If you’re looking for an Alpharetta, GA bankruptcy attorney, it’s important to select an attorney who is knowledgeable about federal bankruptcy law as well as the nuances of Georgia bankruptcy law.
Selecting an Alpharetta GA Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy law is complex, but an experienced lawyer can help you to employ the law in a way that either minimizes or completely eliminates your debts. When selecting an Alpharetta GA bankruptcy attorney, make sure that the attorney and law firm are experienced and knowledgeable in various areas of bankruptcy law so that they can help you to choose the path that will be most beneficial for you.
Working With a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Alpharetta GA
Once you’ve selected a bankruptcy lawyer in Alpharetta GA, the first step is a consultation where you will discuss your unique financial situation and possible solutions. Many bankruptcy attorneys, including the Cherney Law Firm, are now offering free consultations and general bankruptcy services either over the phone or through video calls to protect your safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During your free consultation, you will discuss the debts that you have incurred and the creditors to whom you owe the debts. Next, your bankruptcy attorney will discuss your debt relief options and help you select the best option for your financial situation.
Generally, an individual will file for bankruptcy under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code.
Types of Bankruptcy Filings
Filing under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code is sometimes known as “straight” or “liquidation” bankruptcy and is generally only available to individuals whose income is below a certain threshold. You also must not have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy within the last eight years as well as not filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy within the last six years in order to be eligible. Finally, most states require you to complete an individual or group credit counseling course prior to filing.
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court will place a temporary stay on your debts, meaning they do not have to be paid while the court completes the process of evaluating your bankruptcy claim. This is beneficial because it will immediately protect you from consequences such as being evicted, having your utilities turned off, or wage garnishment. The court will then take legal possession of your property.
Next, the court will appoint a bankruptcy trustee to your case. Your trustee will familiarize themselves with your financial situation and generally oversee your bankruptcy case. The next step is for the trustee to sell your “non-exempt” property to help repay your creditors. “Non-exempt” property refers to the portion of your personal property that is not protected by your bankruptcy filing. The next step, known as a “creditor meeting”, generally requires you to appear in court and answer questions about your debts. Because of COVID-19, many courts are currently allowing individuals to make this appearance over the phone.
Generally, the process of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes between four and six months from the date of your initial filing. At the conclusion of the process, the court will discharge all of your remaining debts except for those that are not dischargeable under the law. Nondischargeable debts generally include things like:
- Court fees
- Child support payments
- Alimony payments
- Certain types of student loans
- Certain types of tax debt
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is sometimes called a “wage earner’s plan.” Once you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, you will work closely with your attorney and creditors to develop a repayment plan that lasts between three and five years. During the period of your payment plan, your creditors are forbidden from initiating or continuing efforts to collect on your debts. Ending or temporarily halting creditor harassment is a great relief for many individuals.
One reason that many individuals elect to file under Chapter 7 is that it enables you to halt your creditors from foreclosing on your home and to pay your past-due mortgage payments over the life of your installment plan.
Anyone is eligible to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 as long as their unsecured debts amount to less than $394,725 and their secured debts amount to less than $1,184,200. These numbers change periodically so you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in order to understand whether you are eligible to file. Like Chapter 13, filing for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 13 requires that you complete an individual or group credit counseling session prior to filing.
Once you have selected an Alpharetta GA bankruptcy attorney, he or she will help you to complete the Official Bankruptcy Forms that initiate the bankruptcy process. In order to complete these forms you should gather the following information:
- A detailed list of your monthly living expenses, including things such as your mortgage payment, utilities, food, clothing, and medical expenses;
- A list of the creditors to whom you owe debts as well as the amounts owed and the nature of the debts;
- The amount and source of your income, as well as the frequency with which you are paid; and
- A list of all of the property that you own.
Finding the Best Bankruptcy Attorney
Selecting the right bankruptcy attorney is vital. You should ensure that the bankruptcy lawyer or law firm that you ultimately select has experience in filing claims similar to yours. Cherney Law Firm has over 15 years of experience in bankruptcy law and is equipped to handle a variety of bankruptcy-related claims. Through a free consultation, Cherney Law Firm can learn about your unique claim and help you to chart a path to a debt-free future.
Business Bankruptcy Attorney
Unfortunately, many, if not most, new businesses do not survive and are forced to consider whether filing bankruptcy may be their best option. By selecting an experienced firm such as Cherney Law, you can ensure that your business selects the option that makes the most financial sense for all parties.
How To File For Bankruptcy
Because of closures related to COVID-19, bankruptcy cases can now be filed over the phone. In addition, many courts have waived the requirement of an original or “wet” signature on a bankruptcy petition. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help you to understand the changes that bankruptcy courts have made in order to accommodate filing for bankruptcy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have further questions regarding what bankruptcy options may be best for you or your business, contact the Cherney Law Firm’s Fulton County office here.