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Chapter 7

Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney | Debt Relief Lawyer

Atlanta Georgia Bankruptcy Attorney and Lawyer Matthew J Cherney from Cherney Law Firm -

Bankruptcy Firm Atlanta Georgia

Cherney law firm has 3 offices in the Atlanta, Georgia area to serve all of your Bankruptcy needs.

Free Consultation

If you are overwhelmed with debt and you simply cannot afford to pay your bills anymore, bankruptcy might be the answer. You can schedule a FREE consultation and we can explain all the ways that we can help. The sooner you face the situation, the sooner you can live your life without the stress that is eating away at you every day. Call us today at 770-485-4920

Helping You Become Debt Free

Cherney Law Firm, LLC has been helping their Clients in Atlanta, GA for over 8 years. We are here to answer all of your bankruptcy questions to help you examine what is the best way to get you out of debt. We have handled thousands of cases and we have seen every situation

The moment we file a chapter 7 or chapter 13 case for you, the collections stop. You will have what is call an Automatic stay. That means that your creditors can no longer pursue ANY sort of collection efforts towards you. No more phone calls, no more bills sent to your house. If they try to collect, they are breaking the laws of the state of Georgia and also Federal laws.

Filing Bankruptcy in Atlanta

should we file for bankruptcy in Atlanta

When you file bankruptcy in Atlanta, GA. your are actually filing for bankruptcy in the Northern District of Georgia, one of three bankruptcy districts in the state for the United States Bankruptcy Court. Cherney Law Firm can file all of your paperwork and prepare you for every step of the process.

We will be here for you every step of the way, which means whenever you have a question, we will be here for you.

Types of Bankruptcy Services we Offer Atlanta Residents

When you have decided whether or not bankruptcy is for you, the next step is to decide which type of bankruptcy would be best for your situation. Cheney law Firm  mostly deals with either a chapter 7 or a chapter 13. There are many factors that go into deciding which one will best for your situation. If your home is in foreclosure or your car has been repossessed, a chapter 13 is best for you. A chapter 13 is a repayment plan, it will allow you to keep your home and car. In fact, a chapter 13 is best for any situation that you have fallen behind on payments.

A chapter 7, often is often referred to as a “fresh start” bankruptcy. It is used mostly when your debt is outweighing your income and you want just that, a fresh start. You will take what is called the means test to figure out if you qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you do qualify, by filing you will be able to eliminate your current debts. You will not be able to keep your home. You will be assigned a trustee and the trustee will liquidate any assets that you have to pay off creditors. If you do not qualify, you can still file a chapter 13 in Atlanta, the means test results will reveal what you are able to afford with a repayment plan.

 

Atlanta Debt Relief Assistance

One of the worst feelings is to tally up your debts, compare that total with the money you actually have to pay them, and come up short. With the way things are in today’s economy, there are all sorts of pitfalls forcing people into difficult financial situations. If you find yourself in an extremely stressful and overwhelming financial situation or are facing the loss of your home, seek immediate help. Very often in these stressful times, people think the worst and assume they have no options. It is important to understand that this is not the case; financial stress can and will be relieved with the help and direction of an Atlanta Bankruptcy attorney.

Here at the CherneyLaw Firm LLC, we take great pride in assisting and representing Atlanta debtors feeling the anguish of dealing with severe debt that cannot be reasonably paid. We truly know the horrible feelings you are enduring and are anxious to provide the legal services that you need to successfully guide you through this trying situation. You will quickly see how our guidance in these issues starts to be a great stress reliever.

A lot of individuals hear the word bankruptcy and want to run away from it, but we take the time at our firm to carefully explain and help you to comprehend just why this is not something for you to fear. We will carefully analyze the debts that are consuming you, as well as your current financial status, so that we can properly advise you whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will best benefit your personal situation. Every question you have will be carefully answered for you to completely understand and grasp, so that you will start feeling comfortable with the direction you are heading.

 

Proper Bankruptcy Guidance And Direction

Atlanta Bankruptcy Guidance

Cherney Law Firm will be there to offer Atlanta bunkruptcy guidance every step of the way

For clients in Atlanta dealing with all sorts of different type debt situations, our law firm provides professional debt relief services. We are dedicated to assisting you to obtain financial freedom by negotiating a revised payment plan with your creditors, or by helping to have your debts discharged.  We will assist you in making the proper decisions and provide you the best possible assistance in taking the proper actions to relieve your debt. If the correct action is not bankruptcy, we will direct you to the proper course to resolve issues and provide you with the best resources to continue moving forward. Our goal is to gain you a fresh start financially!

