How to File Bankruptcy
Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution authorizes Congress to establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcy throughout the United States. While every person has the right to file bankruptcy, the actual process of filing bankruptcy is far more complicated than some people think.
Filing bankruptcy in Ohio or Kentucky is not a simple matter that is resolved in a single courthouse visit. Debtors need to take the time to review all of their options, undergo credit counseling, and file all of the proper paperwork before very strict deadlines.
Attorney in Cincinnati, OH Discusses How to File Bankruptcy
If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Kentucky or Ohio, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel. Steiden Law Offices has offices in Maineville, Cincinnati, and West Chester in Ohio as well as Kentucky locations in Covington and Florence.
Our experienced Cincinnati bankruptcy attorneys have handled thousands of successful bankruptcy filings. Let our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of How to File Bankruptcy in Northern Kentucky
- What do you need to do when filing for bankruptcy?
- How do I know whether to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?
- Where can I learn more about how to file bankruptcy in Cincinnati?
Most Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases involve a debtor going through the following steps:
- Collect Information — Before filing for bankruptcy, a debtor will need to gather several different kinds of important documentation. Some of the types of paperwork typically required includes tax returns and Form W-2s for the prior two years, recent pay stubs, real estate paperwork (deeds, mortgage statements, etc.), retirement account information, vehicle loan or title, and photo identification.
- Begin Credit Counseling — The enactment of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) created a requirement that in order for a person to be legally considered a debtor, he or she must receive "an individual or group briefing (including a briefing conducted by telephone or on the Internet) that outlined the opportunities for available credit counseling and assisted such individual in performing a related budget analysis" from an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency within 180 days of his or her bankruptcy filing.
- Complete Paperwork — In addition to listing all of a debtor's assets, expenses, and debts, he or she will also need to submit a proposed repayment plan if filing for Chapter 13. Additional forms may be required, depending on the particulars of a debtor's case, and these types of paperwork often need to be filed before specific deadlines. Debtors hoping to file Chapter 7 may also be required to fill out various forms relating to the bankruptcy means test.
- File Petition — Unless a debtor receives a fee waiver, he or she will need to pay a filing fee when filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petition. As of December 1, 2016, the fees are $335 for a new Chapter 7 petition and $310 for a new Chapter 13 petition.
- Meeting of the Creditors — Despite its name, creditors rarely appear at so-called 341 hearings (so named because such hearing are required by section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code). Instead, a debtor meets with the trustee handling the case and answers questions regarding his or her current debts. The meeting generally lasts no more than ten minutes.
After completing all of these steps, a debtor must complete his or her credit counseling. It is important to note that debtors must fully and thoroughly complete all the steps in a bankruptcy filing before his or her debts will be discharged. Debtors in Chapter 13 cases must make all of their payments over the course of three to five years in order to receive their discharges.
Most people who file for bankruptcy in Ohio and Kentucky either file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is considered the liquidation bankruptcy, while debtors in Chapter 13 enter repayment plans.
Chapter 7 is generally the preferred option, federal law requires debtors to submit to a means test to determine whether they are eligible to file for Chapter 7. People with incomes that exceed the state median may be forced to file for Chapter 13 instead.
An individual will most likely choose the type of bankruptcy based on his or her income and the types of debt he or she is seeking to discharge. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, for example, is most beneficial to debtors who have mostly unsecured debts, who do not have many assets that are likely to be repossessed, or who do not have reliable income to pay back debts through a repayment plan.
If a debtor is hoping to save his or her home, motor vehicle, or other assets, or the debtor has a large number of secured debts not likely to be discharged, then Chapter 13 may be more beneficial. A knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer can examine the specific circumstances of your case and identify the best possible path forward.
Southern District of Ohio | United States Bankruptcy Court — The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio has offices in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton. The Cincinnati office serves Hamilton County and seven other surrounding counties. Visit this website to find rules and forms, case information, and general information.
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio
221 E. Fourth St.
Atrium Two Suite 800
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Eastern District of Kentucky | United States Bankruptcy Court — The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky has its main office in Lexington with unmanned offices in Ashland, Covington, London, and Pikeville. On this website, you can access hearing information, view available services, and learn more about trustees. You can also learn more about local and federal requirements.
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
35 West 5th St. #306
Covington, KY 41011
Steiden Law Offices | Cincinnati Bankruptcy Lawyer
Are you planning on filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Ohio or Kentucky? Do not try to do it alone. Contact Steiden Law Offices today.
Our Cincinnati bankruptcy attorneys assist individuals in communities all over Kenton County and Boone County in Kentucky as well as Hamilton County in Ohio. Call or submit an online contact form to have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.