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Our 45 years of combined experience will help you find debt relief through Chapter 13, Chapter 11 and 12, and Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
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We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
Welcome to Miller Luring Venters Wesner Law firm. The decision to learn about options regarding your debt is the first step down the path to debt relief.
Federal bankruptcy laws were designed to give people a fresh start, and give debt-burdened consumers an organized and systematic way of paying back creditors. If you are overcome with crushing debt that prevents you from repaying money you owe, filing for bankruptcy could be a viable option. Alternatively, if you can pay back debt, but your wages are being garnished or creditors are threatening to reposes property or foreclose on your home, filing for bankruptcy can give you the time you need to successfully navigate your debt.
The two most common types of bankruptcy filed are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Both are described below. These descriptions will provide you with information about the general purpose of both types of bankruptcies and will let you know if you are eligible to file. As with all legal matters, you should consult an attorney before making any final decisions.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Who can File?
A Chapter 7 Bankrutpcy can be filed by individuals, partnerships, corporations, and many other types of business entities.
If a debtor’s household earns less than Ohio’s median annual income, the Court presumes that individuals qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If however the debtor’s household earns more than the median annual income, the Means Test is administered to determine if they can pay back a portion of their debt. If it is determined that the debtor can pay back some of their debt then the Court will convert the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy into a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy or dismiss the Chapter 7 filing. The 2016, threshold incomes for various household sizes are listed below.
If a debtor earns less than the monthly income stated for household size, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is an option. If a debtor earns more than the monthly income state for household size, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is only an option if the debtor passes the Means Test.
House Hold Size Monthly Income 6 Mo. Total Annual Income
1 $3,737 $22,425 $44,849
2 $4,648 $27,886 $55,771
3 $5,353 $32,121 $64,241
4 $6,582 $39,492 $78,983
5 $7,282 $43,692 $87,383
6 $7,982 $47,892 $95,783
7 $8,682 $52,092 $104,183
8 $9,382 $56,292 $112,583
9 $10,082 $60,492 $120,983
10 $10,782 $64,692 $129,383
The Means Test is administered by filling out Form 22A-2. This form requires the debtor to answer detailed questions about their household expense. For example the Court asks about food, clothing and transportation costs. Additionally, the Court allows deductions for tax liabilities, child care costs, and Court Ordered payments such as child support. More information on the Means Test can be found on the United States Courts government page located at http://www.uscourts.gov/. We have also provided a link to Form 22A-2 http://www.uscourts.gov/file/19456/download here for you to take a look at yourself.
If the Chapter 7 debtor cannot pass the Means Test, the filing will be dismissed or with permission from the debtor, the court will convert the bankruptcy into a Chapter 13. We will discuss Chapter 13 bankruptcy in greater detail further along in our analysis.
Common Ohio Exemptions
Exemptions are laws used by the debtor to protect specific property from creditors. Ohio requires the debtor to use its list of allowable exemptions. Below are some of Ohio’s commonly used exemptions.
This exemption allows the debtor to exempt up to $132,000 of value in one parcel of real or personal property that is owned by the debtor and used by the debtor or their dependants as a residence. This exemption applies to homes, manufactured homes, and mobile homes. Ohio Revised Code section 2329.66(A)(1)(a).
Retirement and Pension Exemptions
Both IRAS and Roth IRA’s can be exempted up to $1,283,025. Ohio Revised Code section 2329.66(A)(10)(c)
State teacher retirement packages are exempted. Ohio Revised Code section 3307.41
Disability assistance payments received by the debtor are exempted. Ohio Revised Code sections 329.66(A)(9)(f); 5115.07
Private pensions are exempted. Ohio Revised Code section - 2329.66(A)(10)(b)
Tax exempt retirement accounts such as a 401(k), or other profit sharing plans are also exempted. 11 U.S.C. § 522
Debtor’s who own a motor vehicle may exempt up to $3,675 in the value of one motor vehicle. The value is dependant on the appraisal value of the vehicle. So while the court will not allow the debtor to keep a $30,000 luxuary car, debtors will be able to keep a vehicle so that they can continue to work and carry on with their daily lives. Ohio Revised Code section 2329.66(A)(2).
Debtors are allowed to keep $450 cash on hand or in a bank account. Ohio Revised Code section 239.66(A)(3).
