Filing Without An Attorney
Corporations and partnerships must have an attorney to file a bankruptcy case. Individuals, however, may represent themselves in bankruptcy court.
While individuals can file a bankruptcy case without an attorney or “pro se,” it can be difficult. Hiring a competent attorney is highly recommended because many bankruptcy issues can be very complicated and it can be difficult to prepare the required paperwork. It is very important that a bankruptcy case be filed and handled correctly because a misstep may affect a debtor’s rights. More information from uscourts.gov website
Individual debtors are generally required to obtain credit counseling from an approved provider within 180 days before filing a case, and to file a statement of compliance and a certificate of credit counseling furnished by the provider. Failure to do so may result in dismissal of the case. See Before You File for more information.
Legal Advice & Resources
The Bankruptcy Clerk’s Office is not permitted to provide you with legal advice. Your local library has law books that may be of assistance to you. Links to some Bankruptcy Resources are available on this web site. Additionally, helpful filing information is contained under this Filing Without an Attorney tab, the General Information tab and the Attorney information tab.
The Pro Se Assistance Project offers a Pro Se Assistance Center staffed by volunteer bankruptcy attorneys and law students. – Read More
Protecting Your Social Security Number
How Much Are Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Fees In Ga
A bankruptcy filing fee is the same in every state because these fees are set by the court system and federal laws. The filing fee for Georgia Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $338, effective December 1, 2020.
You have to pay the filing fee at the same time you file a petition for bankruptcy with the Court. Filing fees are the same, no matter if you are retaining bankruptcy attorneys or not. If you do, you also have to pay attorneys fees in addition.
The day you have filed bankruptcy forms to the court is in some cases called the filing date. It is important because on that date everything is set in motion. For example, as soon as you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Georgia, an automatic stay is imposed.
The state of Georgia has laws that will protect debtors from debt collectors, one of the most important is the automatic stay. It prevents creditors from pursuing any collection efforts from that moment forward. This includes taking legal action against you. Although the automatic stay is considered temporary, it will protect the debtor from creditors the whole time until Chapter 7 is discharged. At that point it will be no longer needed because once Chapter 7 is discharged in Georgia, the debt is gone forever. Creditors can no longer attempt to collect the debts that have been discharged.
When you file for bankruptcy, the clerk assigns a case number, a judge, as well as a bankruptcy trustee. After that, the 341 meeting is scheduled.
Preparing For Bankruptcy In Georgia
The general steps required in the bankruptcy timeline are relatively similar whether youre undergoing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. The first few steps tend to occur before your lawyer files the paperwork with the court.
- . The 2005 Bankruptcy Act introduced a credit counseling requirement for anyone interested in filing for bankruptcy. The credit counseling must be completed within 6 months of filing.
- Means test. The means test will use your average income to determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy . The means test takes the median income for Georgia and compares it against your own.
- Paperwork. Filing for bankruptcy means gathering a lot of paperwork. The filing will include an itemized list of your income and all of the financial transactions youve had in the past 2 years as well as a list of your living expenses, assets and debts.
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Are There Alternatives To Bankruptcy
The short answer is yes. A debtor should always investigate other methods of solving his or her financial problems prior to deciding to file for bankruptcy relief. Bankruptcy is typically considered a last resort measure. A debtor has some options available other than bankruptcy such as credit counseling, negotiating settlements with creditors with or without the assistance of an attorney or some form of out-of-court settlement.
Each debtors financial circumstances are unique and deciding whether one option is better than another is determined on a case-by-case basis. It is always a good idea for those experiencing financial difficulties to seek out assistance from professionals who handle such matters.
Filing For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In Georgia
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, many of your debts can be forgiven. You need to earn below a certain income threshold to qualify, however and if you have any assets of value, some may have to be sold to pay off your creditors.
The process can take four to six months if you have a relatively simple case. Here are a few key benchmarks in the process.
Filing your petition and getting a bankruptcy stay. The first thing that happens is youll file a petition for bankruptcy with the Federal Bankruptcy Court and receive a case number.
Immediately after you file, the court will issue a bankruptcy stay or protection from collections. That means creditors have to stop calling you for the duration of the proceeding.
The stay will be sent to creditors via the mail, and your reprieve should start almost immediately.
The Meeting of Creditors. Within a month or so of your filing, youll have to sit through a Meeting of Creditors. Chapter 7 filers usually dont go in front of a judge this is likely the only meeting youll have to attend.
In most circumstances, the only person at the meeting will be your court-appointed trustee. This person will look over your paperwork, ask questions about your finances, look into any possibility of fraud, and determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7.
These lenders and creditors have the right to do this, because youre seeking to discharge what you owe them as part of your bankruptcy.
