FAQ

How do I know that I need to see a lawyer?

Are you behind on your mortgage? Is the gas and electric bill not getting paid? Are the collection agents calling you every day? Is it a struggle to pay your taxes? These are only a few warning signs that you may need legal help and, more importantly, a financial plan of action.
If you have any doubt you can always come in for a FREE CONSULTATION and we will go over your budget and explain your options. Be proactive and don't let the bills continue to pile up.

What do I need to bring to my free consultation?

In order to give you the best advice, we need the right information. We ask that you bring ALL of your bills. If you own a business we may also ask that you bring financial documents such as balance sheets and an income statement or profit/ loss statement.

Are there alternative options besides filing bankruptcy?

Absolutely. Depending on your debt and asset structure it may be beneficial to try settling with your creditors. This works well if debtor only has a few large bills to pay, but can work in other scenarios. In addition to settling, you may be what's known as judgment proof. In this case you cannot be financially affected by their creditors.

What are the advantages of filing bankruptcy?

Filing a bankruptcy can be beneficial in multiple ways. In a general sense, filing a bankruptcy, whether it is a Chapter 7 or 13, will solve your financial difficulties. The bankruptcy will allow you to get a fresh start with your life and will take a heavy burden of debt off your shoulders.
More specifically a bankruptcy will stop foreclosures, prevent bank seizures, avoid car repossession, stop wage garnishments, and discontinue creditor harassment. If you are concerned about any of these situations, schedule a free consultation and our attorneys will explain to you your rights and options.

What is credit counseling?

Credit counseling was added to the bankruptcy process with the The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. It requires that debtors who file bankruptcy must complete credit counseling from a government approved organization 180 day prior to filing.
At Goering and Goering we assist each our clients through the initial credit counseling that is required to file bankruptcy. The class can be long and intensive but our attorneys will guide you through and will have you done in no time.

Can my boss fire me for filing bankruptcy?

No. The law prohibits private employers and the government from discriminating against you because you filed for bankruptcy.

Will I have to go to court?

Every person who files bankruptcy must go to court. It usually only takes about 15 minutes and it's referred to as the 341 meeting. At the 341 meeting a trustee will review your case and ask you basic questions. Our attorneys will be there to counsel you through the process.
It is very important that you bring the required information to the 341 meeting. Our attorney will provide you with a check list and in order to be discharged of you debt you MUST bring everything with you. This includes your driver's license or some sort of government identification, social security card, and the last two bank statements for all your bank accounts.
The address of the 341 meeting is 36 E. 7th St. Suite 2050, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Can I keep my home and/or car if I file a bankruptcy?

Yes. Lots of people keep their house when filing bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13, you can always keep your house. In a Chapter 7 you can keep your house as long as it meets certain criteria. Generally, the house cannot have more than $21,625 in equity per person on the deed, the house must be insured, the payments on the house payments must be current. If you want to find out specifically how these requirements work in your specific situation, schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers so we can get you out of you debt problems and help you keep your house.

Does bankruptcy eliminate all debts?

In a chapter 7, student loans, alimony, child support and certain taxes are not dischargeable. All other debt will be discharged. Do note that bankruptcy only gets you out of the debt, not liens or mortgages. If you have any questions about what is dischargeable please call our office at 513-621-0912.

What does it cost to file bankruptcy?

The cost of bankruptcy is dependent on many factors. Depending on what type of bankruptcy, Chapter 7, 13, or 11, the amount of debt, timing, and amount of assets, our lawyers' fees may vary. The court costs are as follows:
Chapter 7- $306
Chapter 13- $281
Chapter 11- $1025
In addition, mandatory credit counseling cost $50 dollars. Goering & Goering, LLC charges competitive fees and our lawyers set up a payment schedule that fits all our client's budgets. Set up a free consultation with one of our lawyers and we will explain to you your rights and options as well as quote a price and payment terms if you want to file.

What's the difference between secured and unsecured debt?

A confusing but important part of bankruptcy is distinguishing secured vs. unsecured debt. A secured debt is a obligation to pay back the lender that has been collateralized by an asset. For instance a mortgage on your house is a secured debt because it is collateralized by the house itself. If you don't pay your mortgage payment, the lender has the right to take you house. Secured debts typically include car loans, house mortgages, boat loans, and loans for furniture or televisions.
An unsecured debt is not guaranteed by any collateral. Basically, this means if you default on an unsecured debt, the creditor has nothing to recover in order to make up for the default. Credit cards, medical bills, and cash advances are all examples of unsecured debt.

What is the means test?

The means test was introduced in the legislation known as BACPA- Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and consumer Protection Act. The means test gauges eligibility to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If individual's gross income, measured by the last six months of income, is above the state median income level, it may be harder to file for Chapter 7, and may in fact force people into a Chapter 13 Repayment plan.

Do I have to file bankruptcy on all the accounts I owe?

Yes. You have to list everyone you owe in bankruptcy. This includes all family members and friends that you might owe money. After the bankruptcy, you are more than welcome to pay any creditor back, but they must be listed in your bankruptcy when you file.

Will I lose my retirement account or payments from social security?

No. All ERISA qualified accounts are exempt as well as a few others. Our lawyers will be able to tell you whether or not you retirement is exempt or not during the initial, free consultation.

How long does a bankruptcy stay on my credit record?

10 years but we can explain to you how to begin building your credit back up after the bankruptcy process.

Can creditors continue to contact me after I've filed for bankruptcy?

No. As soon as you file bankruptcy, what's known as a bankruptcy "stay" is in place. This means all creditors must stop any communication with you. It also means that no creditor can sue you or get a judgment against you, seize your bank account, repo your car, or garnish your wages.
If creditor harassment continues after the bankruptcy has been filed, inform us and we will intervene and if necessary take legal action against the creditor.