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How to File Bankruptcy in Georgia

How to File Bankruptcy in Georgia2018-08-20T18:29:09+00:00

There are many contributing factors that are associated with financial troubles. The most common reasons include overwhelming debt, loss of a job, divorce, foreclosure, or illness.

In fact, the average credit card debt in Georgia is a whopping $5,952 per person. In addition, foreclosure rates are also as staggering, one out of every 3,405 GA homes is currently in foreclosure.

If you can relate to the scenarios above, then you are more than likely battling other personal problems that come with being in debt. The fear of losing your vehicle, house or your money can drain a person mentally & physically. You may have even considered Declaring Bankruptcy .

If you are thinking “Should I File Bankruptcy?” you are definitely not alone. Just under a million people file bankruptcy each year in the United States. Bankruptcy is a tool created by the US Government to help struggling Americans find relief from uncontrollable debt. You may want to check your eligibility for bankruptcy if it’s best for you.

What Is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy offers people the opportunity to resolve their debt while still working with lenders in a legal capacity. It is started by an individual filing a Petition with their nearest bankruptcy court. The Petition can be filed by an individual or by spouses jointly. When the bankruptcy is done, the filer will ‘exit’ with a fresh new start.

Throughout the bankruptcy, a trustee is appointed to oversee the particulars of the case. His or her responsibilities differ and depend on whether the person has filed for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Did you know that Georgia ranks #2 in the nation for bankruptcy filings. In 2017 the number of personal bankruptcies was approximately 524 out of every 100,000 residents.

What Is The Difference Between Chapter 7 And Chapter 13?

Individuals or couples in Georgia, who claim bankruptcy, will elect to file under Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Want to know the difference? Look below for more information

Chapter 7

In exchange for dissolving all past due debts, the trustee of the bankruptcy will liquidate the assets, such as cars, homes, and other property of value in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy proceeding.

Debtors that were listed on the bankruptcy filing will be repaid with the proceeds collected during liquidation

Chapter 13

If you have the means to pay some of your debts, a chapter 13 bankruptcy plan may work for you. You will be allowed to retain your valuable assets over a 3- to 5-year time frame.

In order to determine which type of bankruptcy an individual will file, they will have to determine their ability to repay under the Bankruptcy Means Test.

What Is A Bankruptcy Means Test?

The ultimate goal of the Bankruptcy Means Test is to determine who is eligible to apply for debt forgiveness through a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. It takes into account your:

  • income and expenses
  • household size and composition
  • debt-to-income ratio

If you do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will be able to file for Chapter 13, as above-described.

What Are Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Specific states have certain exclusions that are enacted by congress as federal bankruptcy exemptions for filers. These exemptions will determine what you are able to retain throughout and after Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 situation, the exemptions will determine what amount you will have to pay certain financial institutions in your repayment plan.

Homestead

  • Real or personal property, including co-op, used as a residence, up to $21,500 (up to $43,000 if married whether the spouse is filing or not). Unused portion up to $5,000 may be applied to any other property.

Personal Property

  • Motor vehicles up to $5,000; clothing, household goods, appliances, furnishings, books, musical instruments, animals, and crops up to $300 per item and $5,000 total; jewelry up to $500; health aids; lost future earnings recoveries needed for support up to $7,500; personal injury recoveries up to $10,000; wrongful death recoveries needed for support; burial plot in lieu of homestead.

Wages

  • For private and federal workers, either 30 times the state or federal hourly minimum wage or a minimum 75% of earned but unpaid earnings; whichever amount is greater. The judge may authorize more for low-income debtors.

Pensions

  • Tax exempt retirement accounts (including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans).  
  • IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,283,025.
  • ERISA-IRAs and qualified benefits.
  • Nonprofit corporations’ employees; public employees; other pensions and IRA payments needed for support.

Public Benefits

  • Workers’ compensation.
  • Unemployment compensation, Veterans’ benefits, social security, crime victims’ compensation, and local public assistance.
  • Old age assistance.
  • Aid to blind.
  • Aid to disabled.

Tools of Trade

  • Tools, books, and implements of trade up to $1,500.

Alimony and Child Support

  • Alimony and child support needed for support.