In Atlanta, GA, choosing bankruptcy can be a frightening experience. We can help you begin the filing process, once you have made the decision to go ahead. Some good news is that debt collection attempts made by creditors must cease as soon as you file for bankruptcy. This gives you a chance to get your life back in order somewhat. We will gather all needed documents, negotiate with the lenders and can even facilitate short sales on your behalf.

Your situation will be carefully examined by bankruptcy lawyer Matthew J. Cherney who will then direct you onto the very best road to be taken. He can help you identify if a bankruptcy alternative would best fit your situation, or if bankruptcy is the best option, he will provide personal and detailed assistance with the entire process. We will guide you completely through the proceedings. Please do not hesitate a moment longer to contact us and let us start assisting you at once!

Read our Reviews

For over 8 years, Atlanta area residents have put their trust in Cherney Law Firm. Matthew J Cherney is an experienced Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney.

Here are just a few recent reviews:

Patrick
Matthew Cherney did a great job for me. He made the Bankruptcy filing process clear and smooth. I totally recommend.
Response from the owner

Thank you so much for the review, Patrick. I appreciate it very much.

Timothy
Attorney Matthew Cherney is a very kind and professional person to handle cases with me it was bankruptcy Chapter 13. He was prompt on-time for the meeting with the judge and was informative. Great doing business with Attorney Cherney!
Response from the owner

Thank you, Tim.

Solei
Thank you Mr. Cherney for providing a solution when we thought there was none. We now know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we are blessed to have found you.
Response from the owner

Thank you, Solei. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a review.

Daniel
Our USC13 case became complicated in the last year. Matt did very well working with the Trustee’s lawyers. We came to an agreement with the court. Great job Matt.
Response from the owner

Thank you, Dan. I enjoyed working with you and Nancy over the last five years. You were extremely cooperative clients. I wish you both the best in the future.

That is just a few. Please go to our testimonials page to see more reviews.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Georgia

Chapter 7 bankruptcy information for Georgia - Attorney Matthew Cherney

Filing For Chapter 7 in Georgia

In Georgia, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is legal proceeding asking the courts to discharge your debts. If successful, most unsecured debts will be forgiven, and the debtor gets a “fresh start”.  Once a chapter 7 is completed, the debtor is free of major debt. There are assets that you may be able to keep during and after your bankruptcy. How you structure your bankruptcy can have a major impact on the results that you get.

The State of Georgia has three United States Bankruptcy Court districts

Once you figure out which district you are living in, it is time to file. If you are uncomfortable with all of the paperwork and ramifications of improperly filing for chapter 7 by yourself, you can hire an attorney to represent you. Hiring an attorney has a distinct advantage because that is what they do. An attorney will know all of the Georgia bankruptcy laws and can prepare and file all the needed paperwork on your behalf. They are also available to answer any questions throughout and even after your bankruptcy is discharged.

 

Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions

The purpose of filing for bankruptcy is to achieve debt relief in order to rebuild a sense of financial security.  In Georgia, exemptions in chapter 7 are very important. It is nearly impossible to do so if everything you own is taken from you during bankruptcy. Many people assume that you must lose everything including things such as your finances, your home, and your car when you file, but this is not true. According to United States Code §522, a person who files for bankruptcy may request certain exemptions, including interest on home loans and vehicles, any life insurance policies that have no yet matured, and other such assets.

It is important to note that some states will allow the person filing to choose between using Federal exemptions or state exemptions. The State of Georgia does not allow you to do this. You must use Georgia state exemptions. There are a few instances that you may be able to use federal non bankruptcy exemptions.

Some of the most common Georgia bankruptcy exemptions are homestead, vehicle, wages and personal.

 

What happens to your property?

When you file for a chapter 7, you will most likely have to give up anything that isn’t exempt under Georgia law. The bankruptcy trustee will liquidate any non-exempt assets to pay your creditors.

 

Georgia Chapter 7 Means Test

 what is the Georgia Chapter 7 Means Test

The first step in filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to take a means test. Unless there is proof that you cannot afford to repay your debt based on your income and other factors, you cannot file under this chapter. Your income will be measured against the median income of a family living in your state that is comparable in size to your own family. If your average income from the last 6 months is less than or equal to the median income, you will be considered eligible for Chapter 7.

