We at Harrison & Fortier, P.C. understand the stress involved in a bankruptcy filing, and we offer a high level of service and attention in a welcoming environment. We start with a free initial meeting in our office, not just a telephone consultation. When you hire us to help you with a bankruptcy matter, you will get the attention you deserve. We help individuals and families resolve problems with all types of debt. We represent clients in bankruptcy proceedings, including: The permanent discharge, or wiping out, of debts under Chapter 7. We can help you get rid of unsecured debts such as credit card obligations and medical bills. We will carefully explain how you can keep your property in a Chapter 7 filing, including your hope and cars. The Repayment of some or all of your debts under Chapter 13. We will put together a payment plan that will allow you to keep your property and catch up on your secured debts and other bills.
The Automatic Stay Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Questions About Bankruptcy Bankruptcy Myths
When you hire our office, we will move quickly to get you the protection of the automatic stay that applies in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. This means that creditor phone calls will stop, foreclosure proceedings will end, and repossession efforts will stop. We will also help you stop garnishment actions and stop any lawsuits to collect a debt. Are you tired of the nonstop calls from creditors? Do you feel scared every time your phone rings? A feature of personal bankruptcy is the automatic stay, which prohibits threatening phone calls and letters from creditors and gives you breathing room so that you can get your financial situation straightened out. When you are struggling to pay your bills, it can be easy to promise a lot of small payments to different creditors or finance companies. A personal bankruptcy filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 can end the calls, preventing creditors from trying to collect a debt. The automatic stay goes into effect as soon as we submit your bankruptcy petition.
The Automatic Stay
Differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13
|Chapter 7||Chapter 13|
|Wipes out debts you cannot afford to pay||Wipes out some debts and helps you repay others in an affordable payment plan|
|Lets you keep your house and car if you are current or can get current on payments||Lets you keep your house and car even if you are not current on your payments|
|Gives you a discharge – a document wiping out your debt – in about 3 months||Gives you a discharge after you complete a 3 to 5 year repayment plan|
|Quicker in getting to discharge||Quicker to put a stop to emergencies like foreclosure, garnishment, and lawsuits|
|Wipes out lawsuit judgments and finance company liens on household goods||May wipe out or reduce judgments and liens depending on the details of your plan|
|Lets you keep all of your assets covered by Georgia’s exemption laws||Lets you keep all of your assets|
Are you uncertain whether you should file bankruptcy? Do you want to know what to expect when you file? Do you have any other questions about the bankruptcy process? Let us help you get the answers to your questions and show you why an experiences bankruptcy lawyer will give you the best chance of meeting your goals. At Harrison & Fortier, P.C., we believe that it is unfortunate that there are so many negative myths about bankruptcy. We know that there is life after bankruptcy, and we can help you rebuild your credit and give yourself more financial choices.
QUESTIONS ABOUT BANKRUPTCY? WE CAN HELP.
GEORGIA CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY LAWIf you have little or no assets, Georgia personal bankruptcy laws may qualify you to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is often the quickest and easiest form of bankruptcy– allowing you to keep many of your possession and eliminating much of your debt. By filing Chapter 7, you truly get the fresh start you need to rebuild your life and your future.
THE CHAPTER 7 PROCESSFiling for personal bankruptcy begins by determining which option– Chapter 7 or Chapter 13–is the best choice for your financial circumstances. Our attorney is experiences in handling both of these types of bankruptcy. We can help you determine which process is the right choice for you. A chapter 7 bankruptcy in Georgia, sometimes called a liquidation plan was created for people with little or no assets. Under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Most unsecured debts, like credit cards and medical bills, can be eliminated completely. You are able to keep a wide range of property under the Georgia exemption laws, including (but not limited to) your home, up to $5,000 of household furnishings, and many types of income.
THE MEANS TEST FOR CHAPTER 7To qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, our attorney will guide you through a two-part means test which must be satisfied. First, your monthly income is compared to the median monthly income for a similarly sized family in Georgia. If your income is below median, then you will qualify for Chapter 7. If your income is above the median, you must meet the second part of the test. If your disposable income (after your expenses are paid) is less than $6,000 in total for the next five years, you will qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In other words, if you can pay $6,000 ($100 per month) over five years towards your debts, you do not qualify for a Chapter 7. Our office can determine your disposable income and tell you which debts are dischargeable. There are certain types of debt that cannot be eliminated under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For example, taxes, student loans, and child or family support debts are not dischargeable.
CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCYIF you do not qualify for a Chapter 7, you may still qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is also known as a “wage earner bankruptcy” because you are still earning an income and meet other requirements. Under chapter 13, you establish a plan to repay your debt over a period of three to five years, and you get to keep more of the possessions you worked so hard to acquire.
HOW A CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY GUIDES YOU THROUGH THE PROCESSFiling for a personal bankruptcy begins by determining which option, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the best choice given your financial situation. We are experienced in handling both of these types of bankruptcy and can help you determine which process is right for you. When you file for Chapter 13, you establish a repayment plan to pay off your debts over a three to five year period– unlike a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where most debts are eliminated without repayment. However, you are able to keep more of your property and assets under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy as compared to Chapter 7.
EXCELLENT PLANNING IS KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL CHAPTER 13 FILINGUnder chapter 13 you must qualify and have a solid repayment plan. Some Chapter 13 requirements include: Under a Chapter 13, certain priority claims must be paid first through your plan, including past-due child support or tax bills. If your monthly income is greater than Georgia’s median income, your repayment plan mus be for 5 years. You are not permitted to have a repayment plan that exceeds 5 years. There are some specific limitations that govern the amount of secured and unsecured debts you can have to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These limitations change based on changes in the consumer price index. A chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a quick approach, but when you file for a chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can look forward to a brighter future. Chapter 13 is a good option for you if:
- You want to avoid foreclosure on a home
- You do not want your car repossessed
- You have significant equity in a home or property that you want to keep
- You have regular income for your monthly expenses, but are unable to keep up with your scheduled payments
- You are looking to protect co-signers
- You have a moral desire to pay off your debts.
There are many misconceptions and myths about filing bankruptcy, mainly because creditors don’t want you to file bankruptcy and post information on the internet in the hopes of stopping you. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Our bankruptcy attorney can give you accurate information.
- I’m going to lose all my property: No, you will not. Our attorney can use Georgia’s homestead exemption law to protect your home, and other assets so that neither your creditors nor the bankruptcy trustee can take them from you to repay your debts.
- My debts cannot be wiped out: Under the right circumstances, almost any type of debt can be discharged (wiped out) in bankruptcy. You should talk to a lawyer about your specific situation.
- I’m going to go to jail: Our experienced bankruptcy lawyer will carefully prepare your bankruptcy petition so that nobody will accuse you of committing bankruptcy fraud or any other crime.
- My creditors will sue me for filing bankruptcy: Once you file bankruptcy, your creditors cannot sue you, and all existing creditor lawsuits are stopped. Once you get a discharge that wipes out your debts, you no longer owe these debts, and your creditors cannot sue you.
- Filing bankruptcy will ruin my credit: If you have fallen behind on your debts, your credit has almost certainly been harmed. Until you file bankruptcy, it will only get worse. Once you receive a bankruptcy discharge, you can get started on rebuilding your credit.