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A Bankruptcy Attorney Helping You Move Forward

When repaying your debt seems like an impossible task, bankruptcy could very well be your best option.

Filing for Chapter 7

If your debts have spiraled out of control, you may benefit from filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is frequently called...

Filing for Chapter 13

Many individuals experiencing financial hardship either have too much property or feel a moral obligation to avoid filing for...

Wage Garnishment

If creditors are garnishing your wages or they are threatening to garnish your wages, Cherney Law Firm can stop it.

A Bankruptcy Attorney Helping You Move Forward

At your free, in-person, consultation, we will discuss options related to bankruptcy or some other debt relief alternative. Once we have worked together to come up with the best solution for you, we will exercise a timeline in preparation of your case.

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Stay Informed

Understand your rights when it comes to filing for bankruptcy and fighting off creditor harassment.

What to Expect from a Debt Perspective (Post-COVID)

As a bankruptcy attorney, I understand the fear and anxiety people face regarding their finances.

When you couple finances with the daily fear and anxiety the world has faced over the last ten months, some days may seem impossible. When people are most concerned about the health of themselves and their loved ones, the last thing that they should be thinking about is debt.

For some time now, I have been advocating for the fact that society needs to reframe how it thinks about bankruptcy; particularly now as the pandemic takes its toll on more and more people’s finances. I prefer to think of the bankruptcy process as a tool. While bankruptcy does carry with it a host of negative connotations, it is a problem-solving tool that has many positive aspects.

Our country is primed to realize an increase in bankruptcy filings, so perhaps it is time for people to rethink the negative stigma associated with bankruptcy.

The government funding and stimulus was designed to keep the country afloat. Funding was directed to businesses and individuals. For individuals, it was designed to assist you in maintaining daily/monthly living expenses; the essentials (rent, utilities, food).

The stimulus was not intended to allow you to pay your monthly credit card bill. Most banks and lending institutions established their own forbearance and grace periods.

These grace periods are set to expire. Whether this is a rental lease, mortgage payment, vehicle payment or credit card, the creditors will expect payment.

It is now that a fresh start might be best. Typically, individuals file Chapter 7 to wipe out all debt, or Chapter 13 to restructure and pay their debt over time.

Facing financial difficulties is stressful and overwhelming. However, you can take a positive and preemptive step now toward resolving your financial circumstances.

I can help guide you smoothly through this process. Quality representation is essential to ensure that you are protected.

File For Bankruptcy From The Safety Of Your Home

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a lot of difficult times on people around the world. However, one side benefit that it has brought has been the ability to handle processes online that have not been viable before.

You can now file for bankruptcy without ever leaving your house, and you can even attend your court hearings via telephone as well

Before Covid-19, you would need to appear physically at our law office, and a bankruptcy attorney would need to witness you physically sign the documents. As many people were already stretched to the limit with work and family schedules, it was often difficult for them to make it to the office physically. Traffic delays alone would account for a considerable number of missed appointments.
We have made these changes to do our part in helping people through this difficult time. As such, you can file your case without ever needing to step foot in our office.

Step One

Right off the bat, we conduct your free initial consultation with you by phone. We will review all of your debts, lawsuits, assets, income, and expenses with you during this conversation. Our objective with this call is to get a feel for your entire situation. At the end of your free consultation, we will clearly explain why Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a good option for you.
We offer you the ability to speak directly with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who will analyze your case’s specific facts and answer any questions you might have.

If you choose to move forward with either Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we will require you to give us your social security number and birthdate so that we can then pull your credit card to process your bankruptcy petition.

If you have received any lawsuits or other bills that you would like for us to include in your case, scan and email them to us, or if you don’t have a scanner, a well-shot photograph will suffice.

Step Two

This step is the signing appointment, where we will go through each page of the bankruptcy petition with you via Zoom’s screen share function to make sure that it is perfect. When the review is complete, we will use DocuSign to sign the court’s required signature papers electronically.

We will be able to file your Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy case shortly after your signing appointment, so your court protection will begin immediately. We will also mail you a hard copy of the bankruptcy petition after your case is filed, which will require you to sign and send the documents back to us.

Whether you are considering a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, it is essential to work with an attorney that you trust to help you through this challenging process. Please don’t hesitate to call us or use the live chat feature of our website. We will be happy to see you through this process every step of the way.

A Quick Overview of the Bankruptcy Process


Before you file for bankruptcy, you probably have some questions about the process. There are many laws and guidelines you need to follow, but there is still a basic format for filing. In this article, we will cover the steps of the bankruptcy process to give you a better understanding of what it looks like. If you want to learn more, our Georgia bankruptcy attorneys are here to help.