Home furnishing and household goods can be exempted up to a value of $12,250, each individual item up to $575 can be exempted. Ohio Revised Code section 2329.
Jewelry owned by the debtor up to $1,550 of value is exempted. Ohio Revised Code section 2329.66(A)(4)(b).
Wages and Miscellaneous Benefits
Seventy-five percent (75%) of wages earned after filing for bankruptcy are exempted and cannnot be reached by creditors. Ohio Revised Code section 2329.66(A)(13)(b).
The earned income tax credit and child tax credit are exempted. Ohio Revised Code section 2329.66 (A)(9)(g).
Workers and owners of businesses, are allowed to exempt $2,325 worth of the tools of their particular trade. This exemption includes books, tools, and other implements involved in the debtors occupation, trade or business.
Unemployment benefits recieved by the debtor are exempted. Ohio Revised Code section 2329.66 (A)(9)(c).
Domestic Support Obligations
To the extent that spousal and child support payments are reasonably necessary to support theses groups, payments received under this code section are exempted. Ohio Revised Code section 2329.66(A)(10)(b).
The public policy behind Federal Bankruptcy laws is to provide debtors with a fresh financial start. The Supreme Court made this point about the purpose of the bankruptcy law in a 1934 decision: [I]t gives to the honest but unfortunate debtor…a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort, unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of preexisting debt.
Local Loan Co. v. Hunt, 292 U.S. 234, 244 (1934).
In most Chapter 7 cases, the debtor has large credit card debt and other unsecured bills and very few assets. In the vast majority of cases a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is able to completely eliminate all of these debts.
Unsecured debt is any debt that is not tied to an asset, like a home or automobile. This most commonly means credit card debt, but can also refer to items like personal loans and medical debt. Unsecured debt typically creates less stress and fewer problems for consumers than secured debt because they don’t stand to lose an asset if they don’t repay the debt.
Other examples of unsecured debt are: Personal Loans, Business Loans, Private Student Loans, Medical Debt, Telephone and Utility Bills, and Apartment Lease Debts.
One common misconception about Bankruptcy is that all debt is dischargeable. In other words, people think that any debt that they may have can be wiped away clean, simply by filing for bankruptcy. This is not the case. Below is a list of some debt that is nondischargeable through bankruptcy. All nondischargable debt can be found in the Bankruptcy Code section 11 U.S. Code § 523 - Exceptions to discharge.
When a person deliberately lies to another in order to obtain money, property, or services, the debt acquired by the debtor is nondischargeable through Bankruptcy. 11 U.S. Code § 523 (a)(2).
Domestic Support Obligations
If a court of law has issued an order to an individual to pay domestic support obligations, such as child support, or spousal support, the obligations will not be discharged through bankruptcy.
Personal Injury and Death
If a debtor has been found liable for causing personal injury or death to another caused by driving while intoxicated, and a Court has issued an award of money damages to the injured or deceased person, these debts are not dischargeable.
Fines and Criminal Restitution
Fines owed to the government are not dischargeable. Additionally, if a Debtor engaged in criminal behavior and owes money to his or her victim, this criminal restitution is also nondischargeable.
Student loans obtained from public institutions, such as Sallie Mae are not discharagble unless it would cause an undue hardship for the debtor to repay. The “undue hardship” test is a difficult test to overcome, the analysis a Bankruptcy Judge uses has been articulated in the case of Brunner v. New York Higher Education Services Corp., 831 F. 2d 395 (1987).
Recent income tax debts (within 3 years of filing) and all other tax debt are nondischarable.
Debts Not Listed
When a Debtor files for Bankruptcy, they are asked to list every debt so that notice of the bankruptcy can be given to their creditors. Therefore, if a debtor forgets to list all of their in their paper work, all unlisted debt is nondischarable unless the creditor learns of the bankruptcy case.
Possible Nondischarable Debt
Spending Spree Debt
Credit purchases of $1,150 or more for luxury goods or services made within 60 days of filing may be deemed nondischarble if challenged by creditors.
Loans and Cash Advances
Loans or cash advances of $1,150 or more taken within 60 days of filing may be deemed nondischarble if challenged by creditors.
Divorce Decrees and Settlements
Debts you owe under a divorce decree or settlement unless after bankruptcy you would still not be able to afford to pay them or the benefit you’d receive by the discharge outweighs any detriment to your ex-spouse (who would have to pay them if you discharge them in bankruptcy).