Sheppard Law Offices
Columbus, Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney Kenneth L. Sheppard, Jr.
FREE Debt Relief & Bankruptcy Consultation
FREE Debt Relief Consultation Call (614) 523-3106 or (877) 505-9455
Sheppard Law Offices
TALK TO A BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY TODAY (614) 523-3106
Sometimes called “fresh start” or “liquidation”, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge nearly all of a debtor’s unsecured debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is available to those who qualify under the Means Test, as outlined in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In addition to the Means Test, there are several other requirements to qualify for protection under Chapter 7. A thorough analysis and an evaluation of your assets (equity) debts is required, as well as completion of Debtor Education. Many people wonder what will be the cost of bankruptcy. Typical costs range between $1,200 and $1,500 to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This includes filing fees and attorney fees. The time-line for completing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually about four to five months,
The Means Test involves an evaluation of your gross household income for the previous six months, as well as the number of individuals in your household. This information is used to determine if your household income falls within the guidelines set by the Internal Revenue Service. If so, you may proceed with filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In the event the debtor’s income exceeds the means test income threshold amount, the debtor may still qualify to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Protection under what is known as the “extended means test”. In these cases, the means test calculation also takes into consideration certain expenses allowed by data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service. For cases filed on or after November 1, 2012, updated data for use in the means test can be found at The United States Department of Justice.
During evaluation of your assets (equity) and debts, our bankruptcy attorneys can show you whether your assets may be protected from liquidation by the Chapter 7 trustee. Unprotected equity in assets (such as vehicles and real estate) may be subject to sale or buy-out in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Keep in mind, this process allows for exemptions. In Ohio, state law exemptions are utilized to protect equity in assets that are part of the bankruptcy estate. Typically, an individual can claim exemption for a certain amount of a vehicle’s equity. There is also a "tools of the trade" exemption. The Ohio Homestead Exemption which allows for protection of equity in a bankruptcy filers home increased from $21,625 to $132,900 on April 1, 2013. Since every situation is unique, and the guidelines change on a regular basis, it is important to evaluate your individual circumstances with a qualified bankruptcy attorney in order to decide which debt relief option is right for you.
As part of the requirements of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor must complete two courses of Debtor Education, called “Pre-Filing Credit Counseling” and “Pre-Discharge Financial Management”. The first course must be completed in order to file for bankruptcy. The second course must be completed before the court will discharge your debts. Certificates of completion for each course must be submitted to the bankruptcy court as proof of completion. We use Cricket consumer credit counseling services for these courses, which are a total of $35. For convenience, certificates of completion are emailed directly to Attorney Sheppard’s office.
Approximately 30 days after a debtor files either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the debtor must attend and provide testimony at a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. The Meeting of Creditors is administered by a Trustee, who has been appointed by the bankruptcy court. The Trustee asks several questions to the debtor regarding the debtor’s petition, including his or her assets, debts, income and expenses. Creditors are afforded an opportunity to ask the debtor questions as well; however, it is uncommon for creditors to attend the Meeting of Creditors. In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases, the Meeting of Creditors usually lasts about 5-10 minutes.
For those that do not qualify under the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Means Test or the Extended Means Test, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as "reorganization" may be a viable debt relief solution for you.
Sheppard Law Offices
The Columbus, Ohio bankruptcy debt relief and taxation law office of Sheppard Law Offices, LPA is conveniently located just inside I-270 off of Cleveland Ave. Our offices provide a short drive from throughout Central Ohio including counties of Franklin, Delaware, Knox, Marion, Licking, & Fairfield. We regularly serve Debt & Tax needs of clients from Columbus, Westerville, Bexley, Dublin, Sunbury, Delaware, Fredericktown, Johnstown, Centerberg, New Albany, Gahanna, Pickerington, Grandview, Upper Arlington, Clintonville, Groveport, Pickerington, Pataskala, Reynoldsburg, Groveport, Lewis Center, Worthington, Granville, the Short North, Hilliard, Plain City, Grove City, Newark, Mt. Vernon, Canal Winchester, and Lancaster.
Columbus Ohio Office
2600 Tiller Lane, Suite A
Columbus, Ohio 43231
Telephone: (614) 523-3106
Newark, Ohio Office
843 N. 21st Street, Suite 108
Newark, Ohio 43055
Telephone: (740) 345-7138
Belden Village Tower, 200
Canton, Ohio 44718
Telephone: (330) 409-2876
Mt. Vernon, Ohio Office
11 West Gambier Street
Mt. Vernon, Ohio 43050
Telephone: (740) 392-0404
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.