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Gina Taulbee

Easy to work with, adjusted for my schedule, which was nice. The paralegals are very helpful and professional. The gentlemen I worked with were informative, went over all my options and explained how the process would go.

Gina Taulbee
Emily Abrams

I used Rick’s office three times in my life. The professionalism and efficiency of his office is unmatched compared to any other business I’ve known. I would highly recommend Rick’s office for anyone who needs help with their finances and bankruptcy.

Emily Abrams
B McGhee

I can’t say enough about how seamless this process was! From day 1, I had every question answered within a few hours, usually quicker than that. Everything was spelled out in detail and very easy to follow. It was refreshing to work with a company that made EVERYTHING so easy!

B McGhee
Ellery Johnson

From the initial consultation to the help after the discharge of the bankruptcy, Mr. West and his staff are quite simply the best. Not only will they make your bankruptcy filing as easy and smooth as they can, but they are there to answer any questions you may have along the way. Their expertise is, quite frankly, second to none…

Ellery Johnson

Do you need a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

As a Dayton Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney I have represented thousands of clients in Dayton, Ohio over the last 34 years. I know the Dayton Ohio Bankruptcy system, the standing Chapter 13 trustee, John Jansing, and his great staff attorney, Scott Stout. These professionals do a great job of working with my office to get the best results for my clients.

With Chapter 13 You Can:

    • Keep Your Car, even pay less than what you owe on it
    • Keep Your Home, even if you are behind, even if in foreclosure
    • Stop Creditors in their Tracks – instantly stop all collection actions
    • Stop Repossession, and get up to 5 years to catch up missed payments
    • Stop IRS Tax Liens – yes, even the IRS is stopped by Chapter 13
    • Get a Fresh Start with my unique credit program, rebuild credit as you reorganize debts

Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Dayton Ohio is often referred to as a “reorganization bankruptcy.” More people who file chapter 7 bankruptcy would be better off if they filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy.

If you are thinking about filing chapter 13 bankruptcy and live near Dayton Ohio, from Warren County in the south to Shelby County in the north, you first want to know if you qualify.  Then consider what you want your recovery plan to look like.  The payments are normally much lower than you are paying now, and you will be out of debt in 3 to 5 years.  Finally what are the pros and cons of filing chapter 13 bankruptcy in Dayton Ohio, compared to chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Dayton Ohio Bankruptcy Law Chapter 13

Eligibility for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

One test for chapter 13 eligibility is having regular income. You must be able to make plan payments for 3 to 5 years.  Income can come from employment, unemployment, self-employment or any other regular source.  And, your budget needs to be sufficient to make your plan payment and also satisfy your monthly living expenses.

In my experience, it is not uncommon to find that household budgets are actually better, meaning you have more money to live on, in a chapter than if you filed a chapter 7 and reaffirmed debts. This is because we can “cram down” car payments in chapter 13, and also lower interest rates on car loans in many cases.

It is a common misconception that chapter 13 payments leave you with not enough money to live on.  Most of my clients are amazed that I can actually lower their monthly payment on debts, and still keep all their property. Chapter 13, in most cases, actually IMPROVES your budget.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Means Test

Means test for income. Like Chapter 7, chapter 13 bankruptcy has a “means test” which must be completed if your income exceeds the median, or average income for your family size.  But, the means test in chapter 13 is different than the means test in chapter 7 and, in chapter 13, is virtually never an issue for us.

The chapter 13 means test is often misunderstood. The test is designed to determine how much you have to pay to your unsecured creditors, but, in practice, this is not how it works at all, in most cases. Instead, the plan payment is based on your net income, housing cost and family size, and how much you have to pay to keep your cars and other property you are purchasing. The result in most cases is a “pennies on the dollar” amount to be paid to your unsecured creditors.

As a board certified consumer bankruptcy specialist I have filed hundreds of chapter 13 bankruptcy cases in Dayton Ohio for clients and only pay 1% to the unsecured creditors.  This makes the chapter 13 the “functional equivalent” of a chapter 7 case, as far as your unsecured debt is concerned.

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Chapter 13 Attorney Dayton Ohio

Prior Bankruptcy Filings

Prior bankruptcy filings are often the reason that we file chapter 13. Chapter 7 is not an option sometimes, if you have filed a chapter 7 within the last 8 years.  But chapter 13 can be filed, and you can get a discharge after only 4 years.

If you previously filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy, then you must wait 2 years from the filing date of that chapter 13 bankruptcy before you are permitted to file another chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Keeping Property in Dayton Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases

In Dayton Ohio, the chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee will review your bankruptcy petition to ensure that all your property is properly listed and the debt you pay is properly classified.

