Filing For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In Atlanta
If your debts have spiraled out of control, you may benefit from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is frequently called the “fresh start” section of the bankruptcy code because it abolishes the vast majority of your debts in one shot. The process behind it is simple. You just need to prove to a Bankruptcy Court that you have accumulated more debt than your budget is capable of paying off. If you win your case, you are granted a discharge stating that you are no longer liable for what you owe roughly 90 days after the first motion is filed. It is best to have an experienced Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer on your side.
Here at the Cherney Bankruptcy Law Firm, we offer all prospective Chapter 7 bankruptcy clients a free consultation in which we review the details of your individual situation. Then, based on the particulars of your case, we quote a price to file the motion for you. The price depends on how involved it is. If your case involves judgments and/or secured creditors, your case will cost a little bit more to settle everything. If you are self-employed, the case becomes much more complicated and expensive as a result. Other variables may impact the quoted price as well, the above are just possible examples.
Passing The Means Test
The first thing you need to establish when filing bankruptcy is whether your debts are secured or unsecured because they are treated differently. Most unsecured debt can be discharged through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In other words, the bankruptcy judge can eliminate the legal obligation to repay the debt. These debts can include credit card debt, medical bills, and personal loans.
You also need to pass the means test in order to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Basically, if your income over the last six months exceeds that of an average family of your family’s size, you are not allowed to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Our law firm can still help you with other options detailed in the bankruptcy code if you need financial relief in this situation, however. A higher income does not disqualify you from the help you need.
Debts That Can Not Be Discharged
Before going into the process, you should also understand that not every kind of debt can be abolished through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For example, a secured debt can be backed by a mortgage or attached to a piece of property, such as a home mortgage or a car loan.
Also, if you owe money as a result of a drunk driving case or debts arising from other intentional acts, those debts will not disappear through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Likewise, student loans, child support, tax debts less than three years old, post-petition timeshare fees, and post-petition HOA fees are not dischargeable via Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Your specific situation will dictate what is and is not covered by Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
If any of your debts are secured by a piece of collateral such as your car or a mortgage, you will need to decide whether you wish to keep the secured property after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you opt to keep it, you are also keeping the debt associated with it. This is organized through a reaffirmation agreement, a legally binding agreement in which you give up your Chapter 7 bankruptcy rights as it pertains to the debt in question. You then continue to make monthly payments toward the debt as if you never filed for bankruptcy. Creditors have no legal obligation to enter a reaffirmation agreement with you, but they almost always do because they know you need to wait eight years before filing Chapter 7 again under the bankruptcy code. Your reaffirmation means that they will get their money in all likelihood.
Become Debt Free In Atlanta
You may have heard horror stories about Chapter 7 trustees entering your home uninvited in order to determine if you really qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Nine times out of 10, such a visit is not necessary and does not occur. You should expect a visit only if the trustee believes you have items worth thousands of dollars that you failed to mention on the Chapter 7 petition in your house. It is possible that the trustee will send a real estate agent for a second opinion on the value of your house, but the agent usually does not need to enter your home in this case.
Sometimes, your financial situation can be improved without a full Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Atlanta, for example, can reduce your car payment to what the vehicle is worth today, rather than the full amount owed. While you need to have owned the vehicle for two and a half years or longer in order to qualify, the average interest rate of 5-7 percent makes it much more affordable. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy may also help you spread house payments over a longer term of 36 to 60 months, making each individual payment more affordable. You can even wipe out a second mortgage on your house entirely under Chapter 13.
Contact Cherney Bankruptcy Law Firm
Any bankruptcy case is unique, and things can get complicated. If you decide to file bankruptcy, you may need the assistance of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in Atlanta GA.
The best legal advice is tailored to your specific situation, and we do not know the details of your case yet. Contact Cherney Law at (770) 485-4141 or by using the online contact form below for your free consultation today!