One of Ohio's Top-Rated Bankruptcy Attorneys,
Over 30,000 clients helped since 1986.


Many People Just Like You are Filing for Bankruptcy in These Uncertain Economic Times. As Inflation Increases, Debt Can Get Out of Control.

We are a top-rated Ohio bankruptcy law firm, serving the Northern District, and the Southern District of Ohio.  We are your trusted choice when you are looking for the best bankruptcy attorney for debt relief options under US Bankruptcy Law. Our attorneys offer free consultations, so you can begin to get your fresh start today.


Filing Bankruptcy in Ohio

Filing for bankruptcy is a tough decision to make. When your unpaid debts seem insurmountable and debt relief seems impossible, bankruptcy law may be the best solution.  However, filing for bankruptcy is more complicated than you might think.  It’s important to understand what happens when you file, including how your credit will be affected by filing bankruptcy in Ohio, before deciding that this is your best option.

Of course you will have many questions regarding filing for bankruptcy!  You want debt relief, and bankruptcy offers a great tool to end your financial problems, so feel free to reach out to our experienced Ohio bankruptcy attorneys for a free consultation. In our initial consultation we can review your debt relief options, discuss effects on your credit and your credit report, and explain our payment plan options to help make the cost of filing bankruptcy in Ohio affordable.

US Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Basics

The United States Bankruptcy Code Title 11 is the source of bankruptcy law that regulates bankruptcy filings and bankruptcy cases. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, it is imperative that your bankruptcy attorney be very familiar with this code under federal law. The bankruptcy court can be an intimidating place to be, and your bankruptcy attorney should be a board certified specialist, like Richard West. 

Because bankruptcy is a complex and complicated subject, even many attorneys who are not well versed in bankruptcy law will not attempt to file a bankruptcy case. But you don’t need to know the bankruptcy law or read the bankruptcy code yourself. All you need to do is to reach out to our Ohio bankruptcy attorneys. This is absolutely free.

Legal Services

Quick Reference

Get Your Free Consultation And Review All Your Options

Start the bankruptcy recovery process now with a free consultation after completing our online evaluation form.

Useful Calculators

Here are two helpful calculators for managing your debt repayments and Chapter 13 commitments.

There are several chapters under the bankruptcy code detailing the different kinds of bankruptcies and how they should be filed. Further you will find legal information about listing exemptions that help determine which assets can be retained by you even as you wipe out, or discharge, all or most of you debt and get the debt relief that these laws provide.  

Here is a link to information published by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court:

Although bankruptcy law is Federal Law, many of the applications of it depend on Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions, which are found in the Ohio Revised Code, section 2329.66. Federal bankruptcy law is basically the same across the country but local exemption laws vary from state to state. Other state laws can affect you in filing for bankruptcy, so it is critical to retain a very experienced Ohio bankruptcy lawyer so you don’t end up losing property or having the bankruptcy court dismiss your case.

And, to make things even more complicated, if you live in Ohio, there are varying local rules to each are such as Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland.  

There are other bankruptcy rules and regulations your Ohio bankruptcy attorney will be familiar with, like general orders and administrative orders, which have the effect of being local bankruptcy law that can vary from court location to court location. 

When you file for bankruptcy, a bankruptcy trustee reviews all of your debts and assets in order to determine if you have properly scheduled your debts to be discharged and to determine which of your assets might be liquidated to help pay these debts. If you have a lot of assets that will not be affected by your bankruptcy, such as a retirement account or personal belongings, your creditors may receive nothing, or only pennies on the dollar for what they are owed.

When filing for bankruptcy in Ohio, there is also an automatic stay, which, in most cases, prevents creditors from continuing with further collection efforts and protects you from creditor harassment from debt collectors. This means your creditors are prohibited from telephone calls, lawsuits, or any other legal actions against you during the bankruptcy phase. 

