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Bankruptcy Attorney serving Akron, Canton, Massilin, Dover, New Philidalphia, and throughout Tuscarawas, Summit, and Stark County. 330-409-2876

Sheppard Law Offices


Canton, Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney Kenneth L. Sheppard, Jr.

 Bankruptcy attorney serving central Ohio and the Akron-Canton area and throughout Tuscarawas, Summit and Stark County , Sheppard Law Offices Co., L.P.A. BBB Business Review

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(330) 409-2876  or  (877) 505-9455


FREE Debt Relief Consultation Call (330) 409-2876 or (877) 505-9455

Sheppard Law Offices

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Canton, Ohio Bankruptcy Lawyer - FAQ



Bankruptcy Questions and Answers, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13

  • What is bankruptcy protection?

    Filing chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy protects  individuals and businesses who have suffered difficulties paying their debts & financial obligations from creditors collection efforts while liquidating or restructuring debt. For consumers, the primary two types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

  • How can filing for bankruptcy help me?

    There are several reasons for which an individual, family, or business may file for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. One of the most common reasons for filing bankruptcy is that it eliminates overwhelming unsecured debts that are causing financial difficulties. Other common reasons to file bankruptcy include high credit card debts, large medical bills, trying to keep a home from being foreclosed on or keep a car from being repossessed, pending lawsuits, ending wage garnishments, and overwhelming student loan debt. While every situation is different bankruptcy attorney Kenneth Sheppard, Jr. can work with you to help determine if filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for you.


    A Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides a fresh start by liquidating or discharging debt, and filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganizes debts into an affordable 3-5 year payment plan and allows the bankruptcy filer to keep a primary residence and car. Bankruptcy can also help by ending lawsuits and halting wage garnishments.

  • Will filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy "strip" away my home's second mortgage?

    In chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor is permitted to “strip” or avoid the second mortgage (and any other subordinate mortgage lien) if the value of the primary residence is less than the value of the first mortgage.

  • Can I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy again?

    Federal bankruptcy court will deny a discharge in a later chapter 7 bankruptcy case if the debtor received a discharge under chapter 7 in a case filed within 8 years prior to the filing of the second petition. In other words, you are not able to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy if you filed for chapter 7 in the prior 8 years. However, if you find yourself with financial troubles within this period and in need of debt relief there may be other options available, including filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy.

  • What’s the difference between a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

    In a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing 100% of your unsecured non-priority debts (i.e. medical bills and credit cards) are discharged; whereas, chapter 13 bankruptcy discharges a percentage of your unsecured non-priority debt upon successful completion of your Chapter 13 plan of reorganization. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the true “fresh start” that liquidates unsecured debts within 4-6 months after filing. Chapter 13 helps  to reorganize debts based upon current financial ability and lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 years.

  • Am I eligible to qualify for protection under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

    To qualify to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must pass the “means test”. The federal bankruptcy court assigns an income threshold amount to determine  qualification to file chapter 7 bankruptcy based on the number of members in your household. If you are under that income threshold amount, you will qualify for chapter 7 protection. Even if you are over that income threshold amount, you may still qualify under the “extended means test”. If you fail to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy under the means and extended means tests, you may seek other debt relief options including filing for a chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan.

  • How much does it cost to file for bankruptcy?

    Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy typically costs between $1,200 and $1,500 including attorney fees and filing fees.


    At your free initial consultation, your Canton Bankruptcy Filing attorney will go over the total attorney and filing fees to file for bankruptcy. Upon making the decision to begin the bankruptcy process you will pay a $400.00 retainer. This retainer will be applied to the overall attorney fees. Upon retaining Sheppard Law Office for your bankruptcy case you can begin to refer those annoying creditor calls to Sheppard Law Offices and the Canton, Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney will customize a single page “to-do” list to help you with the handling of your bankruptcy filing.

  • Do I have to pay for my bankruptcy all at once or are there payment plans available

    Sheppard Law Offices has payment plans that can be customized to your budget, so you determine when you make payments toward your bankruptcy filing! At Sheppard Law we do not put any time pressure on you to pay off your bankruptcy costs and attorney fees. However, it is important to understand that no work is performed on your bankruptcy case until payment has been received in full. Each month, Sheppard Law Offices will mail to you a reminder letter notifying your outstanding balance.

  • Can I file for individual bankruptcy if I am married or does my spouse have to file with me?

     Your spouse is NOT required to file bankruptcy with you. Keep in mind that while your spouse may not be filing bankruptcy with you, their income and expenses are still included in the calculation of the means test and for the appropriate petition schedules.

  • Do I have to go to bankruptcy court?

    You will have to appear at the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors about 30 days after you file your bankruptcy case. This hearing is held for both chapter 13 and chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. The hearing is not in front of a judge; instead, it’s held in a classroom setting before a trustee. The hearing usually lasts about 5 to 10 minutes. You will be accompanied to the hearing by your Ohio bankruptcy attorney.

  • What property can I keep when filing bankruptcy?

    There are some general principles as to keeping property; however, a case-by case analysis must be performed to determine what specific property may be kept. Assets that have no equity can be kept by the debtor. There are federal exemptions as well as Ohio state exemptions that may be applied to equity in your property to reduces what the bankruptcy court would otherwise consider equity in your property. In Ohio there is an automobile exemption that protects equity in 1 vehicle. Also, there is a “wild card” exemption that can be applied to any asset’s equity.

  • What is the automatic stay? And how does it stop creditor harassment?