In cases where your income is too high for Chapter 7, the court will determine how much disposable income you have in order to pay off some or all of your debt in a Chapter 13 plan should you choose to go that route. The court looks at your income and subtracts debt payments, living expenses and any other required payments to see what amount you can feasibly pay off each month.

Once a means test proves that you are eligible and you come up clean in all of the other areas determining eligibility, you must fill out all necessary forms and petition for property exemptions so that you can keep any necessary items, such as furniture or your car. This process is not simple, and a mistake could cause further harm, so make sure that you retain an educated Georgia bankruptcy attorney with years of experience in Chapter 7 laws and procedures. With such legal assistance, discharging your debt could result in the financial freedom that you’ve been dreaming of achieving.

 

Automatic Stay

As soon as you file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy in Georgia, an automatic stay is imposed. The Automatic stay prevents creditors from pursuing any collection efforts from that moment forward. This includes taking legal action against you.

 

Chapter 7 Trustee

You will be assigned a Georgia Chapter 7 Trustee

Once you have successfully filed for chapter 7, one of the next steps in the process is a court appointed trustee will be assigned to your case.  It is the Trustee’s job to overlook your case and go through all off the paperwork and details to make sure that there is no fraud. The Trustee will also assist in the liquidation of your assets.

It is important that all of your paperwork is  filled out correctly and that you list all of your assets. The trustee just wants to make sure that all assets will be distributed correctly. If the trustee somehow finds out that you are hiding assets, he can ask the court to deny or revoke your discharge.

 

341 Meeting

Once a trustee is assigned to your case, a 341 meeting will be scheduled. The purpose of the 341 meeting is to let the Trustee go through the paperwork you have filed. He will ask you questions about your debt and assets. Your attorney will be present with you during this meeting but cannot answer questions on your behalf. Creditors can also attend the meeting but they usually do not. It is mandatory that you appear to answer questions from the trustee about your case.   The questions asked by the trustee are all about the paperwork that you have filed. It is very important that you are honest with all of your answers. If you chose to hire an attorney, they will prepare you with everything that you need to know about what to expect at you 341 creditors meeting.

 

Georgia Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge

 Last step is a Georgia Chapter 7 Bankruptcy discharge

 

A chapter 7 discharge is a permanent order from the court prohibiting creditors from taking any form of collection action on discharged debts. This includes legal action and communications with the debtor, such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contacts. While the debtor already had any temporary collection attempts halted with an automatic stay, the discharge is permanent.

The Courts will give the debtors creditors ample time (about 60 days from the 341 meeting) to file any objections. After that period has elapsed, they will send you a letter stating that your chapter 7 bankruptcy has been discharged.

 

How much does it cost to file Chapter 7 in Georgia?

The filing fee to for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in the state of Georgia is $335, the fee is set by the court and must be paid whether you have an attorney representing you or you are filing by yourself.

How do you qualify for chapter 7 in Georgia?

In order to qualify for Chapter 7, you must be below the median income level. The median income level is determined based on your household size. You must also take the means test to weigh your debt vs income

What is the maximum income for chapter 7 in Georgia?

The maximum income for chapter 7 in the state of Georgia is all dependant on the household size of the debtor(s)
1. $49,236.00
2 $63,850.00
3 $72,426.00
4 $85,763.00

What is the Chapter 7 means test?

The Chapter 7 means test determines whether an individual qualifies for Chapter 7. It breaks down your debt vs income to see if you qualify to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. If you do not qualify for Chapter 7, the means test establishes what the individual may be required to pay back in Chapter 13.

Can I keep my house if I file for Chapter 7 in Georgia?

Yes, If you are current on the mortgage, you can maintain the monthly payments, and there is no equity in your home, yes

Can I keep my car if I file for Chapter 7 in Georgia?

if you are current on the payments, and you can maintain the monthly payments, yes.

Can I keep my cell phone if I file for Chapter 7 in Georgia?

Yes. There are personal exemptions that you can keep when you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy in Georgia

Can I file Chapter 7 in Georgia without my spouse?

Yes. There is no law that requires that you file jointly with your spouse if you are married.

Will Chapter 7 stop wage garnishment in Georgia?