There are sometimes limits on the automatic stay, and if you have filed previous bankruptcy cases, your automatic stay may be limited in duration or may not even go into effect at all. One more reason why you absolutely need an experienced Ohio bankruptcy attorney for your case. Sometimes the attorney is required to file additional pleadings to make sure you get the protection of the automatic stay and if the bankruptcy attorney fails to do this, you could lose property.

Once your bankruptcy is discharged, meaning that your dischargeable debt has been legally eliminated, you will want to immediately begin to rebuild your credit.

Sadly, there are almost no experienced bankruptcy attorneys who are able to help their clients rebuild their credit? Why is this? The short answer is that rebuilding credit is not part of bankruptcy law. Therefore, it is a cruel joke that bankruptcy is said to provide a fresh start. Well, it may be a start, but in order to get a full financial recovery, you need to finish what you start. 

Richard West is a certified credit counselor and has perfected an extremely effective program to rebuild credit for his chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy clients.  After wiping out debt in bankruptcy, the next step in financial recovery is to rebuild good credit and learn how to make sure that any errors on your credit report are properly disputed.

It is important to realize that filing for bankruptcy can be complicated and it’s advisable to speak with an attorney before initiating this process. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you decide if this is the right choice for you and can also make the process easier by ensuring that all of your paperwork is filed correctly. And, as you do this, make sure you don’t forget how important it is to rebuild your credit and review your credit report for errors. Errors on credit reports show up more frequently for people who have discharged debts in bankruptcy, and it seems that there are more credit report errors for those who file chapter 13 than those who file chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A Fresh Financial Start – Filing personal bankruptcy is the first step

The United State Bankruptcy Court

What is bankruptcy? People who have a lot of debt and are unable to pay it in off within a reasonable time should consider filing for bankruptcy. This process provides you with protection from creditors while allowing you to start over financially. Lawyers aid in this process by representing their clients during the legal proceedings, because this is a complex area of the law.  It is not well suited for “do it yourself” or “pro se” filers. 

Who says so?  The United States Bankruptcy Court. The court website flatly states that seeking the advice of a qualified attorney is strongly recommended because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal outcomes.  A knowledgeable lawyer can help you decide if this is the right choice for you and can also make the process easier by ensuring that all of your paperwork is filed correctly.

You can file for bankruptcy without a lawyer, but we (and the court) strongly recommend that you consult with one. If you want to file for bankruptcy yourself, use an Ohio lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy to help at least initially. You can find several resources that can help you in your research including the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) website at and the American Bankruptcy Institute at

Bankruptcy and Credit

Sadly, many people are reluctant to file for bankruptcy because they fear they will be unable to obtain credit and/or purchase necessities after doing so. This fear is understandable but if you follow the proper steps after filing bankruptcy, you can quickly recover good credit. Bankruptcy is not a life sentence. Rather, it is a life event.  It does not define you. Bad things happen to good people all the time. What is more important is what you do afterwards.  Let’s explore the two types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and 13.

Chapter 13 and Chapter 7: Which bankruptcy filing is right for me?

When considering whether to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you want to understand what each type of filing entails. An experienced Ohio bankruptcy lawyer can explain the differences between the two types of consumer bankruptcy filings and help you find out if bankruptcy is a good option for you and if so, which chapter offers the best results. Often you will find that you qualify for both chapter 7 and chapter 13, so you’ll want the attorney to explain the pros and cons of each.

Simply stated, Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides relief from debts through the liquidation of non-exempt property by a trustee over a three-to-six-month period with monthly income requirements as opposed to a repayment plan.  This sounds like you will lose some of your property, right? Liquidating non-exempt property sounds like your property will be sold to pay your bills. In theory, this is true, but in practice, it rarely happens.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides relief from debts through payment plans lasting three to five years. Chapter 13 is also referred to as a wage earner plan. While in a Chapter 13, you will pay all of your disposable income into the plan. Some of your tax refund may be paid into the plan as well.

Chapter 13 often only pays nominal sums, sometimes only a penny on the dollar, to unsecured debts such as credit card balances, personal loans, and medical bills.  More importantly, you get to keep your home and secured debts, like cars, even if you are behind on the payments.