Credit Counseling

Due to the 2005 Bankruptcy Act, before individuals file for bankruptcy in Georgia, they need to receive credit counseling from a government-approved organization within the six months prior to filing. This rule applies whether you file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. After filing, you must also complete a financial management instructional course.

Read more on: The differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13

The Means Test

When you file for bankruptcy, you may choose Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, depending on your financial situation. The means test calculates your ability to pay back your debts based on your income and necessary expenditures. The court will look at your finances and compare them to the median income for Georgia. If your income is less than the median, you qualify to file under Chapter 7. If your income is higher, you may only have the option of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, even if you qualify for Chapter 7, you may choose Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you have secured property that you wish to keep in the process.

Paperwork

When filing, you will need to acquire any relevant financial information such as income sources, large financial transactions within the last two years, living expenses, debts, and property. Keep your tax returns for the previous two years, property deeds, car titles, and loan paperwork on hand.

Filing for Bankruptcy

When you file, either you or your attorney will file a petition and other required forms with your Georgia district bankruptcy court. In these forms, you explain your financial situation and transactions within the last few years. It is important to mention all aspects of your financial status. Any withheld information can jeopardize your petition for debt relief.

If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, be aware that you must also submit a proposed repayment plan. A bankruptcy judge either confirms or denies your proposal at a hearing later on. You will need to attend this hearing.

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy carries a fee of $306. If the fee is not waived, you can pay it in installments. However, the Chapter 13 bankruptcy fee of $281 cannot be waived.

Trustee Appointment

Once you file, an automatic stay goes into effect. Creditors may no longer have direct contact with you, and foreclosure proceedings will halt. The court then appoints a trustee to your case to review your paperwork and ensure creditors are paid accordingly.

Meeting of Creditors

About a month after filing, the trustee will hold a meeting of creditors. The debtor is required to attend as well. The meeting allows creditors to question or object to the proposed plan.

The Power of The Automatic Stay


One of the most important aspects of bankruptcy filing is the automatic stay. We will explore how the automatic stay works for you, as well as the creditors’ option to submit a motion for relief from stay.

How Does the Automatic Stay Work?

As soon as you file for bankruptcy, either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the automatic stay goes into effect. The automatic stay keeps creditors from collecting debts during your case. When you or your attorney files, you will include a list of your creditors. These creditors will receive a copy of the automatic stay, which prevents them from taking any debt collection actions against you, such as:

  • Calling you
  • Sending letters
  • Foreclosing your home
  • Suing you for a debt
  • Filing a garnishment on your earnings
  • Continuing a lawsuit
  • Collecting on a judgment

The purpose of the automatic stay is to give you some financial relief while you develop a plan for your finances and repayment. It also benefits creditors who might not receive anything because another creditor collects all the assets first. The bankruptcy process attempts to divide payment fairly amongst creditors.

While the automatic stay provides you some much-needed breathing room, creditors still have options. They may ask the court to lift the automatic stay so they can continue collecting. The next part will cover what this means for you.

What is a Motion for Relief from Stay?

Sometimes creditors will motion for relief from stay. Not every creditor will file a motion. Most will be willing to receive payment from the bankruptcy plan. It is also up to the creditor to provide a credible reason for lifting the stay.

Secured Creditors

Secured creditors may try to lift the stay so they can collect on collateral. For example, when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the mortgage lender may ask the court to lift the stay if you are behind on your payments. By lifting the stay they can continue the foreclosure proceedings. Since you must either pay or return the property under the secured debt, the court will probably lift the stay if you cannot keep up with the payments.

However, the court may deny the motion for relief from stay if the debtor can show the ability to repay the loan with the asset’s equity. By doing so, the debtor demonstrates that the lender is sufficiently protected from financial loss.
Even when a motion comes forward, there is no reason to fight it if you have no intention of keeping the asset.

Unsecured Creditors

It is unlikely that an unsecured creditor will ask to lift the stay. If your Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not discharge a debt, a creditor can motion to lift the stay. However, since Chapter 7 cases usually last only a few months, most creditors are willing to wait until the end of the case to start collecting again.

In the case of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, according to the debtor’s three to five-year plan, unsecured creditors receive repayment for debts that are not discharged. Since they will receive partial or full payment, creditors have little reason to ask for relief from stay.

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What Are Your Options?

Contact attorney Matthew Cherney and see what your options are when it comes to filing for bankruptcy, or avoiding it all together.