Yes. The bankruptcy laws require that any attempts to collect a debt be stopped. This includes wage garnishments.

Can Chapter 7 stop my Car from being repossessed?

Yes. However, if you are delinquent on the loan, and unable to work out an arrangement with the vehicle lender, you won’t be able to keep the vehicle for long.

Can Chapter 7 stop Foreclosure in Georgia?

Yes, but it will only buy you time. If you are delinquent on the loan, and unable to work out an arrangement with the mortgage lender, you won’t be able to keep the home for long.

What are Chapter 7 exemptions in Georgia?

The exemptions depend on the type of property. Your homestead exemption is 21,500.00. Your vehicle exemption is 5,000.00.

 

Want to know more?

If you are considering whether a chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you and you live in the state of Georgia, fell free to contact Cherney Law Firm. We are only a phone call or e-mail away and we can answer any questions that you have.  Cherney Law has  handled thousands of bankruptcies in Georgia. We have seen every situation, there is no need to feel shame, we are here to help.

We have Offices in Cobb, Cherokee and Fulton Counties and we offer 100% free consultations. Let us help you relieve the stress that your debt is causing you. Wage garnishment, repossession, foreclosure, credit card debt and judgments are our areas of specialty. We accept payment plans.

 

Tax Season: Bankruptcy and Income Tax Refunds

Tax season is upon us, and many people think about a fresh financial start this time of year

When it comes to filing yearly taxes, it is an opportunity to assess current goals and whether current financial strategies are working efficiently. If you have filed a Chapter 13 case and are having trouble making your current plan payments, you may want to consider a conversion from a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

The main benefit of converting from a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is that you will no longer have a monthly trustee payment

You can use your income tax refund to bring any outstanding secured obligations current with the lender (e.g. vehicle, mortgage). You will only have one case filed with the same case number, even if you convert from a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7. Only one bankruptcy filing will show on your credit, rather than having a dismissed Chapter 13 case and a later filed Chapter 7.

Another major benefit of converting your case from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 is that you can add any debts incurred after you filed your Chapter 13 case. If you incurred new debt during your Chapter 13 that is making it difficult to make your Chapter 13 payments, then a conversion can help alleviate this problem. Some examples of new debt can include new medical bills, or an unexpected, costly home repair.

In order to convert your case from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7, a notice will need to be filed with the Court

There are certain conditions that need to be met. Your bankruptcy attorney will discuss these with you.

With a Chapter 7, there is no monthly payment plan like there is with a Chapter 13. You will still have the automatic stay in effect during the length of your case. However, the Trustee may sell any non-exempt assets that you have in order to pay your creditors. This is known as liquidation.

Once a Chapter 7 case is finished, you receive a discharge of all debts that were part of your case. This occurs in a much shorter time period than for a Chapter 13 case, since there is no repayment plan. In many instances, converting your case from a Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 may be less costly than filing for a Chapter 13 and then having to file a separate Chapter 7 if your Chapter 13 case was dismissed.

An experienced bankruptcy attorney will assess your case to make sure conversion makes sense for you. There can be major benefits to converting your case from a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7, but it is critical to understand all the implications.

Wage Garnishments and Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, it is important to understand what happens to any current wage garnishment that you may have. A wage garnishment is a court order that enables a creditor to take money out of your paycheck. Once a wage garnishment starts, it is difficult to stop. Bankruptcy is an effective method to stop a wage garnishment. For most types of debts, either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 filing will immediately stop a wage garnishment. Many people consider filing bankruptcy solely because of a wage garnishment.

There are many different types of wage garnishments

Some of the most common types include: child support, alimony, income tax debt, student loan debt (federal and private) and judgment creditors (such as banks and credit card companies). Each type of wage garnishment has different rules that apply, and these rules are affected differently by a bankruptcy filing. Most of these rules are specific to your state of residency.
Each type of wage garnishment has different rules that apply, and these rules are affected differently by a bankruptcy filing. Most of these rules are specific to your state of residency.

A bankruptcy filing, whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, puts an immediate stop to most wage garnishments

This is called the “automatic stay.” This stays in place for the duration of your bankruptcy case (or until further order of the bankruptcy court), which can last up to 5 years, depending on the type of bankruptcy that you file. A Chapter 7 will generally eliminate the debt completely.