Chapter 13 is often used to keep property which could be lost in a chapter 7. Although nearly all of our property is protected by exemption statutes, the exemptions only go so far.

Example:

You own a car worth $10,000.  We could only protect about $5,000 so you have $5,000 in “unprotected equity.”

In a chapter 7 case, the trustee would sell your car, or you might pay $5,000 to keep it (very tough to do, if you are in need of a bankruptcy!).

But, in a chapter 13, you will pay a small amount each month to the trustee to be distributed to your creditors. So, you would pay about $60 per month in a 5 year plan, and keep the car.

Bankruptcy and Foreclosure
Collection Lawsuits and Bankruptcy

Your credit during Chapter 13

Most people think they have to live on a “bare bones cash budget” while in Dayton Chapter 13 case.

And, sadly, many do exactly this.

But it is not required.

It really breaks my heart to see people in chapter 13 bankruptcy wasting the entire 3 to 5 year plan NOT rebuilding their credit.

They are NOT getting credit cards. Because they think they can’t. They think it’s not allowed.

And nobody tells them any differently. Sad. Unnecessary. Tragic.

As a chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in Dayton Ohio for over 30 years, I have been helping my clients to get credit cards, rebuild credit, and improve their credit score.  All of this while they are getting out of debt in their chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

I’ve developed a program that is perfectly legal, allowed by bankruptcy law, and in many cases helps my clients obtain higher credit scores, WHILE IN CHAPTER 13 BANKRUKPTCY,  than they ever had before they filed.

By following a proven program to rebuild your credit, as I teach in my Credit Recovery Course you can get out of debt and rebuild credit at the same time.

Some Pros and Cons of Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Dayton Ohio

Pros

  1. Pay what you can afford on your debts, even if it’s only a penny on the dollar. What is not paid gets discharged with no payment, except for debts like child support and student loans.
  2. Allow you to “cure” or make up missed payments. No need to be current on car or house payments.
  3. Protection from creditors the entire time your case is open. This is really important. Student loan creditors, especially, are put on hold the entire time you are in a plan.
  4. Ability to change plan payment if income changes. If you are paying more than 1 you’re your debts because you can afford to, and later your income is reduced, your plan payment can normally be reduced as well. Conversely, if your income goes up, the trustee will see this on your tax return, and your plan payment may be increased.
  5. Immediate protection with little down payment. If you are being garnished, we can file a chapter 13 bankruptcy for only court costs. Your plan will pay the legal fees over time. Can’t do this in a chapter 7!
  6. Cram down auto debt. Lower interest rates on car loans. Chapter 13 can save a substantial amount of money on car debts. This is not possible in chapter 7.
  7. Voluntary dismissal is possible. If necessary or if circumstances warrant it. And, you can convert your chapter 13 to a chapter 7 in most cases.

 

Cons

  1. 3 to 5 year plan. Until your plan is over, your debts are not legally discharged, although the creditors cannot take any action against you.
  2. If you fail to make payments your case could be dismissed. This is not to say that your case will be immediately dismissed if you miss a single payment.  And, your attorney can work with the trustee to help get you through a rough spot where you have to miss payments or make partial payments.
  3. Any “windfall” you may get while in bankruptcy, like an inheritance or a large bonus at work, will have to come into the plan. However, we can file motions to retain all or part of these sums so you can keep it from going into your plan. These are handled on a case by case basis.
  4. Generally you will not want to plan to buy a house or car while in your plan. Although I have helped clients do these things on many, many occasions, there is an approval process you will need to follow.

Conclusion

As a chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in Dayton Ohio for many years, I know that this program offers the most powerful debt relief available.  Because chapter 13 bankruptcy is more complex than a chapter 7, many attorneys either do not file chapter 13, or they fail to realize the advantages chapter 13 offers over chapter 7.

For you to know for sure what to file, you need to consult a board certified consumer bankruptcy specialist who has years of experience in both chapter 13 and chapter 7. This is the best way to know, for sure, which chapter offers the best results for you.

Decades of experience in filing bankruptcy in Dayton Ohio have taught me that more people should consider chapter 13 bankruptcy before making the decision to file a chapter 7. They are literally “leaving money on the table” by choosing chapter 7 over chapter 13 bankruptcy!

If you would like to hear more about Chapter 13 in Dayton, Ohio feel free to reach out to The Richard West Law Office by calling (937) 224-3648 or visiting our contact us page.