Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy

  1. Are all my debts wiped out by bankruptcy?
  2. Will I lose everything I own?
  3. Will I ever get credit again? Including to buy a house?  
  4. How will this affect my spouse?
  5. Is it difficult to file?
  6. Will I be made to feel like a deadbeat?
  7. Would I be allowed to pay back creditors, even if the debt is discharged?
  8. Are federal taxes dischargeable?
  9. How many times can I file for bankruptcy?
  10. Why don’t people just run their debts up, then file bankruptcy?
  11. My employer, friends, and family will know I filed?
1. Are all my debts wiped out by bankruptcy?

Some debts are wiped out, some are not. Generally, you will be able to wipe out the following types of debt:

  • Credit cards
  • Store cards
  • Medical and dental bills
  • Unsecured personal loans
  • Taxes from certain jurisdictions
  • Most court judgments, including traffic fines


Not discharged: student loans, domestic support obligations (child support alimony), some taxes


2. Will I lose everything I own?

One of the main purposes of bankruptcy is to allow you to get a financial fresh-start, while allowing you to retain certain necessities, such as your home, your car, and other personal items. A trustee will be appointed, who will decide which of your assets are to be sold (for the purpose of paying off your creditors) and which ones you can keep. His decision will be based on Ohio's laws regarding what assets are "exempted." 


Exempted assets would possibly include items such as: your residence, insurance benefits, alimony, child support, your business's property, pension benefits, public benefits, tools of your trade, your wages, and personal items such as your vehicle, furniture, books, musical instruments, appliances, jewelry, and hunting and fishing gear. 


3. Will I ever get credit again? Including to buy my house?

First, there will NEVER be any order forbidding you from acquiring credit after your bankruptcy filing, including a home loan. That is the creditor's decision. In fact, many people get credit and loans for new houses soon after filing. In fact, you may even be in a better credit position after you file. However, your credit report will indicate that you filed a bankruptcy for 7-10 years. Certainly, creditors prefer borrowers who have never filed. However, although the bankruptcy goes on your credit report, you must balance that against what it takes off of it.


Credit reports are built on a formula of multiple factors. A bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 7-10 years. However, typically creditors will still offer you credit. Your bankruptcy will merely be one of many things they will look at. Generally, what they will consider more than anything else is your income and ability to pay. Obviously, you always need to be careful about getting into debt.


Bankruptcy is a responsible decision by people in a particular situation. As your attorney, I will have a duty to advise you--in an honest way--about whether your situation calls for this solution.


4. How will this affect my spouse?

First, the spouses do not have to file together. In fact, one may file a Chapter 7 while the other files a Chapter 13 or maybe not file at all. Generally, the bankruptcy of one spouse does not have to effect the other in any negative way. When spouses do file separately, the assets and liabilities for each spouse will be considered separately by the bankruptcy court. However, when the court determines your eligibility for bankruptcy, they will look at your income. When determining what your income is, the court will look at the household income and expenses – meaning both spouses income and expenses will be counted.


5. Is it difficult to file?

There is a lot of paperwork and possible hearings. However, your attorney should do the vast majority of the work. Generally, if bankruptcy is a good option for you, it will be because it will make your life much easier in the long-run.


6. Will I be made to feel like a deadbeat?
Bankruptcy is the right option for many very responsible people. It is like anything else in life -- if you are honest, then we will work to help you navigate the full extent of your rights and options. Your lawyer, the Court, and the U.S. Trustees will treat you with respect every step of the way.


7. Would I be allowed to pay back creditors, even if the debt is discharged?

Some people want to pay back their creditors even though the Bankruptcy Court has said they do not have to. There is absolutely no reason you cannot do this if you want. The discharge says you don't have to, but you can if you want.


8. Are taxes dischargeable? 

The short answer is maybe. If the income tax debt meets all five of these qualifications, then the tax debt may be dischargeable:

  1. The due date for filing a tax return is at least three years ago.
  2. The tax return was filed at least two years ago.
  3. The tax assessment is at least 240 days old.
  4. The tax return was not fraudulent.
  5. The taxpayer is not guilty of tax evasion.

If this is an issue, we’ll need to discuss it in detail once you retain me as your attorney.


9. How many times can I file for bankruptcy?

If you successfully file Chapter 7, you probably have to wait 8 years. Generally, you have to wait two years in a Chapter 13. However, there are many rules and exceptions at play here. Timing is also important. There are the types of issues we would discuss in a consultation.


10. Why don’t people just run their debts up, then file bankruptcy?

Because it is against the law to intentionally do this. I will not assist in any such efforts.


11. Will my employer, friends, and family know I filed?

Generally speaking, you can expect that nobody is going to know about your bankruptcy unless you tell them or they are specifically trying to find the information. Your attorney will not be allowed to speak to anyone about it, because of attorney/client privilege. As a responsible person who is looking for a tool to deal with debt, you are most likely to be able to go through this process without your employer, friends, and family knowing. However, the filings are public record but can only be accessed by someone who is looking for the records (for example, it is not published on a website openly).


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Bankruptcy Lawyer
Bankruptcy Lawyer

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 Requires the following notice:

We are a Debt Relief Agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. This web site is not an offer to provide bankruptcy assistance services to any assisted person as defined under Section 527(a)(2) of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.

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