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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Attorneys in Columbus, Ohio

What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 is what most people think of when they think of bankruptcy. It’s often referred to as a liquidation of assets. It is where individuals who are unable to pay back their existing debts can get a fresh start. The United States Bankruptcy Code provides for debtors to have their unsecured debts discharged by the United States Bankruptcy Court through Chapter 7.

In exchange for having their debts discharged, a Chapter 7 trustee is appointed by the United States Department of Justice to review the debtor’s assets. In some cases, one or some of the debtor’s assets may be taken and liquidated to pay the creditors a portion of the debts that are being discharged. Here at CaJacob Law Group, we offer a complimentary initial consultation where we can discuss your debts and assets. We advise debtors throughout the state of Ohio on what assets may or may not be something the Chapter 7 trustee may be interested in liquidating.

How Do I Qualify for Bankruptcy?

In order to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtors must fall within the income guidelines provided for by the bankruptcy laws. In 2005 the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act established a Means Test which is the calculation used to determine if an individual qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are a lot of moving parts to the Means Test. Also, there are different practices used by each jurisdiction and trustee. The attorneys at CaJacob Law Group help clients by navigating the Means Test prior to filing for bankruptcy so as to avoid any issues that could arise after filing a Chapter 7. We are here to help. The Means Test is not something that we recommend tackling on your own. Please contact us to set up a consultation.

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How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?

At CaJacob Law Group, Chapter 7 starts with the initial consultation. At this appointment, the client provides basic information to the attorney. At that time the attorney will review the assets, debts, income, and expenses of the client. We will provide a legal opinion as to what the best legal debt solution is for the client. We’ll also discuss legal fees, court filing fees, and a timeline at the initial consultation. Should you decide to proceed with filing bankruptcy, we’ll provide a list of documents that we need to gather to get your Chapter 7 case prepared and filed.

We treat every case as the client’s case – as it should be. We don’t pressure anyone to file a case before they are ready. We encourage clients to make payments towards legal fees and court filing fees over time. Payments can be made in person, through the mail, online or via a smartphone app. The timeline to get a Chapter case filed is up to you. If you need a case filed quickly, we can accommodate you. If you need more time to make payments on fees and gather documents, we’ll work with you.

After all of your documents and fees are provided, we’ll have a signing appointment. It’s at this appointment where we will review the bankruptcy paperwork that we’ve drafted for you. We’ll go through every detail to make sure we have all of your information correct. These documents include the bankruptcy petition and schedules that the bankruptcy laws require to file a Chapter 7 case. Once we’ve got everything right, you’ll sign the bankruptcy paperwork. At that time the case can be filed. In Ohio, bankruptcy cases are filed electronically. So, this second appointment can happen any time of day. CaJacob Law Group will work with the client’s schedule. We can meet after normal business hours or on weekends if that’s what the client needs.

Once the bankruptcy case is filed, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee is assigned. The Chapter 7 trustee will oversee the case and determine if any of the debtor’s property is available to be liquidated for the benefit of creditors. The job of the trustee is to see that your creditors are paid as much as possible toward the debts you owe them. At this time a date will also be set for your hearing with the Chapter 7 trustee.

This hearing is called the Meeting of Creditors. The hearing is a short, relatively informal meeting where the bankruptcy trustee (and any creditors who wish to appear) ask the debtor questions. Although all creditors receive notice of the hearing, most creditors choose not to appear. After the hearing and a statutory waiting period, the debtor receives a bankruptcy discharge, which wipes out most or all of the debt accrued to the time of the bankruptcy filing.

Our Team Is Here to Help

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a fairly straightforward process. There are, however, a lot of idiosyncrasies and details involved with every case. CaJacob Law Group is here to help; we want to help. We’ve represented debtors in over 1500 bankruptcies. Let us use our experience and knowledge to guide you through the process. Don’t live with financial stress one more minute. Contact us to set up a complimentary initial consultation today.