Here at Cornwell Law Firm, we are familiar with the bankruptcy process in the state and are familiar with the many questions that people often have about the process. Filing for bankruptcy can be emotionally stressful as well as confusing, and it is highly recommended that you talk to an experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorney before making this important financial decision. Some of the most common questions about bankruptcy and the answers are referenced below:
If I file for bankruptcy, will I lose everything?
You may be allowed to keep certain things under the rules concerning bankruptcy exemption, and it is a common misconception that you will automatically lose your home and your car, or your other assets. A bankruptcy lawyer can explain the difference between the two common types of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. If you file Chapter 7, you may lose some of your possessions or assets, while anyone filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be reassured to know that their possessions are safe. A Lawrenceville attorney will be able to advise you which of these two options might be best for you, given your financial situation and you should keep in mind that the benefits of bankruptcy outweigh the drawbacks, for most people with too much debt.
What are the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
If you simply have too much debt and can’t really afford to pay it, Chapter 7 is probably the best option for you as it discharges all your unsecured debts, meaning you are no longer liable for them. If your attorney suggests filing for Chapter 13, you will still be responsible for some of your debts, including alimony, money owed for fines for a criminal offense, child support, and student loans. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not eliminate all your debts entirely; rather, it creates a payment plan under which your payments on your outstanding debts are spread out over a period of three to five years. It has the advantage of relieving much of the stress, making payments more affordable and it also means that after the payment period has elapsed, you will have the balance of your debt dismissed.
Am I eligible to file for bankruptcy?
Yes! Any business, corporation or entity may file for bankruptcy as well as any individual, although a means test will determine whether you are eligible for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. The means test takes into account your income, expenses and amount of debt and determines whether you are able to pay part or all of your debt and this must be taken before filing for bankruptcy. Chapter 13 may be more applicable to your situation if you are able to repay your debts over a period of several years; if your severe financial situation means that you simply can’t repay your debts, then Chapter 7 may apply to you.
What are bankruptcy exemptions?
In Lawrenceville as in other parts of the state of Georgia, you are allowed to keep certain goods and possessions under what is known as bankruptcy exemptions. The type of bankruptcy that you file will determine what these are to a large extent, but in general, they include household furnishings, animals, burial plots, money paid to you from a wrongful death settlement, tools needed for your business, and valuable heirlooms and antiques. You may be allowed to keep your car and your home, depending on their value; it is a common misconception that these are immediately taken from you. One of the experienced and knowledgeable lawyers at the Cornwell Law Firm can advise you further on these exemptions and how they can affect you.
Is there an alternative to filing for bankruptcy?
Yes, there are alternatives, and bankruptcy is not the best option for everyone. It is highly recommended that you consult with a bankruptcy attorney, as they may have other viable options for you, depending on your financial situation.
How will a bankruptcy lawyer help me?
An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help to make sense of the often confusing and difficult bankruptcy process in the state of Georgia and can help you to understand each step of the process. It is easy to make a serious or costly mistake if you do not consult with a bankruptcy attorney; one that can potentially affect the rest of your life. The Cornwell Law Firm has advised hundreds of people in situations similar to yours, and we can help you to determine if bankruptcy is the best solution for you.
Will I be able to discharge all my debt?
It depends whether you file Chapter 13 which will reorganize your debt, allowing you to pay it back over time or Chapter 7 which will discharge your unsecured debts, meaning that you are no longer responsible. Alimony, child support payments, and some tax debts cannot generally be discharged, and you will also have to continue to pay off any student loan debt unless doing so would be too much of a financial hardship and you can verify that. Filing for bankruptcy gives you some much-needed breathing space, takes away much of the stress and allows you to get back on your feet by forcing your creditors to stop calling you and writing to you requesting payment This is known as an automatic stay.
What exactly is an automatic stay?
You can ensure your creditors stop harassing you, and even stop foreclosure or eviction, and your utilities from being disconnected, by putting the automatic stay into effect. The stay allows you enough time to get your affairs in order and offers a respite from an often stressful situation, although it won’t stop pension loans, any criminal action against you, taxes or audits, and support proceedings.
How will my credit be affected by filing bankruptcy?
You can and should immediately start to repair your credit after filing for bankruptcy, although it will adversely affect your credit in the short term. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for seven years; a Chapter 7 for 10 years. Most people look at bankruptcy as a chance for a new beginning and it should not be seen as the end of your life as you know it. It is quite possible to recover from a bankruptcy and put the past behind you, by making sure you pay all your bills on time. You may be able to apply for a new credit card or line of credit or keep an existing one, although it is important to make payments as scheduled.
How long will it take to file bankruptcy?
The payment plan for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is between three and five years, which gives you the extra time you need to get financially organized. If you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it will typically be three to six months before all your unsecured debts are discharged.
We can help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you
I treat my clients as I myself would want to be treated, from the initial no obligation consultation right through the entire process. I have a thorough understanding of the bankruptcy laws in Georgia and can help you to decide if bankruptcy really is the best option for you, and if so, what type of bankruptcy. I will review your situation as soon as I receive the information required by the online case evaluation. Contact the Cornwell Law Firm today if you are struggling with too much debt – there is a solution!