However, it isnt a common occurrence.
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Georgia Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Explained
A Chapter 7 discharge is a permanent order from the court prohibiting creditors from taking any form of collection action on discharged debts. This includes legal action and communications with the debtor, such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contacts. While the debtor already had any temporary collection attempts halted with an automatic stay, the discharge is permanent.
The Courts will give the debtors creditors ample time to file any objections. After that period has elapsed, they will send you a letter stating that your Chapter 7 bankruptcy has been discharged.
If you have already filed bankruptcy, you cant do it again in a couple of months or a year. The Bankruptcy Code requires that you have to wait a certain period of time to be eligible for another discharge. If you had received Chapter 7 discharge before, you have to wait 8 years between the filing dates.
Cherney Law Firm can help you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. We have 3 locations in the Atlanta, Georgia area, including Offices in Cobb, Cherokee, and Fulton Counties, and serve all of the cities in the Atlanta Metro area.
We offer a 100% free consultation. Let us help you relieve the stress that your debt is causing you. Wage garnishment, repossession, foreclosure, credit card debt, and judgments are our areas of specialty. We accept payment plans.
How Do I Choose The Right Attorney For A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
One of the questions that we are constantly asked is, how do you choose the right attorney? I would suggest that you research and check on the credentials of the attorney. You want to make sure in Georgia that, if youre choosing an attorney to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, that attorney has experience in Chapter 7 bankruptcies, Chapter 13 bankruptcies, and what we call consumer bankruptcies. You want to make sure that they know all the ins and out, that they know the trustee, that they know the judges, that they know the rules so that youre not caught unprepared. If you have any questions, please give our office a call. We will gladly provide you whatever information you need concerning the filing of a Chapter 7.
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How Long Does It Take To File Bankruptcy Chapter 13 In Georgia
If you want to declare bankruptcy in Georgia, the time taken to file and get a discharge is determined by whether you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. To file Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Georgia, a person must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing.
Once youve established long-term residency, the whole bankruptcy filing process can take anywhere from four to six months for a simple case and a bit longer for more complicated cases. Some of this time is set aside for the court to determine which of your assets fall under the Georgia bankruptcy exemptions, as exemption laws dictate which assets you can keep.
How Do I File A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
One of the initial questions that we always receive regarding bankruptcy is how to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Georgia. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is similar to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Theyre basically the forms that your attorney would have. You can come into the office and bring in all your information concerning debts, assets, wages, bank statements, income taxes. You sit down with an attorney, and you work through that, and put those into a schedule.
Those schedules are then filed with the bankruptcy court. Once those schedules are accepted by the bankruptcy court, then you have a meeting of creditors held within 30 days after the filing. After that, you will receive your discharge within three to four months afterwards. If you have any questions on how to file a bankruptcy, just give our office a call. We will be happy to help you.
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Mail Documents To Your Trustee
Youâll find out who your bankruptcy trustee is when you receive Form 309A from the court. The notice is a standard form and the name and contact information for your bankruptcy trustee is listed under number 5 on page 1 of the form.
The Bankruptcy Code requires that you provide a copy of your most recent tax return to your trustee no later than 7 days before your 341 meeting. Your trustee may also ask for bank statements and paycheck stubs or other documents. Your 341 meeting will go much smoother if the trustee gets the documents on time. So, make sure to carefully review everything you receive from the court and the trustee right away.
Initiating A Bankruptcy Filing In Georgia
Filing for bankruptcy is not a decision you wake up and take. Ensure that you have exhausted all the other options and have understood the federal law before filing for bankruptcy in Georgia, for example, disposable income, personal property, unsecured debt, etc.
Additionally, ensure that you consult attorneys in Dalton, GA, concerning your options and the course of action to take before filing for bankruptcy. You must also ensure you understand how bankruptcy law works as you prepare to file your case.
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Where Filing For Bankruptcy Doesnt Help
Filing for bankruptcy is not the solution to all debt-related problems. Heres what it cannot do
- Stop a secured creditor from foreclosing or repossessing any kind of property you cant afford
- Get rid of child support and alimony obligations
- Remove student loans, unless the circumstances are extraordinary
- Eliminate most tax debts, especially recent ones
- Remove other non-dischargeable debts
- Clear debt that resulted in a fraud
Your Bankruptcy Discharge Could Be Denied
It is important to note that some actions, such as, making false statements, or concealing property could cause your discharge to be denied. A qualified attorney can help you understand the rules and navigate the process.
For more information on the rules regarding when and how you can file for bankruptcy in Georgia, consult an attorney at Jeff Field & Associates. Call the firm at 404-381-1278 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.
