Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer in Columbus
Although the federal law changes in late 2005 made it more challenging to obtain Chapter 7 Bankruptcy relief, we possess the experience and knowledge to guide you through the bankruptcy process and inform you of what to expect in an Ohio Personal or Business Bankruptcy case.
How do I apply for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
In order to file for debt relief under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, you must qualify under the Means Test. The Bankruptcy Attorneys at Sheppard Law Offices can explain the Means Test to you, as well as all of your options. If you don’t know where to turn, our bankruptcy attorneys have answered many FAQs about filing with a Chapter 7 attorney in Columbus.
In order to provide you with an explanation of how the means test works, you will need to know how many people make up your household. Next, you will need to calculate your household income by retrieving your last full 6 months worth of gross income. In order to qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection, your annual gross household income must be less than a designated dollar figure calculated using IRS standards. Even in cases where the household income exceeds this threshold amount, we can complete an extended means test to determine whether you can still qualify for such Chapter 7 relief.
What is the Means Test?
In order to provide you with an explanation of how the Means Test works, you will need to know how many people make up your household. Next, you will need to calculate your household income by retrieving statements showing your last full 6 months’ worth of gross income. In order to qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection, your annual gross household income must be less than a designated dollar figure calculated using IRS standards.
Even in cases where the household income exceeds this threshold amount, we can complete an extended means test to determine whether you can still qualify for Chapter 7 relief.
What happens to my possessions in a Columbus Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case?
After you pass the Means Test, the court will analyze and review your assets. This analysis determines whether there is any equity (value) in your possessions. If enough equity is found, a Chapter 7 Trustee may sell these assets or offer you a buy-out option. Typically, real estate and motor vehicles are the categories with the highest values.
Don’t worry. There are protections (also called “exemptions”) in place to protect critical assets. In a joint bankruptcy, the Homestead Exemption can protect up to $290,850 for married debtors, or $145,425 of equity for a single debtor in their primary residence. They can also protect $4,000 of equity in one vehicle.
Given the variety of assets and debts a debtor may have, it is important to analyze the whole picture in order to determine which type of bankruptcy is appropriate for you. The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy lawyers in Columbus at Sheppard Law Offices will review your situation thoroughly and help you decide if a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the right path.
What is Debtor Education?
If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy relief, please note that under the federal bankruptcy laws enacted in late 2005, any debtor filing for bankruptcy protection must complete Debtor Education. In a Chapter 7 case, Debtor Education involves obtaining two certificates.
The first certificate is called the “Pre-Filing Credit Counseling” Certificate. In order to file your Chapter 7 Petition with the bankruptcy court, you must complete and submit this certificate with your petition. The second certificate is called the “Pre-discharge Financial Management” course. You must complete this second certificate after your case has been filed with the court and it must be submitted to the court before your debts are discharged.
Debtor Education can be completed online or via telephone, and each session takes approximately 2 hours to complete. Many companies exist that offer these sessions. At Sheppard Law Offices, we utilize Access Services, which costs $25. Access will then email your certificate of completion directly to Sheppard Law Offices.
Is there a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer near me?
Yes. We Handle Ohio Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Cases at Our 3 Ohio Locations:
Our offices are handicap accessible. We accept various options for payment, and we offer payment plans. However, please note that we cannot accept credit payments from our bankruptcy clients. Contact us today for your free half-hour initial consultation.