A Chapter 13 may require you to pay the debt back, or a portion thereof, pursuant to a Chapter 13 plan. No matter the chapter of bankruptcy, once you receive a discharge, you will no longer have any of your wages garnished for that particular discharged debt.

Another thing to realize is that if you are unable to pay current debts and obligations, filing for bankruptcy may prevent a wage garnishment from ever starting in the first place. Meeting with a qualified Atlanta area bankruptcy and wage garnishment attorney can help you assess your situation to see if this would be a good idea for you. An attorney can help to determine the options that best suit your needs, and help guide you through the process for the best possible outcome.

The Bankruptcy Means Test

The Bankruptcy Means Test operates in two ways:

  1. It will determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy; and/or
  2. If you do not qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the means test establishes what you are required to pay your creditors in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

What is the Means Test?

The means test is based on income and was established as part of the amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, and enacted by Congress in 2005 (BAPCPA). The means test takes into consideration the individual’s income for the six months preceding the month prior to filing.

If your income is less than the median income level, then you are presumptively eligible to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In Georgia, the current median income for a family size of 4 people is $85,763.00. For a family of 2, it is $63,850.00. If your income exceeds the median income level, you may likely be required to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

A majority of the deductions that are taken on the means test are standardized. Some of the actual deductions that can be taken are: income taxes, health insurance, mandatory retirement accounts, court-ordered domestic support and care for an elderly/ill/disabled household member.

Talk to a Bankruptcy Attorney

A qualified bankruptcy attorney will work with you to determine your eligibility for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and will explain the pros and cons of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy versus other alternatives. Your attorney will help you complete and submit 2 forms: Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Income and the Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation Form. Even if you do qualify for a Chapter 7 under the means test, there are additional considerations as to whether a Chapter 7 is the best choice for you, your family and your current financial situation.

How Bankruptcy Can Help With Back Taxes


If you owe back taxes (federal, state, or local), this can be a tremendous stress. Many people inquire as to whether filing bankruptcy can help deal with their tax debt. While every situation is different and needs to be assessed by a qualified bankruptcy attorney, there are ways in which a bankruptcy filing may help you with your back taxes.

If you owe money for back taxes, the IRS or State Revenue Department can garnish your wages or your bank account. Filing a bankruptcy will stop a tax garnishment. This is what is known as the automatic stay, which requires all creditors (including the taxing authorities) to immediately cease collection action. What happens to your taxes next depends on the chapter of bankruptcy you are filing.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Certain taxes are dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Here are the general rules regarding dischargeability of taxes in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

The Three-Year Rule

The tax return was due at least three years ago. Most returns are due on April 15 for the previous tax year. If the taxes were due from a return filed on April 15, 2017, they would be eligible for discharge (provided all other criteria are met) after April 15, 2020.  Do not forget to take extensions into consideration. This means that the three year rule applies to the extension date.

The Two-Year Rule

You must have filed the return at least two years before you filed your bankruptcy case. If you don’t file a return, sometimes the IRS will file one for you. Many bankruptcy courts do not consider that a return for purposes of fulfilling this rule.

The 240 Day Rule

The taxes must have been assessed at least 240 days prior to filing Chapter 7. When the taxing authority enters the liability on its records, they have “assessed” it. This doesn’t necessarily happen the minute you file your return. It could take weeks or months. In some cases, the taxing authority will audit your return and assess additional taxes years after the return is filed. This period could be tolled or extended if you filed an offer in compromise with the IRS or if you filed a bankruptcy case during that period that was discharged or dismissed.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you cannot discharge your income tax liability in Chapter 7, you can certainly treat the income tax liability in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan of Reorganization. This means that you can propose to pay back the tax liability over a period of up to five years. The Chapter 13 will also stop future interest and penalties from accruing on the amount outstanding.

Your attorney will determine which taxes are and are not dischargeable in Chapter 7.

How is My Credit Score Affected After a Bankruptcy Filing?

Many people who file for bankruptcy already have a low credit score and/or are unable to obtain credit cards or a mortgage. With unpaid bills piling up and possible lawsuits from creditors,  a person’s credit score continues to go down as time goes on.

After filing for bankruptcy, your credit score will lower at first

It is important to know that this is not in any way a permanent situation, and your bankruptcy attorney will advise you on how best to rebuild your credit and increase your score.  Ultimately for the majority of people in a tough financial predicament, filing for bankruptcy will be the better choice than ignoring bills and missing more payments.  

