Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Ohio: 3 Things You Need to Know

If you're facing a challenging financial situation, adequate resources are crucial to getting back on track. Especially when dealing with debt, it's essential to understand Chapter 7 bankruptcy and its alternatives. Therefore, if you live in the state of Ohio, here are a few details you should be aware of:
Information in this article does not constitute legal advice, it is for informational purposes only, and may not constitute the most up-to-date information. Readers should contact their attorney for advice on any particular legal matter.

Whether you're researching or at a point where you are considering filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Ohio, let's talk about 3 things you need to know: 

  1. How much might a Chapter 7 bankruptcy cost, and are you eligible for it?
  2. Are there any alternatives that may suit my situation better?
  3. What are the specifics of filing a bankruptcy in Ohio that I should be aware of?

We'll answer all these questions and more below. However, if you'd like to get straight to the point, use our Ohio Chapter 7 Calculator. This calculator will help estimate your eligibility and the cost you might pay.

1) How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works in Ohio

How Fast Do You Get Relief in A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Ohio

It usually takes around 120 days to wrap up a no-asset Chapter 7 case in the state from start to finish. A "no-asset" bankruptcy means that you don't own any fancy houses or other valuable assets that might exceed the Ohio bankruptcy exemptions. So, if you're in a situation where you don't have an excess of assets, you could be looking at a relatively speedy resolution to your bankruptcy case.

How Much Does It Cost To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Ohio

The cost of Chapter 7 bankruptcy largely depends on location, your lawyer's expertise, and your situation. On a nationwide scale, Chapter 7 bankruptcies usually cost between $500 and $3,000.

In Ohio, however, the price fluctuates from one city to another. For example, you might pay around $900 in Delaware but up to $1,500 in Cincinnati.

That said, filing fee waivers are also something to keep in mind. They will help reduce the cost of filing if you meet the requirements. More information can be found here: Ohio filing fee waiver.

How Do I Qualify For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Ohio?

When reviewing whether you qualify for Chapter 7, you may want to check the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Ohio Income Limits. This test determines if you're eligible for a bankruptcy discharge (another way of saying your debts will be forgiven). If you pass the means test (you can estimate it below), Chapter 7 will cover most of your unsecured debts. Unsecured debts don't have any collateral, such as medical bills, personal loans, certain old income tax debts, old utility bills, credit card debts, and most personal judgments.

What about secured debts in Chapter 7?

If you want to wipe out secured debts such as car loans and mortgages, Chapter 7 bankruptcy might still be the answer. But the catch is that you'll have to give up the asset to the creditor, and the creditor will consider it as full payment for what you owe.

IMPORTANT: Chapter 7 Qualification via Ohio Means Test

A tool to help you determine your eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Ohio is the Bankruptcy Means Test. This form will help calculate your average annual income based on your last six months of gross income. It will then compare that number to the median income of other households in Ohio. If your median income turns out to be below the Ohio median income, you might qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge.

Feel free to use the calculator below:

My Income Exceeded The Chapter 7 Means Test Allowable in Ohio

If your income is higher than the median income in your state, you might need to dive into part 2 of the means test or explore an alternative option. We encourage you to check out this helpful resource: passing the Chapter 7 means test when income exceeds the median.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Ohio Income Limits

If you're filing for bankruptcy in Ohio on or after November 1, 2023, here are the limitations for income based on household size:

DistrictNamePhone
NorthernLisa M. Barbacci(330) 722-4488
NorthernRobert D. Barr(216) 744-2739
NorthernBrian Alan Bash(216) 621-0200
NorthernRichard A. Baumgart(216) 696-6000
NorthernPatti M. Baumgartner-Novak(419) 724-2480
NorthernKathryn A. Belfance(330) 535-0505
NorthernVirgil E. Brown, Jr.(216) 851-3304
NorthernMichael Douglas Buzulencia(330) 392-8551
NorthernKari Balog Coniglio(216) 479-6167
NorthernHarold Allen Corzin(330) 670-0770
NorthernAnthony J. DeGirolamo(330) 305-9700
NorthernDouglas A. Dymarkowski(419) 882-4999
NorthernBruce Comly French(419) 222-9134
NorthernMarc Preston Gertz(330) 255-0727
NorthernJosiah Locke Mason(419) 289-1600
NorthernEricka S. Parker(419) 243-0900
NorthernMary A. Rabin(216) 771-8084
NorthernAnne C. Silagy(330) 456-0900
NorthernDavid O. Simon(216) 621-6201
NorthernSheldon Stein(216) 696-7449
NorthernAndrew Walter Suhar(330) 744-9007
NorthernWilliam L. Swope(419) 422-0288
NorthernAlan Jay Treinish(216) 566-7022
NorthernWaldemar J. Wojcik(216) 241-2628
NorthernRichard Glenn Zellers(330) 702-0780
SouthernE. Hanlin Bavely(513) 621-6221
SouthernAmy L. Bostic(614) 229-4433
SouthernChristal L. Caudill(614) 389-4940
SouthernJames A. Coutinho(614) 221-8500
SouthernEileen K. Field(513) 684-9000
SouthernPatricia J. Friesinger(937) 449-5776
SouthernEric W. Goering(513) 621-0912
SouthernMark Alan Greenberger(513) 721-5151
SouthernClyde C. Hardesty, III(740) 344-8375
SouthernDonald F. Harker, III(937) 371-5676
SouthernHarold Jarnicki(513) 932-5792
SouthernDavid Willard Kuhn(740) 354-1454
SouthernGeorge P. Leicht(513) 734-4848
SouthernWilliam Boyd Logan, Jr.(614) 229-4449
SouthernFrederick Morris Luper(614) 229-4409
SouthernLarry J. McClatchey(614) 462-5463
SouthernHenry Edward Menninger, Jr.(513) 852-6033
SouthernDavid L. Mikel(937) 339-7181
SouthernRichard D. Nelson(513) 333-5255
SouthernElliott Polaniecki(513) 793-5999
SouthernErin Renneker(513) 932-5792
SouthernSusan L. Rhiel(614) 269-7348
SouthernNorman L. Slutsky(513) 793-5560
SouthernPaul H. Spaeth(937) 223-1655
SouthernDennis E. Stegner(937) 322-2161
SouthernBrent A. Stubbins(740) 452-8484
SouthernMyron N. Terlecky(614) 228-6345
SouthernDavid M. Whittaker(614) 340-7431