Jeff Field & Associates is located in Scottdale, GA and serves clients in and around Scottdale, Clarkston, Avondale Estates, Decatur, Pine Lake, Stone Mountain, Tucker, Atlanta, Dekalb County and Fulton County.
Attorney Advertising. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.
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Bankruptcy Chapter 7 In Georgia
If you’re overwhelmed by debts like credit card bills, medical expenses, or back taxes, filing for Chapter 7 can give you another shot at financial success. It is the most common type of consumer bankruptcy filed in the U.S. and is the quickest way to get rid of your unsecured debt. DebtStoppers often sees our Georgia clients become debt-free in a matter of just a few short weeks!
The Workings Of A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
One of our Georgia bankruptcy lawyers is going to assist you through the whole process involved in filing for Chapter 7. You have two forms of debt: secured and unsecured.
Secured debt would be something like a mortgage, car loan, furniture debt, etc., while unsecured debt would be something like credit cards, personal notes, some overdue taxes or student loans. Child support and alimony are treated separately.
Job Loss In Athens Georgia
Loss of a job is one of the most common reasons people choose to file for bankruptcy. Although losing a job can sometimes be nothing more than a temporary financial setback, there are instances when, for various reasons, someone may face enormous difficulties securing employment after being let go.
This can force them to rely on credit or their savings to a greater degree than they may have planned. As a result, they may eventually find themselves in significant debt.
Again, no blog entry can tell you whether filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is absolutely the right decision given your circumstances. The fact that you lost a job doesnt necessarily mean you should immediately file for bankruptcy without consulting with an expert first. However, if long-term unemployment has taken a major toll on your finances, you should strongly consider reviewing your case with an attorney to discuss your options. They can let you know if filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a wise choice.
You should also be aware that, perhaps counterintuitively, there are some rare occasions when filing for bankruptcy may be a good idea even if youve just taken on a job that pays more than your past job did. This is because when deciding whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a court will account for your income. If you make too much money, you wont qualify. For every month that you work in a new, higher-paying position, your chances of qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may diminish.
Is Bankruptcy An Answer To Debt Relief
A Disability May Occur To Anyone At Any Point In Time causing serious medical debt
A disability may occur to anyone at any point in time, but the gaping fact is the treatment and costs associated with medical treatment from a doctor or hospital. The treatment of a person may be quite expensive. The person may not have enough and may have to take loans to get treated. The loan could mount to more than a person will make in their entire lifetime and make it difficult for the person to ever clear their debts. Getting a disability benefit may help him swing through the daily chores and monthly living but will not help him clear the loans and get a fresh start from the debt. With disability, the person cannot be employed for gainful income and hence is left with little or no resources to clear the debt. People stuck in such problems can opt for filing a bankruptcy case.
There are two chapters in the USA court that allows the debtor to file a case under bankruptcyChapter 7 & Chapter 13. The applicant needs to fill out the form above describing his / her situation and the need as per their requirement, the legal representatives will offer suggestions will offer free bankruptcy advice during the consultation and the cost to file for bankruptcy.
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Filing For Personal Bankruptcy In Georgia
There are two forms of bankruptcy you can file: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy file means liquidating your assets to pay off your creditors. However, some assets are exempted, so you get to keep them if they fall under the category of exemption. It is essential to understand what assets fall under the Georgia bankruptcy exemptions. They include the equity for your home and car, your pensions, Social Security payments, personal belongings, and the tools you need for employment, among others.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy means you keep your assets, but you must agree to repay your debts over a period of three to five years. Therefore, this type of bankruptcy suits people who want to retain their assets and buy time to pay loans to avoid repossession and foreclosure.
Will I Lose A Valuable Asset Such As My Home Or Car If I File For Bankruptcy
Depending on the type of bankruptcy a debtor files and their financial circumstances, you may or may not lose your home. If a debtor files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and has a home with equity, then there is the possibility that he or she could lose that home. It depends on how much equity the debtor has in the home. Georgia allows a certain dollar amount of any equity in a home to be exempt from the bankruptcy. If a debtor files an individual case, he or she may exempt up to $21,500 of equity in their primary residence and if a married couple files, then the amount doubles. If the debtors equity falls between these figures then no, they may not lose their home, however if the equity is higher, then the possibility exists. Equity in a vehicle works the same way with the figures being $3,500 for an individual filer.
If on the other hand, a debtor files a Chapter 13 case and has equity over the exemption amount, then he or she can keep the home provided they pay their unsecured creditors an amount equal to the nonexempt equity. If the debtor believes he or she cannot afford to keep the collaterized property because of the financial situation, there is an option to surrender the property back to the creditor.
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