Bankruptcy is a legal process allowing an individual or business to have some or all of their debt discharged. It is almost always considered as a last resort because it can have some negative long-term consequences which must be considered, even if you ultimately decide that they are outweighed by the benefits. Bankruptcy is governed by federal law and handled in federal courts, so the procedural and substantive rules involved in Ohio are often the same as anywhere else in the U.S. However, individual bankruptcy courts have slightly different rules for items such as exemptions, so it would be a good idea to consult with a local Stark County, Ohio bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Stark County, Ohio
There are 2 common forms of consumer bankruptcy in Stark County, Ohio: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 liquidates some of the debtor's assets. It requires a certain percentage of the debtor's assets to be sold off to pay as much of his or her debt as possible. However, many types of property that most people own are exempt, meaning that they don't need to be sold. This often includes houses, vehicles, insurance policies, and essential personal items, like clothing. These assets are not available to creditors.
Once the non-exempt property is sold, the rest of the dischargeable debt is absolved. Some types of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in Stark County, Ohio is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Stark County, Ohio
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Stark County, Ohio is markedly different. It may or may not be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your particular case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not eliminate debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with a new repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original agreements that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, usually involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Stark County, Ohio
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends heavily on the facts of each individual case. If you have a steady stream of income (enough to make a payment plan manageable), and a large amount of non-exempt property that you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be best for you. If you don't have a steady income or large amounts of non-exempt property, you may be better off filing for Chapter 7.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy attorney in Stark County, Ohio. Your attorney can make an educated judgment as to what your best option is, and advise you accordingly (of course, the choice to file for bankruptcy is ultimately yours).