Bankruptcy is a court proceeding which lets a person or business have some or all of their debts discharged. It should usually only be considered as an option of last resort, because it can have significant long-term consequences, even if it can stave off financial disaster. This means that the costs and benefits need to be carefully considered before filing. Since it's a creation of federal law, bankruptcy is handled in federal courts. Therefore, the rules and procedures governing it in Ohio will be the same as everywhere else in the country. Individual courts in Lakewood, Ohio will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Lakewood, Ohio
In Lakewood, Ohio, there are 2 main types of commonly-used consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of part of a debtor's assets. It requires that a certain percentage of the debtor's property to be sold to pay off as much debt as possible. The majority of property that most people own, however, is exempt. This usually includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.
Once eligible assets are sold, and the money turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is discharged. However, there are certain types of debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, and criminal fines. If most of your debt is non-dischargeable, it may not be a good idea to file for bankruptcy in Lakewood, Ohio.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Lakewood, Ohio
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Lakewood, Ohio differs significantly from Chapter 7. It might be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your case. Chapter 13 does not discharge debt, but restructures it instead. Usually, various debts are consolidated into a single monthly payment. This is designed to make the debt more manageable, giving the debtor the chance to pay off the debt over a longer period of time, without all of it coming due at once. This is usually manageable, as long as the debtor can make some sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Lakewood, Ohio
The answer to this question depends strongly on your individual situation. If you have enough stable income to manage a payment plan, and a lot of non-exempt property that you are unwilling to part with, Chapter 13 may be a good option. If you don't have much stable income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be better.
Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Lakewood, Ohio bankruptcy lawyer. Your attorney will be able to advise you of your options and their likely consequences, which will help you make a more educated decision.