The Bankruptcy Process
Why you need to file bankruptcy in the state of Georgia
Before filing bankruptcy in the State of Georgia, you must first determine if bankruptcy is necessary for your situation. Bankruptcy can help those who are already in a fragile financial situation, and suddenly fall on hard times. Someone with large amounts of credit card debt, (or other unsecured debt), facing a sudden loss of employment, injury, or divorce, may be able to get a fresh start by filing bankruptcy. The two most common types of bankruptcy are chapter 7 bankruptcy and chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation process. Under chapter 7, nonexempt assets are liquidated to satisfy the debts of the debtor.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a wage-earner plan. Under chapter 13, the debtors are granted a repayment plan based on their disposable income. The plan is approved and overseen by a Chapter 13 trustee.
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.
Why filing 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 through bankruptcy, 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 bad 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 bankruptcy 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. If you would like 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 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. We will explain the bankruptcy process to you, as it relates to your case.
We will also provide information about the different types of bankruptcy available to you. This is so that you have the information you need to determine which type of bankruptcy is right for you. 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 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.
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 to file bankruptcy. While bankruptcy can provide relief from debt, 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.
Proof of Income. This includes:
- Your Last six (6) months of pay-stubs
- 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:
- Any 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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NOTICE RELATED TO COVID 19
Due to the Shelter in Place order issued by the Governor on April 2, 2020, we are following the CDC directives and providing the majority of our services by phone, virtual meetings and FaceTime. Please call us to schedule an appointment at 912-764-6757 for Statesboro appointments and 912-754-7078 for Springfield appointments.
The Governor’s order specifies that legal services are part of the “critical infrastructure” of Georgia, so we are allowed to conduct face-to-face appointments when absolutely necessary. However, we will enforce proper social distancing and take precautions to sanitize the office before and after your visit. An appointment must be made prior to coming to our offices.
We are eager to serve you even during this trying time. Court filings for new and existing clients may be completed through e-filing, and we are able to conference with judges by phone or virtual meetings to handle any issue you may have. Don’t hesitate to contact us via telephone or through our website www.hallnavarro.com
Thank you for your understanding.
Mike & Martha Hall, Paige Navarro, and the Staff of Hall & Navarro
Disclaimer: Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual situation. This site and its information is not official legal advice, nor is it intended to be. Feel free to get in touch by e-mail, letters or phone calls. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Until an attorney-client relationship is established, please withhold from sending any confidential information to us.