Over time, curiosity and skepticism over filing for bankruptcy have led to an increasing list of questions. Here, a seasoned Atlanta bankruptcy attorney answers a new batch of commonly asked questions regarding individual and joint filings for Chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy. Overall, bankruptcy filings in the U.S. went down in 2022. Although, specifically Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 filings rose in 2022.

Common Bankruptcy Questions

What is a Pro Se Debtor?
When you represent yourself in a bankruptcy filing/case without a bankruptcy attorney, you are called a pro se debtor. This makes you responsible for all proceedings of your case. You will need to collect all evidence, fill out all forms, meet all deadlines, attend all meetings, and represent yourself in court. The hardest part of being a pro se debtor is being versed in the bankruptcy code, rules, and court orders. Many pro se debtors accidentally fail to comply with certain requirements because they are unaware. Unfortunately, when someone does not have legal counsel to guide them, they cannot acquire legal advice from court personnel or the trustee appointed to their case. Individuals can represent themselves, although, by law, corporations are required to have a bankruptcy attorney.

Where can I Find the Required Forms to File for Bankruptcy?
Specifically, in the state of Georgia, you can go to the 13th floor of the federal courthouse to obtain bankruptcy documents or go to the bankruptcy clerk’s website. Forms are also available online from the U.S. Courts website.

What is the Bankruptcy Code?
The code of bankruptcy specifically refers to the federal bankruptcy law, Title 11 of the United States Code (11 U.S.C. sections 101-1330) that all debtors must abide by when filing.

What is a Bankruptcy Clerk and What is the Purpose of the Bankruptcy Clerk’s Office?
A bankruptcy clerk is an essential part of your bankruptcy filing; this position is paid for by taxpayers. The bankruptcy clerk’s office offers administrative and clerical support to the court and judges. Bankruptcy clerks process filed legal documents, enter judgments and orders on the docket, collect authorized fees, inform debtors of their scheduled hearings, mail notices, and handle inquiries from attorneys, debtors, and the general public.

An Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney Explains How Debt is Classified

In bankruptcy, debt is categorized as secured, unsecured, priority, or administrative.

Secured Debt: This is debt that is recognized as property. Creditors and lenders have the right to foreclose or take your property because it is a secured debt. To highlight, a mortgage loan is considered a secured debt; your lender can foreclose your home if you fail to make loan payments.

Unsecured Debt: This happens when you promise to repay someone at a particular time, but you did not propose any property (secured debt) as collateral.

Priority Debt: This is a debt that takes precedence over your other debts and cannot be forgiven. Take a look at different priority claims according to the bankruptcy code.

Administrative Debt: This is a category of priority debt that is usually created when someone provides products or services to you after your bankruptcy petition filing. An example is the fee charged by an attorney or other authorized professional for services completed after your bankruptcy case has been filed.

Hire the Best Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney to Fight Your Case

It is important to note that the bankruptcy code and the U.S. federal rules for bankruptcy procedures ultimately determine which chapter(s)of bankruptcy you are eligible to file under, which of your debts can be eliminated, which of your possessions can be kept, the length of your repayment period, and other factors. That being said, hiring a bankruptcy attorney is key to successfully filing for bankruptcy, having responsible and trustworthy legal representation in court and meetings, meeting deadlines, and understanding the bankruptcy code and all laws.

For answers to more questions about filing for bankruptcy, read this guide.

Contact CMC Law today online or call 404-585-0040 to receive the top counsel from an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney.