If you are considering filing for bankruptcy but are unsure what your rights and options are, you should speak with an attorney. An Atlanta bankruptcy attorney with a broad range of experience helping clients pursue debt relief could evaluate your situation and help you make the right decision for your case. A dedicated attorney could serve as your advocate and protect your rights at all stages of the bankruptcy process.
There is a wide range of bankruptcy actions that someone may file depending on the facts of their case and the level of income the filer earns. Two of the most commonly filed bankruptcy actions are Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A notable difference between these two different actions is that either a company or a person can pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy action while Chapter 13 action reserved for a personal bankruptcy alone.
When a person is interested in filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, their wages will be the primary determinant of whether or not they can pursue this particular action. If the individual’s wages fall below what the average Georgia household of their size earns, they may be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, if the person’s income is more than what the average family in Georgia would earn, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is likely more suitable.
In Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a trustee will be designated to handle the disbursement of funds to the individual’s creditors. How the person’s creditors are paid is very different in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy than in a Chapter 13 action. For Chapter 7, any property classified as non-exempt must be sold and the proceeds of that property’s sale will be distributed to the individual’s creditors. At the close of the individual’s Chapter 7 case, they will be released of personal liability for dischargeable debts, essentially making a new start. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the filing party does not need to sell any assets, but they will be required to make payments to the trustee to disburse to their creditors for three to five years.
When someone files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, one of the most significant concerns that often arises is whether they will be forced to give up all their possessions or not. Fortunately, Georgia law indicates property types that may be classified as exempt from sale when paying the person’s creditors. These property exemptions are subject to monetary limits. For instance, when an Atlanta attorney helps someone file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and they wish to retain jewelry they own, the law allows them to keep up to $500 of equity in their jewelry. As another example, someone filing for bankruptcy as a single individual may be able to retain up to $21,500 in equity in their residence.
There are other exemptions for assets that someone filing for bankruptcy could claim including lost wage, pension, and insurance. The state also has something known as the wildcard exemption, which allows them to retain a maximum of $10,000 equity remaining from their residence exemption, as well as $1,200 equity in any asset.
Even though someone filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may no longer be liable to pay the outstanding debt at the close of their case, some debts cannot be abolished through bankruptcy. Debts that are generally not forgiven after someone’s bankruptcy case include things like criminal fines, alimony, and student loans. Even when a court forgives someone’s debt, certain obligations, known as secured debts, may be subject to further action by the creditor. For example, if someone takes out a loan on their property but is unable to pay that loan, their financial responsibility as the borrower may be eradicated at the end of their case, but this would not bar the creditor from seizing that asset. A local bankruptcy attorney can help someone understand the exemptions that may apply for their case, as well as their non-dischargeable debt obligations.
If you need help determining what bankruptcy options may be available to you, a knowledgeable Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer is only a phone call away. An attorney could discuss your concerns and answer your questions about bankruptcy while helping you decide which is the best route for you. Call now to book a confidential consultation today and start getting the debt relief you need.