While most bankruptcy cases follow a typical cadence, getting familiar with all that comes with filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Atlanta is a good way to prepare. In addition to some helpful questions to ask your Chapter 7 attorney, also consider the following steps to take towards filing and how Georgia bankruptcies might differ from other states.
If you are unsure of the route that’s best for you, take a look through our article to better understand the nuances of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Steps to Take
Find the Right Lawyer. The first step is to call a skilled chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, like the attorneys at CMC Law. You will need someone with extensive experience in bankruptcy law, and our bankruptcy attorneys know Georgia law inside and out. The right bankruptcy lawyer should be someone you can trust to keep your best interest on the forefront. Fill out our online contact form for a free bankruptcy evaluation!
Analyze Debts. Once you have secured your trusted bankruptcy lawyer, analyze the sum of your debts together to determine their classifications and, subsequently, their eligibility for discharge. Some debts, like child support obligations, most student loans, and recent tax debt are not eligible to be wiped out with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will be asked to determine whether you want to “redeem” any property pledged as collateral to your creditors via lump sum, “reaffirm” the debt and pay per the contract, or “surrender” the property and allow the creditor to repossess it. Depending on your state, you may have other options available to you.
Prepare for Continued Education. Individuals filing for bankruptcy are required to complete a course before or sometimes shortly after filing. The first course will consist of credit counseling information, and the second – which is taken following the successful filing of required paperwork – will be a debtor education course. Before your discharge can be completed, you will need to complete the course and submit the earned certificate by the deadline. If you miss this deadline, prepare for the added fees and expenses that will come along as you file to reopen the case.
Fill Out and File Forms. While this may go without saying, there are steps to take to prepare for the filing process. For example, you will need to compile a list for your attorney of all the names of your creditors, properties, income, exemptions and what you want to do with your assets. Additionally, you should be prepared to disclose any property transactions that have taken place up to 10 years before your case. Your bankruptcy lawyer will be able to help you pull and complete all the correct forms needed for your filing.
How is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Atlanta, Georgia Different?
While bankruptcy falls under federal law, there are ways the states differ in their bankruptcy filing practices and limitations. For example, in Georgia, there is a homestead limit exemption for up to $21,500 for real estate if the debtor resides at the homestead exemption. This means that unless the value of your home exceeds the amount still owed, your trustee would not profit off of the sale of the home. The $21,500 would be applied if the value of the home exceeds the mortgage to protect your home from creditor sale.
Bankruptcy exemptions in Georgia can also protect assets like vehicles, 401ks or other retirement savings plans, some types of cash, household furnishings, etc., with the help of the right lawyer.
When to Call an Attorney for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Atlanta
In addition to the steps and differences listed above, there are an incredible number of nuances in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Having a skilled chapter 7 attorney on-hand will not only help you navigate this difficult and challenging time, but it will also prepare you with a solid partner to make the right decisions throughout the process.