The Bankruptcy Process

You will meet with our lawyers to discuss your bankruptcy options and to understand how filing for bankruptcy will affect your financial future. We explain how we go about getting all of the necessary documents and information, and how you will satisfy the credit counseling requirement of bankruptcy law. Whether you file a chapter 7, or straight bankruptcy, or a chapter 13 bankruptcy, or wage earner plan, there will be a means test analysis we will perform as well, as all debt relief agents are required to do.  

What Can Go Wrong with Filing Bankruptcy Yourself?

You will meet with our lawyers to discuss your bankruptcy options and to understand how filing for bankruptcy will affect your financial future. We explain how we go about getting all of the necessary documents and information, and how you will satisfy the credit counseling requirement of bankruptcy law. Whether you file a chapter 7, or straight bankruptcy, or a chapter 13 bankruptcy, or wage earner plan, there will be a means test analysis we will perform as well, as all debt relief agents are required to do.

What if I can't Find All My Paperwork?

One of the most important aspects of filing for bankruptcy is overwhelming amount of paperwork involved. Just missing one single document can get your case dismissed. Most consumers are not able to figure out what is needed, how it should be prepared and where it should be filed.

There are many factors that lead to the decision of filing bankruptcy, some consumers do not realize what this choice entails. A knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer can help make this process easier by ensuring all your paperwork is filed correctly and on time with the highest amount of protection available under the law.  

What If the Trustee Decides That Some of My Property is non-exempt and Seizes it?

Things like this do happen, especially when dealing with a complicated legal process. The stakes are high when filing for bankruptcy, which is why you should consider seeking legal advice to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire process.

The trustee has no choice but to go after all of your assets if they do not have proper protection.  And, you could lose property simply because you don’t know how to protect it, while an attorney would be able to shield it from the trustee and your creditors.

Filing for bankruptcy without a lawyer can also mean that you may not receive the highest amount of protection available under the law.  You could end up owing debts that would otherwise be wiped out if only you filed the paperwork properly.

If you file incorrectly, your creditors may still have the right to contact you regarding your debts and they might even attempt to take legal action against you. This could not only damage your credit but can mean that you may have to pay unnecessary legal fees after the bankruptcy is over.

A bankruptcy attorney will not only go through the bankruptcy paperwork with you in detail, but they will also represent you in front of a judge if any disputes arise during the case. This way, filing for personal bankruptcy becomes “stress free” because you know that your rights are protected and that you have a skilled attorney by your side.  The attorney fees you pay your bankruptcy lawyer are small, compared to the savings and debt relief you obtain.  

Common Financial Problems that Lead to Filing

Summary - Richard West Law Offices - Extensive Experience

If you’re reading this, you are probably suffering from significant financial stress.  Not just “a little behind” but approaching (or experiencing) a true financial emergency.

When you have a serious problem, everyone knows that the right thing to do is to consult a specialist.  If you have a serious medical condition, you want a board certified specialist to help solve your problem.  The same advice applies to your serious financial problems. Richard West is a board certified consumer bankruptcy specialist, and he is also a certified credit counselor.  Additionally, he is a certified debt arbitrator, experienced in non-bankruptcy workouts.  He can tell you all your options, and how to

As a debt relief agency and seasoned bankruptcy attorney in Ohio, Richard West has over 35 years of experience offering bankruptcy services in the Southern District of Ohio and Northern District of Ohio. A bankruptcy lawyer since 1986, a certified specialist and credit counselor with a proven program to help you rebuild credit. 

IF you need a full financial recovery with one of the most reviewed Ohio Bankruptcy attorneys, call Richard West Law office for a free consultation today.

Ready? Get on the Road to Bankruptcy Recovery

We are still open for remote filing and remote consultations during the pandemic. All consultations are free and there is no catch. We only work with clients who want to work with us. Nothing high-pressure. We look forward to assisting you.