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Tough Times in the Buckeye State
With over 9% unemployment and some of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation, some in the legal trade expect to see bankruptcy filings continue to rise through 2010 in hard-hit Ohio. Bankruptcies filed in 2008 hit record levels with over 58,000 in Ohio alone, and over 98% of those filed by consumers. It is estimated that 1.4 million consumer bankruptcies will be filed in the U.S. in 2009, the surge triggered by the foreclosure crisis and economic downturn. Debt relief agency assistance in the state is stretched beyond being able to adequately assist all debtors in desperate need of counseling and relief.
The Federal Bankruptcy Law involves processes, procedures and evaluations which can be complex and confusing, including major revisions made in 2005. Seek the advice of an Ohio law firm with specific long-term experience in Ohio bankruptcy matters. Check references, if possible. A competent Ohio attorney will help you weigh your different options, make informed decisions, help you protect the security of your family and reduce your stress, while facing the realities of the situation.
The Most Common Consumer Bankruptcy Choice in Ohio
Chapter 7 is the “fresh start” chapter of the Bankruptcy Code and most commonly used. This filing results in a fair distribution of your available nonexempt property to creditors. Unsecured debts are generally discharged. Included in this process is a “means test”, used to determine your ability to pay your creditors, verifying whether Chapter 7 is appropriate or indicating that you should be filing Chapter 13. Median Family Income by Family Size and current poverty guidelines are factors evaluated when determining appropriate filing status for a given situation.
Because of bankruptcy filing abuses, the law was changed in 2005 to include the following:
Bankruptcy Alternatives in Ohio
Contact your creditors to try to work out payment arrangements that you can manage. Contact the non-profit Consumer Credit Counseling service to get help with a manageable repayment plan. Sell as many assets as you can and pay down your debt to a manageable level. Debt consolidation may be considered, but approach this option with caution to make sure it actually helps your situation.
Final Words on Ohio Bankruptcy
Ohio residents continue to suffer, as the State’s economy struggles to recover. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Ohio, decisions you make and actions you take now can have a positive or negative effect on the outcome of your bankruptcy proceedings. Although some filers elect to handle their bankruptcy on their own, The U.S. Bankruptcy Court cautions that“Bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences -- hiring a competent attorney is strongly recommended."Click here to find Ohio attorney resources in your area.