What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
You might be facing unending medical bills, credit card debts, and personal loans. The obligations keep piling up, and your creditors are beginning to make your life a living hell. You work hard every day of each month, but your earnings barely dent the mountain of existing debt.
Wage garnishment can help offset some of your debts, but is what’s left enough to sustain you till the next paycheck? You might need help securing a fresh financial start if the answer is no.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also called wage earner’s bankruptcy or a wage earner’s plan. This type of bankruptcy allows you to structure a repayment plan that works for you while helping you keep hold of your property. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which involves selling off your assets to pay creditors, Chapter 13 allows you to reorganize and repay your debts gradually.
This is not an easy process; it requires financial discipline and organization. However, with guidance from an experienced Atlanta Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer, you can get through it and emerge on the other side of financial freedom.
How Atlanta Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Works
To file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must first submit a petition to the bankruptcy court. The petition should include:
Schedule of assets and liabilities
Current income and expenditures
Statement of financial affairs
Executory contracts and unexpired leases
Once the petition is filed, an automatic stay is placed on your debts. This means that creditors are prohibited from making any further collection attempts, including wage garnishment.
Next, you will develop a repayment plan with your Atlanta Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer. This plan outlines how you intend to repay your debts over the next three to five years. The court must approve this plan before it can go into effect.
Why Choose Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
When most people think of bankruptcy, they think of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where you lose most of your possessions, and the remainder of your debts are written off. It is heartbreaking to work hard for years to acquire properties only to fall into terrible financial circumstances and risk their loss in foreclosure proceedings. These are some of the benefits of Chapter 13 bankruptcy:
Asset protection: It protects the assets you worked so hard to acquire from forfeiture due to unpaid debt. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can keep more assets, and some unsecured debts are discharged. You can even stop wage garnishments.
Repayment plan: Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not wipe away all your tax debt. Instead, it mandates a repayment plan that allows you to pay off your different debts within 3-5 years.
Co-signer liability is reduced: It reduces any co-signer liabilities on your debts, offering them more protection than filing Chapter 7 in Atlanta. This is an excellent way to protect your loved ones, which might have helped you guarantee a loan.
Note that some debts are considered priority and must be paid before others. Ensure you capture this in your repayment plan. Such priority debts include overdue child support and outstanding tax bills. Otherwise, you can pick up the order once your debts are paid off.
Why You Need Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys in Atlanta
The bankruptcy process can be long and may drain you emotionally before it is completed. An experienced Atlanta bankruptcy attorney can help you throughout the process and ensure you get the debt relief you deserve.
You might wonder, “Why should I hire an Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer to file bankruptcy petitions when I can do it for free?” The short answer to this question is that the benefits of hiring a bankruptcy attorney far outweigh the cost.
Bankruptcy attorneys understand the bankruptcy code and have what it takes to help you prepare for your case and get favorable results.
A bankruptcy attorney can help you understand the differences between Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy and determine the most appropriate approach for you.
At such a critical moment, you will likely need professional guidance and someone to hold your hand through the process. Establishing an attorney-client relationship can lessen your burden even as you work towards a debt-free reality.
How a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help You
Getting out of debt is easier when you hire a lawyer because of their experience. Their extensive expertise helps you in several ways, including:
Getting legal advice can enable you to decide if bankruptcy is the right course of action. A Chapter 13 lawyer can also guide you on the bankruptcy option that would suit you well.
All eligible debts can be eliminated with the help of a bankruptcy lawyer.
Hiring a lawyer can save time because you do not have to deal with paperwork or filing procedures.
Bankruptcy lawyers often establish relationships with judges, trustees, and the bankruptcy court, which is usually an advantage for you. Lawyers are also able to negotiate with creditors in certain circumstances.
Creditors and collection agencies cannot harass you because you can refer them to your legal representation.
Overall, lawyers offer you peace of mind and protection from uncertainty. They deal with the nitty-gritty so that you don’t have to.
Cost of Hiring a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer in Atlanta, GA
The filing fee for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Georgia is $313. However, this is just the bankruptcy filing fee and does not include related expenses such as attorney fees.
Attorneys generally charge clients based on their location, practice areas, size of their firm, the complexity of the case, and additional services the law firm provides. Similarly, an Atlanta Chapter 13 lawyer will charge you based on these factors.
If you choose to work with bankruptcy lawyers throughout the process, you would need to discuss fees during the initial consultation.
Contact Us at Cherney Law Firm
Do you need legal assistance for your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case? Our skilled Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys can give your case the attention it deserves. We can help you weigh all your options, and if filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the best option, we are ready to hold your hand from the first step to the last.
If Chapter 13 is the right fit for you, we can help you devise a repayment plan that will place you back on the road to financial health while meeting all legal obligations. The quality of the repayment plan you submit is the most significant factor in whether you are granted a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Matthew Cherney is an experienced bankruptcy attorney with a thorough understanding of Atlanta bankruptcy law. He can help you if you feel the bankruptcy process is too overwhelming or complicated.
Visit or call our law firm to take advantage of the free consultation we offer. Let us help you get back to financial freedom.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Qualify for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
To qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must have a monthly income and an amount of debt that falls within the requirements of Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. You might also wish to consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if:
You feel a moral obligation to avoid filing for Chapter 7.
You have significant home equity and do not want to risk foreclosure.
You have a car or any other asset you do not wish to be repossessed.
What Happens After Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Several things happen after a successful Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Atlanta. They include the following:
You will get the much-needed debt relief, giving you a fresh start.
Your credit score would fall. However, there are ways to get it back up with the help of your bankruptcy attorney, who can help you understand bankruptcy and offer the necessary guidance. Understanding bankruptcy can help you stay on course and get your life and finances back on track once your bankruptcy is discharged.
You are no longer legally obligated to pay certain unsecured debts such as medical bills, credit card debt, payday loans, or personal loans.
Book a free initial consultation with our skilled attorneys to understand and learn more about how Chapter 13 bankruptcy should be done and what happens after filing bankruptcy.
Our experienced attorneys know how debt collection lawsuits, debt consolidation, and business law work. They will help you understand how you can deal with credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, old tax debt, unsecured debt, and the process of bankruptcy filings.
How Do I Know When My Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Is Over?
Your Chapter 13 bankruptcy is over when you have fulfilled the specific requirements given by the court. You must finish paying off your debts by the stipulated deadline. Once you complete the repayment plan, the bankruptcy trustee will submit the final repayment distribution report to the court.
The court will then make the discharge order, dismiss the trustee, and close the case. Remember that the discharge order will also wipe out any remaining unsecured debt. So, you must comply strictly with the terms of your repayment plan.
Consult a qualified attorney to understand bankruptcy protection options and your available legal options.