Complete Guide to Georgia Bankruptcy Laws
Understanding bankruptcy laws in Georgia is vital if you are considering this debt resolution option. This guide covers everything you need to know.
Overview of the Georgia Bankruptcy Law
When your finances are stable, it is hard to imagine that you may need to appear in a Georgia bankruptcy court one day, but this may be a good option at some point. That is why it is vital to understand Georgia’s bankruptcy proceedings if the time comes and filing bankruptcy is your best option.
The U.S. bankruptcy code governs the bankruptcy courts at the federal level. However, each state has its own rules to protect its citizens’ properties in a bankruptcy case. Although you can choose either the federal bankruptcy exemptions or the state exemptions in most states, you must use the state exemptions when filing for bankruptcy in Georgia.
It is essential to understand Georgia bankruptcy statutes and ensure you fulfill all of them as you file your bankruptcy case. Unless you have fulfilled all the laws and requirements, your bankruptcy case may be thrown out, and you will be forced to wait before filing a new lawsuit.
Basic Bankruptcy Laws in Georgia
There are various laws and requirements that you must fulfill before filing either Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Georgia. Failure to satisfy these requirements can lead to your case being dismissed, and thus you won’t receive any debt relief, and your creditors will continue to harass you.
Here are the requirements you need to fulfill before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
- Your monthly income must be lower than the household median income for the same-sized household in Georgia.
- Failure of the above requirement means you must pass the means test, which determines whether your disposable income is enough to make partial payments for unsecured debt.
- You should not have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the last eight years and Chapter 13 in the past six years.
- You must have undertaken a credit counseling course at least 180 days before filing for bankruptcy.
- If you have attempted to file either Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy and your case was dismissed, you must wait for 181 days before filing another bankruptcy petition.
Here are the requirements for filing the Chapter 13 payment plan:
- You must have sufficient income to pay the monthly payments you agreed upon in your repayment plan.
- A payment plan must include repayment of some priority debts in full, such as alimony, child support, and non-dischargeable payments.
- Any unsecured debt such as medical bills and secured debt such as mortgage payments or a car loan must be within the set limits.
- You must have proof that you filed state and federal tax returns for the last four years.
- You must attend a confirmation hearing before a judge (about two months after the bankruptcy filing date), and the judge will have to assess your bankruptcy case and determine if creditors have any objections.
- You must complete a credit counseling course offered by an approved agency within 180 days before presenting your case in Georgia bankruptcy courts.
- If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy and got dismissed, you must wait for 181 days or more before trying again.
Filing for Bankruptcy in GA
Filling a case in a bankruptcy court is not a light decision. But at times, it is your best choice when creditors are breathing down your neck, and you risk losing your home and other properties.
Before you can file a bankruptcy case, you must take credit counseling from an approved counseling agency. The counseling will help you understand your financial situation and determine whether bankruptcy is the best option for you.
The next step is to fill out the required paperwork and submit it to the Georgia federal district court where you reside. You must include all of your financial information, such as monthly income and expenses, list of assets, and list of debts.
After submitting the paperwork, you will be given a date to appear in court and a trustee will be appointed to your case. The trustee will review your petition and financial situation and decide whether to approve or deny your case. If approved, the bankruptcy process will begin and your creditors will be notified.
If you have any questions about the bankruptcy process, you can speak to a qualified attorney for advice. It is important to seek legal help to understand all of the federal and state laws that apply to your case.
There is more to a bankruptcy than filing the bankruptcy forms. Bear in mind that when you file a bankruptcy petition, it is sent to a federal bankruptcy court because federal courts have jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases. That is why it is vital to ensure that you do your research when choosing a bankruptcy lawyer and only work with professionals.
New Georgia Bankruptcy Laws
As Georgia’s bankruptcy laws are constantly evolving, an experienced bankruptcy lawyer is vital to ensure you stay up-to-date.
Your lawyer will help you collect and fill in all the necessary information for a successful bankruptcy case. They will also help you understand Georgia bankruptcy statutes and how they apply to your lawsuit.
Once you have done with credit counseling and are ready to choose whether to file for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, it’s time to understand other laws. A bankruptcy attorney will help you understand Georgia homestead exemption laws and protected properties when you file for bankruptcy.
Under federal law, you are allowed to keep a certain amount of assets when you file for bankruptcy. But federal law is constantly changing, so it’s important to know what is currently protected.
It is in your best interest to understand all of the federal and state bankruptcy laws that apply to your specific case. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer will be able to help you every step of the way.
Cost to File Bankruptcy in GA
Most people file for bankruptcy because debts overcome them, and they realize they may not have the means to pay their creditors in their current financial position. That is why it is crucial to understand the fees involved to determine whether you can afford to pay or not.
Understanding how much it will cost to file for bankruptcy in Georgia will help you determine whether you can afford the filing and attorney fees.
If you can afford both, you will be able to hire a bankruptcy attorney who will guide you on whether Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good option. The key is choosing an affordable bankruptcy lawyer like Bournakis & Mitchell.
Additionally, a bankruptcy lawyer can guide you on how to take advantage of Georgia bankruptcy exemptions to protect your properties against creditors and the bankruptcy trustee. A great lawyer will ensure you understand Georgia’s bankruptcy filing cost before starting the process.
How Much Does It Cost to File Bankruptcy in GA?
If you want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Georgia, you will be charged a filing fee of $338. If you’re going to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will pay $313. The filing fee remains the same whether you choose to file the bankruptcy forms independently or have legal representation. However, the automatic stay will not be issued and bankruptcy protection from creditors won’t start until the fee is paid.
Choosing to file a bankruptcy case yourself may seem like the cheaper alternative, but then you will be missing out on the guidance of an experienced legal team.
Apart from offering you legal advice, bankruptcy attorneys have extensive knowledge about legal proceedings, and thus they can ensure that you win the bankruptcy case. Therefore, it is in your best interest to work with reliable bankruptcy attorneys in Georgia to get the debt relief you need to start your life anew.
What Happens When You File for Bankruptcy in Georgia?
Filling a bankruptcy case is a court process like any other, and thus it does not just happen overnight. Although it helps you get debt relief and prevents creditors from seizing personal property, filing for bankruptcy affects your credit score, so weighing all options is essential.
That is why as you try to sort your financial status, you must also work on improving your credit scores so that creditors accept your applications in the future. Additionally, ensure that you don’t delay paying the amounts you agreed upon if you choose the Chapter 13 payment plan.
For more information, contact our trusted bankruptcy law firm today for an attorney-client relationship.