Will I lose my belongings if I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Understand Ohio bankruptcy exemptions.

Bankruptcy exemptions help protect assets that are prone to possession by creditors in a bankruptcy. Therefore, it's essential to understand the limitations of your specific state. Ohio's home equity exemption is $161,375, regardless of age or marital status.

As for motor vehicle equity, the exemption in Ohio is $4,450. This includes any trucks, cars, motorcycles, etc.

The last two significant exemptions are the personal item and wage exemptions. They allow you to shield up to $14,875 in personal belongings and 75% of the household head's income.

One last thing to consider is that Ohio does not allow federal bankruptcy exemptions. Therefore, you will only be able to leverage the exemptions mentioned above.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Ohio Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The speed at which you can receive a discharge: In just about 120 days, you could be debt-free and on your way to building a fresh start.
  • Property exemptions: If you meet the threshold for exemptions, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow you to keep a good percentage of your personal property.
  • Stopping debt collection lawsuits: Once you file, the court will issue an automatic stay, preventing legal action against you, including calls and letters from collectors.
  • Loan deficiency: When you owe more on a loan than the collateral is worth, you may be stuck with a deficiency. But with bankruptcy, that burden could be lifted.

Cons

  • Income requirements for qualification: To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must meet specific income requirements.
  • Potential loss of home and belongings: If your assets exceed the exemption limit, there is a chance that you may have to part ways with some of your property.
  • Negative impact on credit report: Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can have a lasting effect on your credit report. It stays on record for a decade, making securing future loans or favorable interest rates challenging.
  • Non-dischargeable debt: It's important to note that not all debts may be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Specific obligations, such as student loans and child support payments, are typically not eligible for discharge.

2) Alternatives to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Ohio

a) Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Ohio

If you earn more than the income limit for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there's still a way to get some debt relief through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Ohio allows you to restructure your debts into a more manageable monthly plan. This restructuring can help you keep your home and vehicles, help stop foreclosure, and prevent repossession of your belongings. Furthermore, you might be able to reduce any unpaid child support, alimony, and car loan payments.

Can you afford Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

If you are considering a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can use this calculator to help estimate whether you can manage the monthly payment.

b) Debt Settlement/Relief

Debt settlement may also be another option aside from Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once you pursue this option, the debt settlement company negotiates a lower amount on your total debt, saving you money in the long run. However, consider its impact on your credit score and research correctly to choose a well-reputable and transparent debt settlement company.

c) Debt Management

Another option is debt management. Whereas debt settlement companies work to lower the total amount of debt you owe, debt management companies work to lower your interest rates. These programs usually last 3 to 5 years and are pricier than debt settlement. Not all creditors may be willing to work with a debt management company.

However, if you're dealing with a bunch of high-interest credit card debt, this option may reduce that interest by around 10-20%. This could translate to an eventual 30-50% savings on the debt you currently owe and allow you to pay off these debts more efficiently. Considering your situation and determining which option makes the most sense financially is essential.

d) Debt Payoff Planning

The last alternative we'll mention is debt payoff planning. This strategy does take some effort and will require you to cut your expenses and save excess income to pay down as much debt as possible. However, you can make tangible progress every month by choosing the appropriate debt payoff plan. Another thing to remember is that as you begin to pay off your debts, you will be able to compound those payments towards the remaining debts, allowing you to pay things off faster and faster.

Conclusion

Hopefully, after reading this article, you feel more confident about Chapter 7 bankruptcy and possible alternatives. As previously mentioned, feel free to use our calculator to help estimate your eligibility and possible filing fee.

On another note, we also have an article about the process of actually filing for bankruptcy. If you'd like to learn more, click this link for a complete rundown of what you can expect.

Lastly, you can also try to file bankruptcy without a lawyer. This may help save filing fees and time if you understand the process and are willing to dedicate the effort. If this seems like something you'd be interested in, we highly recommend this article: filing bankruptcy without an attorney.

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