Everything You Need to Know About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in GA
Chapter 7 bankruptcy could be the solution to your mounting debt. Find out if Chapter 7 bankruptcy in GA is the right option for you.
The Basics of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Georgia
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as total liquidation, is typically the fastest way to discharge almost all financial obligations and stop pending collection activity, including garnishments.
At Bournakis & Mitchell, P.C., our experienced Northwest Georgia bankruptcy attorney can discuss your options and determine your eligibility for filing bankruptcy.
In Georgia, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legal procedure that permits you to discharge your unsecured debts. Although it is uncommon, some of your assets may be liquidated to partially reimburse your creditors before the remainder of your debts are discharged. That means you’re not required to pay them!
The majority of your consumer secured debts may be eligible for relief through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, including:
Balance on credit card
Utilities not paid
Personal loans with no collateral
Bankruptcy will not release you from:
Because Chapter 7 only allows you to discharge unsecured consumer debts, it is best suited for persons who do not own a home or other significant assets.
What Happens in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
The bankruptcy process begins when you file a petition with the court. This document, also known as a bankruptcy petition, is a sworn statement that lists your name, address, Social Security number, and a description of your debts and assets.
After the bankruptcy petition is filed, a bankruptcy case trustee is appointed to your case. This person is responsible for reviewing your bankruptcy petition and schedules, investigating your bankruptcy case, and making recommendations to the court.
The bankruptcy trustee has the authority to take control of your assets and liquidate them to pay your creditors. However, the bankruptcy code requires the trustee first to reach an agreement with your creditors to see if they will accept a lesser payment.
Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Georgia and Debt Relief
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Georgia may be frightening, but you will begin to receive debt relief as soon as you file. Your attorneys will file bankruptcy with the nearest bankruptcy court to start the bankruptcy process.
Once the bankruptcy forms are filed, the Georgia bankruptcy court will issue an automatic stay, which will prevent your creditors from contacting you or attempting to collect from you.
After you file your bankruptcy petition, a case trustee will convene a 341 meeting and invite your creditors to oppose your debt being discharged. Even though creditors rarely show up, your attorney will make sure you’re prepared and accompany you to this appointment.
The trustee will handle your case after the 341 meetings. Although the trustee has the authority to sell assets to repay your creditors, this rarely occurs.
Furthermore, Georgia law enables you to keep the following:
- Up to $5,000 of personal property
- $5,000 worth of vehicles
- Defined-benefit retirement plans
- IRA, 401K, and 403B plans
How to Apply for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Georgia on Your Own
Every year, many Americans cannot pay off their obligations and are unable to file for bankruptcy. It should be no surprise that attorneys’ fees account for the lion’s share of bankruptcy costs.
“Do I really need bankruptcy lawyers to file for bankruptcy?” you may be wondering.
The complexity of your case mostly determines it. If you have little property and don’t make a lot of money, you may file for bankruptcy on your own (without a lawyer). However, while declaring bankruptcy on your own can save you money, it is a major undertaking.
You’ll need to gather all of your financial documents, file a large amount of paperwork on schedule, and interact with your bankruptcy trustee. You’ll also need to learn about the applicable state and federal laws.
Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy puts an automatic stay into effect, which stops most collection actions and prevents creditors from initiating or continuing lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls seeking payment. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy applies to all debts, excluding child support, most tax debts, and student loans.
However, they may not apply to secured debts that the court declares non-dischargeable due to a creditor’s objection in the case of fraud or malicious action.
If you want to learn more about Georgia bankruptcy laws and you are in need of a bankruptcy lawyer, contact the Bournakis & Mitchell law firm at (706) 295-7376 for a free consultation on your case. Our attorneys will answer your phone directly, rather than paralegal staff, and help you right away!
Why Do Clients Choose Bournakis & Mitchell, P.C.?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is available to individuals, corporations, partners, and married couples. If a person fails to meet the required criteria for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court may convert the case to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
At Bournakis & Mitchell, P.C., we stay current with changing rules, laws, and court rulings and pride ourselves on thorough preparation for every case.
We offer non-judgmental counsel for clients throughout GA
We find solutions to help you live debt-free
We work hard so you can get rid of debt once and for all
We inform you of your options so you can make empowered decisions
We help you take proactive steps to a brighter financial future
What Is the Cost of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Georgia?
Because each case and client is unique, legal fees vary.
In addition to legal fees, all filers must pay a $355 filing fee to the court. The automatic stay is not given, and bankruptcy protection is not initiated until this charge is paid. That $335 can be out of reach for many people.
Other bankruptcy firms advertise “no-money-down” bankruptcy by offering payment plans to cover legal bills, but you still need to come up with $335 in cash before filing your case.
