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Sometimes referred to as “fresh start” or “debt liquidation”, Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges a debtor’s unsecured non-priority debts, leaving them debt free. Chapter 7 bankruptcy does require qualification under the bankruptcy Means Test, as outlined in U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In addition to the Means Test, there are several additional requirements to qualify for protection by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A thorough analysis and an evaluation of your assets (equity) debts is required, in addition to completion of Debtor Education.
Every day we see individuals, families, and small business owners who are struggling to keep up with credit card debt, medical bills, student loan debt, lawsuits, judgments and other financial problems, and we want to do the most possible to help relieve this financial stress. Therefore, in order to help those struggling with debt issues, we are reducing our fees and offering a low cost bankruptcy option at our Canton, Ohio bankruptcy office.
We also have convenient payment plans to help those who are concerned about coming up with the money to file for bankruptcy.
The Means Test evaluates your gross household income for the previous six months, and the number of individuals in your household. This information is applied to determine if your household income falls within the guidelines set by the Internal Revenue Service to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy in Ohio. In the event the debtor’s income exceeds the means test household income threshold amount, the debtor may still qualify to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Protection through the “extended means test”. Under the extended means test, the calculation also considers certain expenses allowed by data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and the IRS. For cases filed on or after November 1, 2012, updated data for use in the means test can be found at The United States Department of Justice.
During evaluation of your assets (equity) and debts, our bankruptcy attorneys can show you whether your assets may be protected from liquidation by the Chapter 7 trustee. Unprotected equity in assets (such as vehicles and real estate) may be subject to sale or buy-out in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Keep in mind, this process allows for exemptions. In Ohio, state law exemptions are utilized to protect equity in assets that are part of the bankruptcy estate. Typically, an individual can claim exemption for a certain amount of a vehicle’s equity. There is also a "tools of the trade" exemption. The Ohio Homestead Exemption which allows for protection of equity in a bankruptcy filers home increased from $21,625 to $132,900 on April 1, 2013. Since every situation is unique, and the guidelines change on a regular basis, it is important to evaluate your individual circumstances with a qualified bankruptcy attorney in order to decide which debt relief option is right for you.
Included in the requirements for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor must complete two courses of Debtor Education, called “Pre-Filing Credit Counseling” and “Pre-Discharge Financial Management”. The Pre-Filing Credit Counseling course must be completed in order to file for bankruptcy. The Pre-Discharge Financial Management course must be completed before the court will complete the discharge of your debts. Certificates of completion for each course are required to be submitted to the bankruptcy trustee as proof of completion. We use Cricket consumer credit counseling services for these courses, which are a total of $35. For convenience, your certificates of completion are emailed directly to Attorney Sheppard’s office.
About 30 days after a debtor files for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the debtor must attend and provide testimony at a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. The Meeting of Creditors is administered by the a Trustee appointed by the bankruptcy court. The Trustee asks several questions to the debtor regarding the debtor’s petition, including his or her assets, debts, income and expenses. Creditors are also allowed an opportunity to ask the debtor questions as well; although it is uncommon for creditors to attend the Meeting of Creditors. In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases, the Meeting of Creditors usually lasts about 5-10 minutes.
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.
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