Frequently Asked Questions

Will filing bankruptcy stop my bill collectors from taking action?
Yes. When you file bankruptcy, federal law imposes an automatic stay, which precludes your creditors from taking any action to collect the debt.

Can I keep my car?
Yes. If there is no equity in the car, the trustee will not take it. If there is a loan on the car, you can keep it by continuing to make payments and reaffirming the debt. If you owe on the car but don’t want to keep it, you can surrender it and discharge the debt.

Can I save my house from foreclosure?
A debtor can file a Chapter 13 proceeding and cure the defaults on the mortgage by paying the arrearage over a period of three to five years. The mortgage company will be forced to allow the debtor to re-commence the payments.

Will I lose my assets?
No. The Bankruptcy Code provides that a debtor can keep certain assets if they are exempt.

Will bankruptcy stop wage garnishments?
Yes. Once a debtor files, creditors can no longer garnish his or her wages. There is an exception for alimony and support orders.

Are there debts that cannot be discharged?
Yes. There are some debts that are not dischargeable. In Chapter 13 there are fewer non-dischargeable debts than in Chapter 7.

Can I discharge student loans?
Student loans cannot be discharged unless a debtor can prove that repaying the loan would create a hardship on the debtor or his or her family.

Will I lose my retirement savings or pension?
No. Most retirement savings and pensions are either not property of the estate or are exempt.

Will I have to go to court?
In the majority of bankruptcy cases, you participate in only one meeting — with a bankruptcy trustee, your attorney and any creditors who choose to attend.
This meeting does not take place in a courtroom.

How does a bankruptcy filing affect utilities?
When you file, the unpaid balance on your electric, gas or water bill (as of the date you file) will be discharged in a Chapter 7 and will be paid as part of the plan in a Chapter 13. Your service will not be turned off. You will, however, have to pay a small deposit (as a new customer would) — and you’ll have to pay for services provided after you file.

Can bankruptcy help get my driver’s license back?
If you lost your license solely because you couldn’t pay court-ordered damages caused in an accident in which you were not intoxicated, you can get your license back. You must pay the reinstatement fees and must comply with the other requirements of the State of Ohio.