    When your bankruptcy case is electronically filed with the courts, the automatic stay provision goes into effect, legally forcing creditors to stop collection efforts during your bankruptcy. Lawsuits are suspended, foreclosures are halted, and creditor telephone calls stop. Federal bankruptcy court takes the automatic stay very seriously, therefore it is not in the interest of creditors to violate the automatic stay.

  • What’s the difference between secured debt and an unsecured debt?

    Unsecured debts include credit card bills, personal loans, signature loans, utility bills, and medical bills. Secured debts are debts that are tied to an asset. In the eyes of the bankruptcy court a mortgage or auto loan is a secured debt, because those debts are tied to real property. Surrendering a secured debt can cause that debt to be considered an unsecured debt for purposes of your bankruptcy filing

  • My creditors keep calling and harassing me, how do I stop creditor harassment?

    Upon filing for bankruptcy, the automatic stay provision will prevent creditors from contacting you. Technically, creditors can attempt to collect a debt by following certain procedures up to the time your bankruptcy case is filed.  In order to put an end to the harassing collection calls from creditors you may begin to refer the collectors to Sheppard Law Offices once you retain us as your bankruptcy attorney. Read More >>

  • Can I keep my house when filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

    Assuming that you qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy, the equity in your home can be protected, and you are current on your mortgage payment or payments, bankruptcy can be solution to allow you to keep your primary residence. In order to keep your house, you will reaffirm the mortgage by completing a reaffirmation agreement. If you don't qualify to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy or are unable to bring your mortgage payments current and wish to keep your house, other debt relief options including Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be considered.

  • Can I keep my car when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

    Assuming that you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and that the equity in your vehicle can be protected, and you are current on your auto loan payments, to keep your car you can reaffirm the secured debt through a reaffirmation agreement with the lender. If you don't qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or are not able to bring your auto payments current and wish to keep your car, other debt relief options including Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be considered.


    If you fully own your vehicle, Ohio's Motor Vehicle Exemption, Wildcard Exemption, Tools of the Trade, or Medically Necessary Exemption may help you to qualify to keep the vehicle through bankruptcy filing.


  • Will I be able to get credit cards after bankruptcy?

    Typically after filing for bankruptcy you can expect to start receiving credit card offers, however higher interest rates will likely apply to most of these credit card offers.

  • Does bankruptcy discharge all of my debts?

    Certain priority debts are not dischargeable through bankruptcy, including secured debts that you reaffirm when filing chapter 7 bankruptcy. Student loans, certain tax liabilities, and other government obligations are generally not able to be discharged. When filing chapter 13 bankruptcy, upon successful completion of your chapter 13 repayment plan, the remaining unsecured non-priority debt is dis-chargeable. In chapter 7 cases, 100% of your unsecured non-priority debt is dis-chargeable.

  • I just received a lawsuit (i.e. a summons and complaint) in the mail. What do I do?

    The best course of action to take will depend on the bankruptcy strategy. There are several factors that may determine when you should file for bankruptcy; therefore it is best to consult with Attorney Sheppard to confirm the appropriate measures to take when you are named as Defendant in a lawsuit.

  • I have a retirement account, should I consider taking a hardship withdraw to delay filing bankruptcy?

    Many retirement plans allow a participant to seek a hardship withdrawal when struggling financially. However, there are considerations that you should understand before making the decision to withdraw from your retirement accounts.

    1) By withdrawing money from your retirement account you reduce the amount of money you will have available for you at retirement age.

    2) Retirement accounts are typically considered exempt assets by the bankruptcy courts.

    3)  When withdrawing qualified money, there most likely will be a 10% penalty for taking the hardship withdrawal. 4) When withdrawing qualified money, you will most likely have to pay income tax on the distribution.

    Early distributions from retirement accounts are usually not recommended; however, if after consideration of the issues you decide to take a hardship withdrawal Attorney Sheppard can help you to work with your plan administrator to obtain funds.

  • Where are Sheppard Law Bankruptcy Offices located?

    Visit the map and directions page to our Canton, Ohio Filing Bankruptcy Office.

    In order to better serve our clients, in addition to our Canton, Ohio bankruptcy office in Belden Village Tower, we also have offices where you can file for bankruptcy in Columbus, Newark, Mount Vernon, Ohio


Tax Relief, Debt Relief, and Bankruptcy Filing office in Canton, Ohio

Sheppard Law Offices

Canton, Ohio Office

Belden Village Tower, 200

Canton, Ohio 44718

Tel: (330) 409-2876

Columbus Ohio Office

2600 Tiller Lane, Suite A

Columbus, Ohio 43231

Tel: (614) 523-3106

Newark, Ohio Office

843 N. 21st Street, Suite 108

Newark, Ohio 43055

Tel: (740) 345-7138

Mt. Vernon, Ohio Office

11 West Gambier Street

Mt. Vernon, Ohio 43050

Tel: (740) 392-0404

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Sheppard Law Offices, LPA is conveniently located and serving chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy clients in Canton, Ohio. Our office is a short drive from throughout Stark, Tuscarawas, and Summit Counties. We regularly provide debt relief solutions to clients from Akron, Canton, North Canton, Massillon, Dover, New Philadelphia, Alliance, Navarre, Strasburg, Ballivor, Jackson Township, Canal Fulton, Barberton, Greenlawn, Medina, Wooster, Orrville, Dalton, Minerva, Ashland, Wadsworth, Carrollton, Dundee, Millersburg, Hartville, Doylestown, Green, Uniontown, Salem, Columbiana, Uniontown, and throughout Ohio.