How to File for Bankruptcy in Ohio
The process of filing for bankruptcy in Ohio mirrors the process of seeking bankruptcy protection in all other states. Anyone who is thinking about filing in the state of Ohio should become familiar with both federal laws and local rules. The most essential piece of information to know is that it will be necessary to figure out which form of bankruptcy protection is appropriate for your case. This will either be Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy for most filers. Fishermen and farmers have the option to file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. There is also a special category called Chapter 11 bankruptcy for cases that involve high amounts of debt or business debt.
All filers will be required to submit a means test to the court early on in the process of filing for bankruptcy. This test takes into account factors like income, liabilities, assets and expenses to determine which form of bankruptcy a debtor is eligible to file under. Debtors who are unable to pay back debts will be eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Debtors who have reasonable means to pay back debts over time using a structured payment plan will be eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. An automatic stay will be granted as soon as a petition is formally filed with the court. The automatic stay prevents creditors from attempting to contact a debtor or collect any debts.
The Basics of Filing for Bankruptcy in Ohio
Ohio’s court system is divided between the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio has locations in Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Toledo and Youngstown. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio has locations in Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton. Forms needed to begin the process of filing in the state of Ohio can be found here. The cost to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Ohio is $335. The cost to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Ohio is $310. The full list of fees that can be expected when filing for all other forms of bankruptcy can be found here.
The Steps to Filing for Bankruptcy in Ohio
Filing a petition with the court is the first step to filing for bankruptcy in Ohio. It is wise to do this with the help of an attorney. The extensive paperwork and specific deadlines involved with filing for bankruptcy of any type in the state of Ohio make it necessary for most people to seek legal guidance. Inaccuracies or improper filing could result in delays, extra fees or a case being thrown out of court. It is also necessary to answer all questions as honestly and accurately as possible. Any attempts to provide false information or conceal assets could result in harsh penalties. Debtors are required to complete a credit counseling course with an approved agency in the state of Ohio in the six months leading up to filing a bankruptcy petition with the court. The list of approved course providers can be found here.
In addition, debtors must also complete a debtor education course after filing. The list of approved course providers for this obligation can be found here. Debtors will also be required to attend a meeting of creditors prior to having debts discharged or folded into a payment plan. The court will inform the filer regarding where and when to attend this meeting. This meeting usually serves as a formality. However, creditors may use it as an opportunity to try to obtain any nonexempt assets owned by the debtor or dispute the terms of a payment plan.