Debt Settlement

Is Debt settlement a good alternative to filing bankruptcy in Georgia? If you are in debt, the question of whether debt settlement is better than bankruptcy has probably crossed your mind. People do not want to file bankruptcy for a number of reasons, including bankruptcy’s effect on credit score, a sense of obligation to repay debt, or even the fear of losing a job for filing bankruptcy.

Some of my clients have been able to settle their debts for as little as 10% of the original balance, and debt settlement is a viable and good alternative to bankruptcy. Whether you can or want to do it depends on your circumstances. You should consider some of the following information as you decide how to resolve your debt problems.

Who is a Debt Settlement Good For?

  • Have access to large lump sums of cash to pay creditors;
  • Have a high income that would require a high repayment percentage in Chapter 13 or disqualify them from filing Chapter 7 under the bankruptcy means test in Georgia;
  • Have assets that are not protected by applicable Georgia bankruptcy exemptions and would be subject to liquidation in Chapter 7 or a high percentage repayment plan in Chapter 13;
  • Transferred property with equity out of their names within the last four years; or,
  • Have jobs in the financial or other industry that scrutinizes creditworthiness and the filing of bankruptcy for licensing purposes.

Debt settlement is the most successful when you have a lump sum to pay creditors. That is, while it is possible to do so, settling a debt via a monthly payment is more difficult than with a one-time lump payment. Not only will you be able to settle your debts for less with a lump sum, you will not be obligated to monthly payments for an extended period of time. In my experience, debtors who are able to offer one-time lump sum settlements to creditors are often able to settle their debts for 10% to 40% of their balances. If you are not in a position to make one lump sum payment, you may want to consider filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows you to consolidate your debts into one monthly payment with no interest or late fees.

Debt settlement will result in the issuance of a 1099 that requires you to pay income taxes on the portion of the debt that the creditors forgive. When you settle a debt for less than the amount you owe, creditors will write off the difference as a loss and issue you a 1099 for that amount. For example, if you settle a $30,000.00 debt for $10,000.00, the creditor will issue a 1099 for $20,000.00, on which you will have to pay income tax. On the other hand, debt that is discharged in bankruptcy is not subject to income tax.

Debt settlement is easier when you have stopped paying your creditors for an extended period of time; thus, strategizing to settle debt will probably cause your credit score to drop. Many people believe that negotiating a settlement with their creditors will save their credit. However, the likelihood of settling your debt a small percentage of what you actually owe is higher if you have not paid the creditor for 6 months or a year. What that means to your credit score is that the failure to make timely payments is reported to the credit bureaus and dings your credit rating. While bankruptcy also dings your credit rating, negotiating debt settlements in lieu of bankruptcy will not avoid dings to your credit score.

Determine if Debt Settlement is For You

In order to determine whether debt settlement is an option for you, please call an Atlanta debt settlement attorney at the Law Offices of Charles Clapp at 404.585.0040 or to schedule a free consultation.


Charles is absolutely a brilliant attorney! He is a critical thinker and determined problem solver. He is very accessible, even via text. If he is in court, his ability to multi-task, you can feel safe and secure in knowing he is handling any issues or concerns. I entrust him with my future, he is a uniquely talented attorney who always challenges himself to achieve the absolute best outcome for his clients.



I was very satisfied with Mr. Clapp services. He is a man of his word and did everything he told me he would. I would highly recommend him.



I came to Mr. Clapp by referral with a complicated case involving both personal and business debts that were out of control. Mr. Clapp evaluated the situation and gave me options that I was not even aware of. He knows his stuff, executed flawlessly, and I have been able to start over. I highly recommend Charles Clapp if you have debt or bankruptcy issues. Listen to his advice, he knows his stuff. I consulted with several other bankruptcy attorneys prior to retaining Mr. Clapp, and they did not have the same breadth of knowledge that Mr. Clapp brought to my case.



I selected Charles Clapp to handle my bankruptcy based on his already positive reviews and I am glad that I did! He was very accommodating to my schedule and made my negative life experience positive. I was actually very surprised how easy he made the process. Life happens and it’s great to be represented by someone that understand that!!! Stop your attorney search with Charles Clapp!!!