prevented from returning to work, doing the things that you once loved and enjoyed, or even caring for your family physically or financially. When you find yourself in this type of dire situation, you need an experienced legal professional who is willing to do what it takes to help you and your family get back on your feet again. To schedule your free consultation with our law firm and learn more about the personal injury claim process, please call us today at 419.491.7362. You can also use our online form to write us a message and request your consultation.