Filing Cost for Personal Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in GA
Bankruptcy fees are regulated by federal law and the court system, so filing for bankruptcy in every state, including Georgia, costs the same.
The charge for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $338, while the fee for filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is $313. The filing fee is the same whether you use a lawyer or not, but you’ll also have to pay legal fees if you hire a lawyer.
If you cannot pay the entire cost at once, you may request permission from the court to pay up to four payments. If you petition for Chapter 7, you can also request that the court waive the filing fee entirely (this option is not available in Chapter 13).
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Eligibility
The “means test” assesses if your income is low enough to qualify you for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It’s a mechanism designed to prohibit high-wage workers from declaring bankruptcy under Chapter 7.
High-income filers who fail the means test can utilize Chapter 13 bankruptcy to settle a portion of their debts, but they cannot use Chapter 7 bankruptcy to discharge their debts altogether.
Only those who file for bankruptcy with predominantly consumer obligations rather than company debts must take the means test.
The first stage in the means test is to assess if your income is higher than or less than the median income in your state. If you make more than the median, you must consider whether you will have enough money left over after deducting certain expenses to pay off some of your debt.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Requirements in GA
The Chapter 7 requirements under Georgia law impose limits and restrictions on who can file for bankruptcy. Before your obligations are forgiven, you must attend a credit counseling course with a trained credit counselor. You must also complete a debtor education course or financial management course.
Your attorney can put you in touch with service providers that can assist you in completing these programs.
Chapter 7 Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you appoint a bankruptcy trustee who has the authority to liquidate your assets to pay your creditors. However, declaring bankruptcy does not obligate you to give up all your assets.
Bankruptcy exemptions allow you to keep a limited amount of property after filing for bankruptcy, allowing you to start over. If you can exempt an asset in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee cannot sell it to satisfy your creditors.
The amount of property you can retain in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy depends on the value of your assets and the exemptions you can seek. Many Chapter 7 applicants keep all of their property due to exemptions.
Contact a Chapter 7 Georgia Bankruptcy Attorney
At Bournakis & Mitchell, P.C., we assist clients in filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, sometimes known as a “total debt liquidation bankruptcy,” has traditionally been utilized by people with limited assets but a substantial amount of unsecured debt. Contact us for a free consultation at (706) 295-7376. Our attorneys are also fluent in Spanish and Greek.
When seeking a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the first step is to file a petition with the bankruptcy court along with schedules of assets and liabilities, a statement of financial affairs, a schedule of current income and expenditures, and a schedule of executory contracts and expired leases.
The debtor must also provide the case trustee with a copy of the most recent tax returns or transcripts, including tax returns filed during the case. Our knowledgeable Northwest Georgia bankruptcy lawyers can walk you through the process and help ensure you have the necessary paperwork to seek a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
How Long Can Bankruptcy Chapter 7 Stay on Your Credit Report in GA?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings are typically reported on your Georgia credit report for ten years. That’s a long period, but it’s not indefinite. Furthermore, discharged obligations, such as credit card accounts, go off significantly sooner. Additionally, most new lenders look at the latest six months of credit history.
Finally, while filing for bankruptcy is a major black mark, it is preferable to repossession, foreclosure, and other negative entries. Debtors who file for bankruptcy do anything to gain control of their debt difficulties. Even in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debt payback is frequently required. Repossession and foreclosure entries show that the debtor resigned.
Bankruptcy lawyers in Dalton, GA do more than just walk you through the process and, if necessary, represent you in court. Our bankruptcy attorneys also provide debtors with the resources they need to begin rebuilding their credit ratings as soon as possible. Call our office at (706) 226-7867 to speak to a Dalton bankruptcy lawyer!
When Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Get Removed From Credit Report?
The bankruptcy public record is removed from your credit report seven or ten years after the filing date, depending on the chapter you filed.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is automatically discharged seven years after the filing date since it requires at least a partial repayment of your obligations. Because no debt is repaid, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is discharged ten years after the filing date.
What Circumstances Prevent a Debtor From Filing Chapter 7?
- The filer can repay some of the debt
- The debtor’s income is too high
- Another bankruptcy case was dismissed within the previous 180 days
- The debtor failed to meet the credit counseling requirements
- The debtor previously discharged debt through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past eight years or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the past six years
- The debtor defrauded creditors
What Additional Information Does a Debtor Need to File for Chapter 7?
- A list of all the debtor’s property
- The source, frequency, and amount of the debtor’s income
- A list of all creditors and the nature and amount of their claims
- A detailed list of the debtor’s monthly living expenses, including food, utilities, tax, shelter, clothing, transportation, and medicine