If you are looking to file for bankruptcy in Atlanta or anywhere in the state of Georgia, it is important to know the specific processes you will have to follow. There are key differences between filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and processes may vary from state to state. Keep reading to learn about the legal progression in Georgia for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 (the most common types of bankruptcy filings).
Chapter 7 Filing for Bankruptcy in Atlanta
- Usually, the process is 4-6 months.
- With Chapter 7, many debts can be forgiven.
- To qualify, filers cannot make above a certain annual income.
- Filers need to pass a means test. This determines if a household income is lower than the Georgia median income. Fortunately, some expenses can be deducted. A means test exemption occurs when over half of your debts are non-consumer. Non-consumer debts include business, medical, taxes, and in some cases, student loans
- If a debtor does not pass the means test, their case can be dismissed or they can file Chapter 13.
- File a bankruptcy petition with the Federal Bankruptcy Court to receive a case number and get a stay. A bankruptcy stay, also known as an automatic stay, temporarily halts creditors from trying to retrieve money from you or call you during your filing.
- Choose a court-appointed trustee. This person will review your paperwork and financial documents, dissect your finances, verify if any fraud occurred, and determine if you qualify.
- Within a month or two, attend your Meeting of Creditors with your trustee. Creditors can attend to ask questions about your finances and spending, but this is not common. Lenders can also attend to inquire about your current loans with them, although this is also rare.
- Your trustee will write a report detailing your finances, debts you can have cleared (discharged), and any assets that can be sold to pay off debts.
- The report is issued to the court. Creditors have 90 days to object to any cleared debts.
- Attend credit counseling (only through approved providers). You have 45 days from your Meeting of Creditors to complete the course and file your certificate to the court.
- After successful competition of the above, you will receive relief from debt.
Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Atlanta
- Debtors usually file for Chapter 13 when they do not pass the means test for Chapter 7 (make too much money).
- A means test is required to determine your disposable income and how much you can put toward your debts every month.
- It is not common for filers to lose property and other assets.
- Debts are not discharged immediately. Filers are put on a 3-5 year repayment plan approved by a judge to pay some percentage of the debts.
- At the end of the plan, the rest of your debts can be cleared.
- Create a repayment plan in which you can make monthly payments and still pay your household expenses.
- File a bankruptcy petition and a repayment plan with the Federal Bankruptcy Court to receive a case number and bankruptcy stay. This is also known as an automatic stay and temporarily halts creditors from trying to obtain money or call you during your filing.
- Choose a court-appointed trustee. This person reviews your paperwork and financial documents, dissects your finances, verifies if any fraud occurred, and determines if your repayment plan is possible.
- Attend a Meeting of Creditors with your trustee within a month or two of filing. Creditors and lenders can attend to speak.
- Complete one financial education training course by an approved provider.
- Attend a bankruptcy hearing in front of a judge. He/she will analyze your case and listen to any creditor objections.
- There are two outcomes. You will receive a confirmation outlining the terms of bankruptcy based on the payment plan. Oppositely, your case can be dismissed if the judge finds a reason for you not to be granted bankruptcy.
- Complete another financial management course by the end of your repayment plan before your case is closed.
Chapter 7 & 13 Bankruptcy in Atlanta: The Best Legal Counsel
Without a doubt, a successful filing for bankruptcy in Atlanta means hiring professional, experienced legal counsel. Hire the best of the best in Atlanta and all of Georgia, Charles M. Clapp, founder of CMC Law.
Contact CMC Law today or call 404.585.0040 for a free bankruptcy evaluation and expert legal counsel before you file. We can get started on your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.