Can Non-Citizens File Bankruptcy?

There is a lot of discussion now about whether people from foreign countries who live and work in the United States without seeking citizenship should be entitled to the same rights as citizens. Since these non-citizens are consumers who almost certainly will accumulate debt, they may wonder if they can seek relief from their debts under the bankruptcy laws, or whether that right is specifically limited to people who are citizens.

Actually, the bankruptcy laws allow non-citizens to file. The Bankruptcy Code defines “a debtor” as “a person that resides or has a domicile, place of business, or property in the United States,” without requiring that person be a citizen. Therefore, the right to seek relief under the bankruptcy laws is available to both citizens and non-citizens, so long as they can prove they make their home here.

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How Changing the Character of your Assets to Protect Them Can Work Against You

An interesting situation came up recently in an online discussion between bankruptcy attorneys.  A client had received a workers’ compensation award of several thousand dollars within the past few months.  He used it to buy his girlfriend a car, and then filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy to wipe out his creditors.

If the money had remained in his bank account, he could have claimed it as exempt, meaning it would have been protected from claims by the bankruptcy trustee on behalf of his creditors.  Workers’ compensation benefits are sheltered from being seized by creditors under both Ohio and federal exemption laws.

However, the workers’ compensation award is not in the bank anymore.  He had to identify it, however, on his Statement of Financial Affairs where he was asked 1) what monies he’s received over the past 3 years other than from his employment,  2) what payments he’s made that benefited an “insider”, 3) what gifts of over $600 he has made to any person within the two years before he filed, and/or 4) what transfers of property he’s made.  If he fails to disclose that information, his bankruptcy filing will be fraudulent. Therefore, the Trustee is going to see the award he received, and will inquire as to what it was used for.  A gift to his girlfriend to purchase a car is not exempt from the reach of the Trustee.  Moreover, the attorneys believe, probably rightly, that the car was put into the girlfriend’s name purposefully to protect it from the man’s creditors. [Read more…]

CAN YOU BE SUED FOR HELPING SOMEONE IN AN EMERGENCY?

Most of us are sympathetic if we see someone involved in an emergency situation.  If we witnessed a car crash where people appeared to be injured, we would not hesitate to phone for help.  If we saw someone fall off a ladder, we would call 911.  But have you ever considered whether you’d be the type of person who might try to take some action to save a victim from some peril he was in?

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WILL A BANKRUPTCY FILING AFFECT MY FUTURE CREDIT RATING?

You may be thinking that your debts are out of control, and that perhaps you should be looking into filing a bankruptcy. On the other hand, you are concerned that if you do file a bankruptcy, then your credit rating will take a big hit. How a bankruptcy would affect your credit score is a valid issue to consider, and is actually one of the most common concerns people have when considering how to deal with their debts.

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Ohio Legislature Seeks to Stop Extortion Mugshot Websites

On March 15, 2017, the Ohio House passed House Bill 6 (by a vote of 88-4) which is intended to prohibit private mugshot or criminal record websites that require the payment of a fee from an individual in order to have his/her mugshot or criminal records from the site. On March 16, 2017, the Bill was introduced to the Ohio Senate for its consideration. Horwitz & Horwitz, LLC applauds the efforts of the Ohio Legislature in protecting the rights of Ohio citizens. [Read more…]

OBES CLAIMS IT OVERPAID MY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION, AND IS TRYING TO COLLECT IT BACK FROM ME. CAN A BANKRUPTCY HELP ME OUT?

The employment situation in Ohio was pretty bleak for the past few years. You may have found yourself out of a job with no replacement in sight and mounting bills that had to be paid. Or you may have employment that is seasonable, such as landscaping or construction, and have to rely on unemployment compensation to cover the periods when you’re not able to do your work. For whatever reason, you applied to the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services (OBES), and were awarded a weekly benefit amount. [Read more…]

PUT YOUR OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST

We’ve all heard the drill. As the plane is taking off, the stewardess cheerfully stands at the head of the aisle and warns you that if air is suddenly sucked out of the cabin, a little oxygen mask will drop magically before your eyes at the same time one is falling before your young child’s sweet little face.  But DON’T EVEN THINK [Read more…]

SHOULD YOU USE YOUR RETIREMENT PLAN TO PAY DEBTS?

We hear that the economy is “recovering”, but most people are still having a tough time, and the immediate future does not look too promising. You yourself may be surviving on credit cards to pay for your daily expenses, and are feeling anxious as the balances on those cards increases. On the other hand, you regularly receive statements on your 401(k) plan from your work, and see money just sitting there. The thought occurs to you to use that money to help you out of your current financial crisis. But is that a good idea? [Read more…]

What do you need to know when you hire an attorney?

Suppose you have a problem and need to hire an attorney to help you get the best resolution. You get recommendations from friends or go online to find a suitable attorney. You meet with that attorney, and at the end of that meeting, you decide to hire her to take care of the matter for you. She describes briefly what she will need to do, and explains her fee to you. You agree with what she’s telling you. Do the two of you need to put that agreement into writing? [Read more…]

What’s a “Bike Hub,” and What’s it Doing in Centerville?

A very small, very attractive building went up on North Main Street in the last few months. It’s not far north of Central Avenue, on the right hand side as you drive from Central (Rte. 73) towards Dorothy Lane Market. I was curious about it because of its size; however, when they put the large bicycle sign on it, I really was intrigued.

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A little internet research shows that it’s a SPARC AND GO hub. “SPARC” stands for Centerville Area Recharging Center, which is a new concept in this area of the country. It gives you the opportunity to recharge your cell phone, which is a marvelous idea for recreational bike riders! The hub also features bike parking, air pumps, and repair racks. And if you’re lucky enough to be biking nearby when a rainstorm hits, it offers a warm, dry place to wait it out. It doesn’t offer much room for automobile parking, however, so it won’t work as a destination to start/end a bike ride. [Read more…]