Insurance

  • Fraternal benefit society benefits.
  • Life insurance proceeds and availables.
  • Annuity and endowment contract benefits.
  • Disability or health benefits up to $250 per month.
  • Group insurance.
  • Unmatured life insurance contract; unmatured life insurance dividends, interest, loan value or cash value up to $2,000 if you or someone you depend on is beneficiary; life insurance proceeds if policy is owned by someone you depend on and is needed for support.

Wildcard

  • Any property up to $1,200 plus any unused homestead amount up to $10,000.

Other

 Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions

Want to know if you can include Student Loans in Bankruptcy or Medical Bills in Bankruptcy? Check out our Bankruptcy FAQ’s section.

Filing Bankruptcy Alone vs. Filing With An Attorney

You are not required by law to hire a lawyer to declare relief. Individuals are allowed to represent him or herself as a pro se debtor. You will simply contact the local bankruptcy court and obtain all forms and requirements directly through them. Filing alone is not for the faint of heart.

Filing Bankruptcy without an Attorney

A simple Chapter 7 proceeding that doesn’t have a lot of debtors or assets may be easy to manage on your own.

A basic bankruptcy that doesn’t involve an attorney might look like:.

  • Your income is below the state median;
  • You have no property;
  • Your debts will be considered dis-chargeable.

Working With An Attorney

For most people, it is usually in one’s best interest to work with a bankruptcy attorney. A bankruptcy attorney is there to represent you and not the creditors.

An attorney is also accustomed with exemption laws. Plus, they can come up with creative strategies to keep your assets through practical repayment strategies that are fair to everyone involved.

While you may have the fight and ability to manage a Bankruptcy on your own, it tends to make things a lot easier on an already stressful situation, especially when there is so much at stake.

What Does Bankruptcy Include?

Once you file for bankruptcy in GA, the courts put in place an order called an Automatic Stay. This order will stop debt collection calls, wage garnishments, and additional claims. Keep in mind that payments regarding child support and criminal cases will still need to be made during this time.

In any event, Bankruptcy will be able to include:

  • credit card debt
  • protection from eviction
  • avoidance of foreclosure
  • utility bills
  • medical expenses

Again, unless you are filing a complex Chapter 13 case, you will lose all assets associated with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection. You will, however, be able to prevent any and all collections from occurring as long as they were incurred before the date of filing and discharge.

Final Thoughts And Considerations On Filing For Bankruptcy In Georgia

As you can see, there a lot of information associated with successfully filing for bankruptcy and then exiting it unscathed or satisfied. Only a licensed bankruptcy attorney can guide you through this arduous process, particularly when it comes to complex cases. Be sure to hire someone you respect and trust.

Bankruptcy Courts In Georgia

Frank M. Scarlett Federal Building
801 Gloucester Street
Brunswick,GA 31520
912-280-1376
Georgia Southern Bankruptcy Court

Tomochichi United States Courthouse
125 Bull Street
Savannah,GA 31401
912-650-4100
Georgia Southern Bankruptcy Court

Federal Justice Center – The Plaza Building
600 James Brown Boulevard
Augusta,GA 30901
706-823-6000
Georgia Southern Bankruptcy Court

One Arsenal Place
901 Front Avenue
Columbus,GA 31901
706-649-7837
Georgia Middle Bankruptcy Court

Cherry Street
433 Cherry Street
Macon,GA 31201
478-752-3506
Georgia Middle Bankruptcy Court

United States Courthouse
121 Spring Street
Gainesville,GA 30501
678-450-2700
Georgia Northern Bankruptcy Court

Richard B. Russell Federal Building and United States Courthouse
75 Ted Turner Drive
Atlanta,GA 30303
404-215-1000
Georgia Northern Bankruptcy Court

United States Courthouse
600 East First Street
Rome,GA 30161
706-378-4000
Georgia Northern Bankruptcy Court

Lewis R. Morgan Federal Building and United States Courthouse
18 Greenville Street
Newnan,GA 30263
678-423-3000
Georgia Northern Bankruptcy Court

 

Additional Georgia Resources

Foreclosure Help Program
HomeReliefProgram.com
1-877-494-9007

Disability SSDI Benefits
DisabilityApproval.org
1-888-640-7856