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New Ohio program shows the need for affordable bankruptcy

It is a big part of the American Dream to have assets. The most popular one is a home, and it was expected for much of the 20th century that families would strive to own their own home. So it often feels like a nightmare when assets turn into liabilities and families have to leave them behind.

Bankruptcy seems like the worst-case scenario but it can often feel like a fresh start compared to the problems of dealing with creditors, wage garnishment and other consequences of unmanageable debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows a trustee appointed by the court to settle as many debts as possible with the debtor's assets in exchange for debt forgiveness.

One of the problems that convince people not to pursue bankruptcy is the cost of filing. The court costs and other fees involved with applying for a bankruptcy can exceed a thousand dollars. Many people try to file on their own, without legal representation, in an attempt to save money.

More than 1,200 people in central Ohio applied for help with bankruptcy filings in 2017. Local legal aid is unveiling a partnership with a tech startup to try and help the overwhelming number of applicants save time and money with the filing.

Attempting to file for bankruptcy without an attorney may decrease the chances of a bankruptcy declaration, which would waste more money at the wrong time. Obtaining legal counsel may be the best decision that a person makes when bankruptcy is the best option to recover from debt.

Source: Akron Beacon Journal, "Can’t afford to file for bankruptcy? A pilot program can help," Amanda Garrett, accessed June 01, 2018

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