The Bankruptcy Process
The Basics of Declaring Bankruptcy in Georgia
Before declaring bankruptcy in the State of Georgia, you must first determine if it is necessary for your situation. Bankruptcy can help those who are already in a fragile financial situation, and suddenly fall on hard times. Whether you are struggling with large amounts of credit card or other unsecured debt, facing a sudden loss of employment, injury, or divorce, you may be able to get a fresh start by filing bankruptcy.
The two most common types of bankruptcy filings are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13:
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation process. Under chapter 7, nonexempt assets are liquidated to satisfy the debts of the debtor. Some debts or property may be exempted with approval by the court.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a wage-earner plan. By declaring chapter 13, the debtors are granted a re-payment plan based on their disposable income. The plan is approved and overseen by a Chapter 13 trustee.
When declaring bankruptcy under either chapter, the goal is the discharge of the debts. The discharge occurs with the issuance of an Order of Discharge by the court.
Declaring bankruptcy may not always be the right decision.
United States Bankruptcy Law is designed to help those facing “unpayable debt”. However, there are some types of debt that may not be discharged in bankruptcy. For example, a student loan is not dischargeable, except in cases of “undue” or extreme hardship.
Debt that is considered exempt in a court of law is also not dischargeable. Most exceptions to discharge fall into three general categories: taxes, family court orders, and debts incurred by criminal acts. This information is important to know up front, before you file.
The decision to file versus other alternatives requires a thorough, systematic review of your income, debts, and property.
If you have questions about whether bankruptcy is right for you, you may want to seek credit counseling from a reputable agency and a free consultation from our experienced bankruptcy attorneys. It is important to understand the long term effects of a filing and understand your alternatives before you decide to file.
Free Bankruptcy Consultation
The first step in the bankruptcy process is to meet with one of our bankruptcy attorneys. We provide a free one-hour bankruptcy consultation to all prospective bankruptcy clients.
In order to ensure that your consultation is as productive as possible, we recommend that you first fill out our online bankruptcy evaluation form. Your information will be submitted directly to our bankruptcy team for review. A member from our team will then contact you to schedule your free consultation.
Before the consultation, you will need to gather your financial documents. Prior to filing your case in bankruptcy court, you will need to provide our bankruptcy team with documents included on our Bankruptcy Checklist. The Bankruptcy Checklist is located at the bottom of this article. To download and print this Bankruptcy Checklist, please click the button below.
You will meet with one of our bankruptcy paralegals and/or attorneys. Our paralegals and attorneys have successfully handled thousands of bankruptcy cases, and know the bankruptcy code well. We will take detailed notes to make sure that we have the most accurate information.
During Your Consultation
During the initial consultation, you will explain your financial situation. We will ask questions to ensure we have a thorough understanding of the debt you are facing. It is important to know that we will need you to be as open as possible with us about your challenges. This will help us have a clear understanding of every aspect of your debt so that we can help you plan accordingly.
We will explain the process to you, as it relates to your case. We will also provide information about the different options for declaring bankruptcy available to you. Whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, it is important to have a full understanding so that you can make the best choice for your circumstance. We may discuss non-bankruptcy alternatives during your initial consultation.
After we explain the process, and make sure that you understand the options available, we will then discuss the fee that we charge for our services. We will explain any additional costs that may be incurred by you in filing bankruptcy.
It is important that you understand that you have no obligation to file bankruptcy. The consultation is simply a chance for us to understand your situation, and for you to learn about your options. We will offer objective information so that you can make a well informed decision.
Your initial consultation is free whether you decide to file chapter 7, chapter 13, or not to file at all. The most important thing for you to remember is that you do have options.
We encourage you to do your research prior to deciding whether or not to file. While declaring bankruptcy can provide relief from debt, there are always many factors to consider. You must determine if it is the correct course of action for your future. We strive to make sure you have all of the information you need to make the best decision for your financial future.
Below is a list of things you will need to have with you to your consultation. These items will help us more fully understand your circumstances and help you decide if declaring bankruptcy your best course of action.
Proof of Income. This includes:
Pay stubs from the last six (6) months
Your spouse’s last six (6) months pay-stubs
Your last two (2) years tax returns (including last years W2)
Last three (3) months of bank statements of ALL accounts associated with your name
Proof of debts. This includes:
House loan- monthly statement or payment book & original papers (if available)
(This includes warranty deeds, closing documents, etc.)
Car/truck loans- monthly statement or payment book & original papers (if available)
Payments on account to a retail merchant- monthly statement & credit agreement (if available)
Personal loans- monthly statement & original loan documents (if available)
Last three (3) months of bank statements of ALL accounts associated with your name
Monthly credit card statements
Medicals- statements and/or letters
Collections- letters or statements from collection agencies or law firms
Taxes- letters/notices from tax authorities (IRS, state or county)
Other debts- letters or statements
Credit report (if your credit is an issue due to actions of other spouse)
Proof of value of assets. This includes:
Recent appraisals on house/land owned by you individually or jointly with anyone
Copies of any statements regarding retirement accounts for you or your spouse
Copies of any statements regarding life insurance policies for you or your spouse
Proof of identification. This includes:
Your Driver’s license
Your Social Security card
Other documents. This includes:
All leases/contracts on rental buildings that you own.
Any court documents regarding lawsuits you are a party to
Your divorce decrees and modifications of divorce decrees (if previously married)
Any court orders relating to children (e.g., legitimation order, paternity order, etc.)
Freecreditreport.com will provide one free credit report each year, if you do not have one.
The credit counseling classes you are required to take before and after filing bankruptcy can be taken online.
Below is the approved credit counseling company we recommend:
Summit Financial Education
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