Frequently Asked Questions

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves debt reorganization for individuals. Chapter 13 filings allow an individual to propose a plan to repay creditors over three to five years. In most cases, you will be able to pay unsecured creditors (e.g., credit cards, medical debt, personal loans, etc.) only a fraction of what is owed.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidation and is sometimes called “straight” bankruptcy. For most people, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is a fairly simple and quick proceeding. In most cases, it takes less than five months after filing for an individual to receive a discharge of debts.

Who can file bankruptcy?

Almost anyone can file a bankruptcy case. Sometimes a person may not qualify for a certain bankruptcy (e.g., Chapter 7), but they may still qualify for another (e.g., Chapter 13). The Jones Law Firm can help you determine which chapter, if any, you qualify for.

Can I file bankruptcy with my spouse?

Yes. If you are married, you may file a joint bankruptcy case with your spouse. You also have the option of filing alone without your spouse. There are certain unique considerations involved with filing a joint bankruptcy case, and The Jones Law Firm can make sure you are fully informed about all of your options.

How long does a bankruptcy case last?

This depends on the kind of bankruptcy you file. Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases usually last only a few months. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can last up to five years. When you file bankruptcy, The Jones Law Firm will let you know how long you can expect your case to last.

How does bankruptcy impact life in Ohio?

When done correctly, bankruptcy should minimally impact life in Ohio. It is important to remember that you filed bankruptcy for a reason and while there may be steps you need to take, the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term inconveniences.

Can I file bankruptcy if I have previously filed a bankruptcy?

Yes, you can file for bankruptcy if you have previously filed. However, there are some limitations. If you file for Chapter 7, you will need to wait eight years to file another Chapter 7 or four years to file a Chapter 13. If you file Chapter 13, you will need to wait six years to file a Chapter 7 or two years to file another Chapter 13. Keep in mind that you always have the option of filing Chapter 13 — you just may not be eligible for a discharge if you have filed a previous case. If you have filed a previous bankruptcy case, The Jones Law Firm can tell you exactly how long you will need to wait to file again and what options may be available in the meantime.

Will I lose my assets if I file bankruptcy?

Usually, no. When you file Chapter 7, the trustee may take possession of and sell any non-exempt assets. The good news is that the State of Ohio and the federal government provide generous exemptions that usually fully protect assets such as your house, your car, your household goods, and your retirement accounts. The Jones Law Firm will fully analyze your situation and determine if you may have any non-exempt assets. If you do have non-exempt assets, you may have the option of filing Chapter 13 and protecting those assets.

Can I keep my house or car if I am behind on the payments?

Yes. You could file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and catch up on all of the delinquent payments over three to five years. However, in some cases, repossession may occur if you do not file for bankruptcy in a timely manner.

Can I file bankruptcy without an attorney?

Yes. However, the Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Procedures are very complex and there are numerous pitfalls a person could encounter. It is very difficult and extremely rare for a person to successfully file and prosecute a bankruptcy case without the help of an experienced attorney. There are numerous mistakes that can occur that simply cannot be fixed once the bankruptcy case is filed. Bankruptcy attorney Michael Ryan Jones and The Jones Law Firm have extensive experience representing individuals in bankruptcy. Let us help you, and we will guide you every step of the way.

Will I have to appear before a judge?

In most cases, the only time you go to court is to attend your meeting of creditors. This meeting is conducted by your trustee (not a judge) and usually lasts less than 15 minutes. Sometimes, it is necessary for a Chapter 13 debtor to appear at a court hearing. While this is relatively rare, it is not something to be nervous about. Bankruptcy attorney Michael Ryan Jones and The Jones Law Firm have extensive experience in bankruptcy court and will zealously advocate on your behalf. We will make sure you completely understand what is happening in your case and what each proceeding will involve.

Will filing bankruptcy permanently ruin my credit?

While a bankruptcy filing will appear on your credit report for up to 10 years, you can immediately start rebuilding your credit after you receive your discharge. The more time that passes, the less important the bankruptcy filing is on your credit report. Plus, every month you have a late payment or other negative credit activity, it is reflected on your credit report. When you receive your bankruptcy discharge, most of that negative credit reporting ends immediately. Think of it like ripping off a Band-Aid — you will be well on your way to rebuilding your credit!

What is the Automatic Stay?

The automatic stay is the United States bankruptcy provision which temporarily prevents creditors, government entities, and collection agencies from pursuing debtors for the finances owed. This includes wage garnishment, foreclosure, repossession, eviction, and utility disconnection.

Will I lose my job if I file bankruptcy?

The federal Bankruptcy Code prohibits employers from negatively discriminating against an employee based solely on the fact that the employee filed bankruptcy, including firing or demoting an employee. If you feel an employer has discriminated against you because you filed bankruptcy, call us immediately.

Are bankruptcy filings public records?

Bankruptcy is considered a public record in Ohio. However, to access someone’s bankruptcy case, there are steps that need to be taken within your courthouse to find it out. But this fear should not stop you from filing bankruptcy as discrimination for filing for bankruptcy is illegal in Ohio.

What does bankruptcy not fix?

While bankruptcy can do a lot of things, there are some aspects of your financial life it cannot remedy. Bankruptcy cannot:
  • Eliminate debts related to fraud.
  • Eliminate nondischargeable debts.
  • Discharge some taxes.
  • Discharge support payments.
  • Discharge liens.

How much does filing bankruptcy cost?

The Jones Law Firm offers very competitive rates. Please read about bankruptcy Costs and Fees or contact The Jones Law Firm for a free consultation.

Does The Jones Law Firm offer weekend and evening appointments?

Yes. The Jones Law Firm is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and we offer evening and weekend appointments by request. We also offer evening appointments by request. Contact The Jones Law Firm for your free consultation today. Or call us now at 614-665-1840.