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing will remain on your credit report for 10 years. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing will remain on your credit report for 7 years.

Given the fact that a credit score can go up quickly once the proper steps are taken, you can begin to rebuild and repair your credit immediately.  

Some ways to quickly and positively impact your credit (once you have filed bankruptcy) include:

  • continuing to make monthly mortgage payments on time (if a Chapter 13 was filed),
  • continuing to make all car payments on time (if you are keeping your car), and
  • paying off any credit cards in full every month (for credit cards obtained after your bankruptcy filing). 

Many credit card companies will offer credit cards to people with a bankruptcy filing because you have either reorganized your debt (Chapter 13) or had your debt discharged (Chapter 7). Therefore, you have less debt than many credit card holders. These credit card companies are more willing to take a risk on you because you have shown that you will be able to make your monthly payments.  

If you file for bankruptcy and then rebuild your credit, you will ultimately have better credit in the long term versus continuing down the path of unpaid bills and getting deeper into debt.  Mortgage lenders and credit card companies are much more willing to approve someone for a loan or a credit card if you have taken positive steps toward improving your situation in a proactive manner.

IF MY HOME IS CURRENTLY IN FORECLOSURE AND I WANT TO KEEP MY HOME, WHICH IS A BETTER OPTION: CHAPTER 7 OR CHAPTER 13

Make sure you have all the bankruptcy information

As a debtor filing for bankruptcy, you are entitled by law to a court-ordered rule of protection known as the automatic stay. This applies in a Chapter 7 and in a Chapter 13 filing. There are several creditor activities that the automatic stay protects and/or prohibits. One of the prohibited acts involves any creditor continuing a foreclosure sale that has begun prior to the bankruptcy filing, or starting a foreclosure proceeding during the length of the bankruptcy case. If you want to file for bankruptcy and keep your home, there are certain requirements that must be met. A qualified attorney will look at your situation in detail to determine whether you meet the requirements.

See Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13

In a Chapter 7 filing, a debtor can buy some time for him/herself with the automatic stay by preventing immediate foreclosure on a debt secured by real estate. If there is a scheduled foreclosure sale, this sale gets cancelled. It is very important to note: the debt that is allowed to be wiped out in a Chapter 7 does not include missed mortgage payments. Once the debtor in a Chapter 7 receives a discharge at the resolution of his/her case, then the automatic stay is lifted. At this time, the creditor can resume or begin foreclosure proceedings against a debtor who has missed mortgage payments prior to filing the Chapter 7. The creditor can also seek relief from the automatic stay prior to your Chapter 7 discharge. Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not allow a debtor to “catch up” overdue mortgage payments within his/her case. Additionally, there is no requirement for the bankruptcy court to work out any repayment plan with the lender. Lenders are not required to modify a mortgage if you file a Chapter 7.

One important thing to consider regarding Chapter 7 is that money may be freed up for you once all allowable debts are consolidated into a Chapter 7 plan. This can, in some circumstances, allow a debtor to pay the lender all of the missed payments owed. Then the debtor must continue to keep the mortgage current and pay the monthly mortgage, both during the Chapter 7 proceeding and after the discharge.

Usually, the better option if you want to keep your home is to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is a reorganization of your debts, which is a 3-5 year repayment plan on debt owed. Missed mortgage payments do qualify to be part of this repayment plan. This means that you can “catch up” on all overdue mortgage payments, and also not have to pay them all at once. Through a Chapter 13 plan, monthly payments are made to a Chapter 13 Trustee who oversees the case. The debtor must continue to make all ongoing mortgage payments during the entirety of the Chapter 13 case. At the end of the Chapter 13 case (the 3-5 year period), the debtor receives a discharge on all debts that were part of this plan. The debtor keeps his/her home and continues to pay the monthly mortgage payment.

Top Reasons Why You Should Consider Bankruptcy

Whether you’re upside down in debt because of being unemployed, too much spending, medical bills, college tuition or anything else, you should know that you’re not alone!

Last year, almost 773,000 individuals found themselves in the same situation.

You at one point or another might have considered filing for bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy can help those in financial distress get a fresh start and start over again.

Does Bankruptcy Really Work and is it the Right Fit for You?  Here is what you need to know

When is a Good Time to Consider Bankruptcy?

