Filing Bankruptcy In Ohio

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Filing bankruptcy in Ohio is necessary for those residents struggling with unresolved debt.  Some people choose to get a fresh start and file straight bankruptcy.  Others want to keep their property and pay their debts.  For them, bankruptcy to restructure debt is possible, if the debtors have enough wages to qualify for a court appointed repayment plan.

Ohio Bankruptcy Topics

  1. Personal Bankruptcy Options
  2. Keep Your Home: Bankruptcy and Foreclosure
  3. Ohio Exemptions to Bankruptcy Liquidation
  4. Options for Filing Bankruptcy
  5. Local Bankruptcy Courts and Trustees

Options for Personal Bankruptcy in Ohio

In Ohio, citizens can file Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, under Title 11.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is for those individuals that want to get a fresh start, in order to make better financial decisions in the future.  However, to avoid those people who take advantage of the court system, a debtor is required to qualify for bankruptcy by taking a means test.  Then, if the debtor has any assets available for resale, the court trustee will take the property, and disperse any proceeds among the creditors.  Finally, all debts not legally binding are expunged, and the debtor is free to start over.  In Ohio, the single wage earner makes an average of $42,458, a two-person household makes an average of $52,922; and a family of three makes approximately $62,251.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for those individuals that wish to retain their assets like the house, family car, small business, or other assets.  However, circumstances make it impossible to pay all of the bills and have the basic necessities of life.  The court can negotiate with creditors to drop extra fees and interest, in an effort to make the payments more affordable.  Then, the court will set up a repayment schedule to have debts paid within the next 3-5 years.  As long as the debtor faithful pays the mandated amount distributed by the court each month, and keeps current on the bills, assets are retained.  However, a debtor cannot qualify for Chapter 13, if the total unsecured debt is more than $336,900 or the level of secured debt is more than $1,010,650.

Filing Bankruptcy during Foreclosure

Rather than wait for foreclosure proceedings to commence, before filing bankruptcy, the debtor should contact a bankruptcy lawyer to see what options, if any, are available to save the property.  Usually, waiting to file after notification only delays the inevitable.  Creditors cannot continue to ask for repayment, until the case is resolved.  Nevertheless, if foreclosure is initiated, the lien holder can request the court to lift the stay, and allow the property to be resold.

Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions

In the state of Ohio, debtors are allowed to petition for exemptions.  In other words, the court will not be able to include those items in the bankruptcy proceedings.  The chart below includes a partial list of possible assets the debt may keep:

Type of Asset(s)

Details on Applicable Exemption(s)


Residence real or personal property up to $5000, property in tenancy is exempt-if debts are owed by one spouse


Fraternal and society benefits, $600 disability benefits,  benevolent society benefits up to $5000, group life insurance, life insurance for dependents or spouse, life insurance benefits-if beneficiary is prohibited from using the proceeds to resolve debt


Alimony, child support, and business partnership assets


ERISA, firefighters and police officers-including their death benefits,  IRA, Keogh, volunteer firefighter’s dependents, public and public school employees, state highway patrol

Personal Property

Personal items up to $1500-$2000 if not claiming a homestead, bedding and clothing up to $200 per item, burial plot, no more than $400 of tax refund,  cash money due within the next three months, $300 for stove and refrigerator, health aids, jewellery-up to $200 per piece/one worth $400, old vehicle worth no more than a $1000, personal injury comp up to $5000, wrongful death benefits

Public Benefits

General assistance, tuition benefits, compensation received in the last 12 months for crime victims, vocational rehabilitation benefits, unemployment and workmen’s comp


A minimum of 75% of unpaid wages for the last 30 days

Ohio Bankruptcy Court Filing Options

Need Bankruptcy Advice?

Use a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Filing bankruptcy without legal representation is foolhardy at best.  With all of the nuances in the law, the complex list of assets potentially exempt from the bankruptcy proceedings, the necessary paperwork, and legal questions and clarifications that will be needed during this trying process, debtors need someone who knows how to achieve the best financial results for their particular circumstances.

Use a Filing Service

Using a filing service is risky.  The workers do not always comply with the law.  In addition, they are not responsible, if the court does not receive all of the necessary data.  No one will be available to answer legal questions or offer much needed advice.

File “Pro Se”

Debtors can file pro se and represent themselves in bankruptcy court, if a lawyer is not affordable.  However, it is strongly recommended to borrow the money, if needed.  Legal counsel ensures that the debtor receives the best financial outcome, under the circumstances.

Courts and Ohio Bankruptcy Trustee Information

Ohio Northern District Court Main Office

Carl B. Stokes United States
Court House
801 West Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

Ohio Southern District Court Main Office

260 Joseph P. Kinneary
United States Courthouse
85 Marconi Boulevard
Columbus, OH 43215-2835