Explaining Secured and Unsecured Debt

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A secured debt is a debt that is secured by some form of collateral: a car, house or other piece of personal property. An unsecured debt is a debt for which there is no collateral: no physical property for the lender to repossess in the event of non-payment. Common forms of unsecured debt include credit card debt and medical bills.

When filing for bankruptcy, your secured debts may be handled differently than your unsecured debts. If you have a secured debt and you wish to keep the property that is attached as collateral, you will typically have to keep paying that creditor. For example, if you want to keep your car and you have an outstanding loan on it, you will most likely have to keep paying the loan in order to keep the car.

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The Bankruptcy Means Test: Are You Eligible for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

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In order to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must meet the eligibility requirements. Eligibility is determined by the administration of a "means test."

The "means test" compares your family size and income over the last six months to the median income of a similarly sized family in your state. If you earn less than the median income, you are generally eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, if you earn more than the median income and you have a certain amount of disposable income per month with which to pay your debts, you cannot file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
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Bankruptcy and Wage Garnishments in Ohio

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When you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, an "automatic stay" immediately goes into effect that requires your creditors to cease all collection activities until your bankruptcy case has been decided. This automatic stay applies to wage garnishments as well as harassing telephone calls, utility disconnections, repossessions and foreclosures.

The automatic stay is only temporary and does not apply to all types of debt. It is meant to give you the time and breathing room necessary to get your finances together during your bankruptcy proceeding. If the debt is later discharged through bankruptcy, the wage garnishment will be permanently terminated, as you will no longer be liable for that debt.

Wage garnishments that are in place for support payments (i.e. child support), are typically exempt from the "automatic stay" provision, as they cannot be discharged under bankruptcy law.

For more information, contact Ohio bankruptcy attorney Kathleen Mezher now.


What Is A Reaffirmation Agreement?

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A reaffirmation agreement is a renewed agreement between a debtor and a creditor. When you file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you are obtaining a discharge of your debt by liquidating your non-exempt assets and using the money to pay off your creditors. A reaffirmation agreement can be used to ensure you are allowed to keep a particular asset by reaffirming the debt and your personal liability to pay the debt according to the terms of your contract.
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How Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Really Work?

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A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a structured repayment plan. It is often a good choice for those with a steady income stream, because it is designed to help you pay off your debts over a three to five year period without losing your house or your possessions.

If you file for Chapter 13 and your plan is accepted, you will make payments to a trustee who will distribute those payments to your creditors. Any collection efforts will be “automatically stayed” and your creditors will not be allowed to contact you directly during this time.

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Five Reasons to File Chapter 7

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To Stop Harassing Phone Calls and Other Collection Actions.

When you file a petition for bankruptcy, you are granted an "automatic stay" from collection actions including: harassing phone calls, wage garnishments, repossession, utility disconnections and collection notices. While this "stay" is not necessarily permanent, it can offer you a much-needed reprieve, and may grant you enough time to get some of your finances in order.

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How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Really Work?

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A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is often referred to as a "fresh start," but what does that mean for you, your family, and your financial future?

Chapter 7 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code was designed to help individuals facing a financial crisis get rid of as much debt as possible, as quickly as possible in order to get back on their feet with a chance to start fresh. Under a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, there is no maximum limit on how much debt a person may have. However, not all debts are eligible for discharge (e.g., taxes, student loans, and child support obligations).

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