Anytime your income is insufficient to pay your debt while also maintaining your household expenses, bankruptcy is an option worth looking into. Matthew C. Cherney, a bankruptcy attorney, says that a good rule of thumb is to take a good look at the total amount of debt that you owe.  If the monthly expenses associated with servicing the debt comes close to, or exceeds your monthly income, then you may be an ideal candidate for filing for bankruptcy.

Some debts such as child support, income taxes and student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, so one should really consider monthly figure as an expense, rather than a debt.

In Georgia and other states, the bankruptcy laws require many different forms and schedules to be filed with a bankruptcy .  These forms also depend on the chapter of bankruptcy.  Some of these forms are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  Let’s explore these in detail.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 is commonly referred to as a “liquidation” bankruptcy.  Chapter 7 is oftentimes associated with what people think of when they think of bankruptcy.  A business bankruptcy would be a Chapter 11.

After your bankruptcy attorney files your paperwork, the judge will appoint a “trustee.”  The trustee’s job  is to investigate your financial affairs search for any assets, and, if appropriate, sell, or liquidate these assets, and pay any monies to your creditors.

You are allowed certain exemptions to protect your property, and this situation only becomes relevant when the value of your assets exceed your exemptions.  If that is the case, you may want to consider a chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to protect your assets.

Did you know?

Abraham Lincoln filed for bankruptcy in 1838.  Prior to the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had considerable debt associated with the purchase of several general stores.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you do not qualify for chapter 7, or are attempting to protect your assets and have regular income, chapter 13 may be a better solution for you.  In chapter 13 one can propose a plan to pay back their debt (or a portion thereof) over three to five years.

Another benefit is that Chapter 13 can treat certain debts that are not dischargeable in chapter 7.

What is the Immediate Benefit of Bankruptcy?

The one thing that ALL forms of bankruptcy have in common is the wonderful feature known as the “Automatic Stay.”

Immediately upon filing bankruptcy,  the automatic stay prevents most creditors from collecting any outstanding debts.

This means:

  • No more lawsuits;
  • No more harassing phone calls;
  • No more “Final Demand” letters sent to your home;

Instantly all of these things that keep you up at night, as well as any outstanding debt- are all washed away, or “discharged,” in legal terms.

Read more about Automatic Stay

What is the Negative Impact of Filing for Bankruptcy?

After filing, your credit score will be impacted.  However, if your credit score is already rather low, the impact will be nominal.  Bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for a period of years (depending on the chapter); however, this time frame may pale in comparison to the length of time necessary to pay back your debt.  You will also be surprised at the amount of credit card offers you’ll receive after your bankruptcy is discharged.  When used responsibly, a credit card is an excellent way of building your credit back up.

So is Filing For Bankruptcy a Good Thing?

The thought of bankruptcy may be unpleasant, but you will not believe the relief you feel after filing.  Filing with a trusting attorney should make it a pleasant experience.  Nobody ever wants to end up filing bankruptcy, but it can be a better alternative to harassing phone calls, intrusive letters, lawsuits and garnishments.

If you or someone you know is going through hardships due to outstanding debt, give our office a call today and speak with attorney Matthew Cherney of Cherney Law Firm, LLC.

Do I Qualify for Bankruptcy? Which Chapter?

The first question for many people considering bankruptcy is “do I qualify?” In order to determine whether you qualify for bankruptcy, you should consult with a Marietta bankruptcy attorney. As a general rule, almost everyone qualifies for bankruptcy. Find out more about qualifying for bankruptcy here. The real question is, “What Bankruptcy is Right for Me?” Continue Reading

Roswell Bankruptcy: Discharging Debt in Chapter 7

The federal bankruptcy laws allow certain debts to be discharged. If you receive a discharge, you will no longer be legally obligated to pay back that debt. Certain debts cannot be discharged. These include child support, spousal support and most income taxes. Generally speaking, debts that can be discharged are unsecured debts, such as medical bills, credit card bills and personal loans. Continue Reading

The Differences Between Chapter 13 and Chapter 7

Through years of practice, I have lost track of how many times I am asked the question, “What is the difference between Chapter 13 bankruptcy and Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and what is the best option for me?” Every time that I am asked that question, I give the same response. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a repayment plan, while Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy. Interestingly enough, every client knows that such a simple answer must carry with it certain complexities. They are right! It is not always that simple. Continue Reading