If you have any questions about bankruptcy, please contact our skilled bankruptcy attorneys. Our lawyers handle bankruptcy cases across coastal Georgia including Savannah, Chatham County, Liberty County and Richmond Hill Georgia.
Debt consolidation is an alternative. The debtor must contact a credit counseling service that can help consolidate debts. Also the debtor must choose between the different bankruptcy chapters. While Chapter 7 is the most common, a debtor with regular income should consider Chapter 13. Chapter 13 allows debtors to keep their assets. A small business owner or sole proprietor should consider Chapter 11.
Most of your debts will be discharged by bankruptcy. Once the debt is discharged in bankruptcy, it is no longer enforceable against you. You are no longer required to pay the debt nor can collection activity be initiated against you. Creditors can, however, move to seize any secured asset on which there is a valid lien that has not been avoided (or cleared) by the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy will give you a fresh start in life. Some debts are however not discharged by bankruptcy. These include: taxes; spousal and child support; debts arising out of willful misconduct and or malicious misconduct by the debtor; liability for injury or death from driving while intoxicated; non-dischargeable debts from a prior bankruptcy; student loans; criminal fines and penalties and forfeitures. It does not discharge the debtor from any debt incurred for money, property, services, or an extension, renewal, or refinancing of credit, to the extent obtained by false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud, other than a statement respecting the debtor's or an insider's financial condition.
Any debtor can file for bankruptcy subject to certain restrictions. Individuals, partnerships and corporations can file for Chapter 7. If the debtor's income is sufficient, after subtracting what you'll spend on certain allowed expenses and monthly payments for child support, tax debts, secured debts such as a mortgage or car loan, and a few other types of debts, to fund a Chapter 13 repayment plan, the debtor will not be allowed to file for Chapter 7. Chapter 13 is restricted to individual debtors with regular income. Chapter 13 eligibility is contingent on the fact that the individual's unsecured and secured debts are between certain dollar amounts that are adjusted annually by statute. Small businesses should file under Chapter 11. The debtor cannot file for bankruptcy if a previous bankruptcy petition was dismissed within the past 180 days.
20 to 40 days after the petition is filed, the trustee will call for a meeting of the creditors. The debtor must attend this meeting. During this meeting the debtor will be under oath. This meeting takes place somewhere in the courthouse rarely lasts more than a few minutes. In most Chapter 7 cases, this is perhaps the only time the debtor will visit the court. The trustee will administer the oath to the debtor and ask questions about the bankruptcy and the debtor's assets and finances. The trustee has to ensure that the debtor is aware of the potential consequences of seeking a discharge in bankruptcy, including the effect on credit history, the ability to file a petition under a different chapter, the effect of receiving a discharge, and the effect of reaffirming a debt. Bankruptcy judges are prohibited from attending this meeting of creditors in order to preserve their independence.
A debtor in Chapter 7 proceedings will generally get a discharge in 60 to 90 days after the date set for the meeting of creditors unless a complaint has been filed objecting to the discharge or the debtor has filed a written waiver. Once the debtor receives a discharge, the debtor is free from personal liability for the discharged debts and creditors cannot collect the discharged debts. Liens however continue even after a Chapter 7 discharge.
1. The debtor failed to keep or produce adequate books or financial records;
2. The debtor failed to explain satisfactorily any loss of assets;
3. The debtor committed a bankruptcy crime such as perjury;
4. The debtor failed to obey a lawful order of the bankruptcy court; or
5. The debtor fraudulently transferred, concealed, or destroyed property that would have become property of the estate.
1. Alimony and child maintenance and support obligations,
2. Certain taxes,
3. Debts for certain educational loans made or guaranteed by a governmental unit,
4. Debts for willful and malicious injury inflicted by the debtor,
5. Debts for death or personal injury caused by the debtor's operation of a motor vehicle while the debtor was intoxicated from alcohol or other substances, and
6. Debts for criminal restitution orders.
Upon the filing of the petition, an impartial trustee is appointed to administer the case. The primary role of the Chapter 13 trustee is to serve as a disbursing agent, collecting payments from the debtor according to the repayment plan and, in turn, distributing these payments to creditors.
The plan describes in detail how the debtor will repay each debt. There is no official form for the plan, but many courts have designed their own forms. The plan must be approved by the court and provides for payments of fixed amounts to the trustee on a regular basis, typically biweekly or monthly. The trustee then distributes the funds to creditors according to the terms of the plan, which typically offers creditors less than full payment on their claims. The plans must be of three years. If the debtor can show cause, the court will approve plans of five years but plans above five years will not be approved.
If for some reason the debtor is unable to finish the repayment plan the bankruptcy trustee may modify the plan. The trustee may:
1. give a grace period, if the problem looks temporary
2. reduce the total monthly payments, or
3. extend the repayment period.
Employers cannot fire or discriminate against employees who have been discharged in bankruptcy proceedings.
Copy of the discharge order can be obtained online using the PACER system or by collecting it from the court office after paying the fees.
Our bankruptcy attorneys are based in Savannah Georgia. We help clients with debt relief in Savannah Georgia, Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Chatham County, Bryan County, Glynn County, McIntosh County and Liberty County. Call a seasoned bankruptcy lawyer in Savannah GA now.