What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal status that pertains to an individual, or entity, that is insolvent. When bankruptcy is declared it effectively shields one’s creditors from repaying outstanding debts. Bankruptcy is controlled by the federal government. Under Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution, Congress has the authority to create laws regulating bankruptcy proceedings. In addition to federal laws concerning bankruptcy each state has its own specific bankruptcy laws.
Kinds of bankruptcy
There are series of different chapters of bankruptcy in the United States. When an individual, or entity, who is located in Atlanta, Georgia is in financial trouble and is thinking about filing for bankruptcy it is important that he, or she, seek the representation from an Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney. Bankruptcy proceedings are very complex and depending on the level of representation that an individual retains he, or she, may not get the creditor protection that they need.
The most common forms of bankruptcy proceedings that an Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney will help an individual with are filing for chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings are referred to as “liquidation bankruptcy” proceedings. These types of proceedings are taken when an individual has no recourse, or ability, to pay back his, or her, creditors, either now or in the future. The process begins with the Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney filing with the bankruptcy, or district, court. At that point the Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney will gather your income, expenditures and other financial information for the court to approve. Upon approval from the court all creditors will be stayed from trying to collect money owed.
The other type of bankruptcy that is common among individuals is filing for Chapter 13. Chapter 13, also known as “wage earner plan” is a form of bankruptcy for individuals who wish to repay their debts but do not currently have the ability to do so. In order to file for a chapter 13 bankruptcy an individual must have less than $100,000 in unsecured debt and less than $350,000 in secured debt. One of the jobs of the Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney is to plead your case for why you should be able to file for chapter 13 even if you do not “technically” meet these requirements.
Even though declaring bankruptcy will help shield an individual from their creditors there are some types of assets that are not protected through bankruptcy. These include: alimony and child support; both federal and state taxes; student loans; judgments for intentional torts; and others. You should discuss all possible non-dischargeable debts that may be applicable to you,under both federal and Georgia law, with your Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney.
In certain situations creditors may ask the court to deny the discharge of debt when certain conditions occur. These include when the debtor fails to adequately explain loss of assets; the debtor perjures himself; an the debtor fraudulently transfers, destroys, or conceals assets from the court and the creditor. Your Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney should be able to help you rebut any claims of wrongdoing that may lead you to lose your rights to discharge a debt because of any of these accusations, assuming they are false.
Both the federal and state laws concerning bankruptcy permit exemptions in bankruptcy. This means that when a court allocates an individuals assets to be spread to his, or her, creditors certain assets will be exempt from being taken to fulfill any balance that the court declares you pay the creditor. This includes a homestead allowance; exempt personal property which includes jewelry, motor vehicles, clothing, etc.; wages; pensions;public benefits such as welfare and social security; tools of the trade; alimony; and insurance. Your Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney should be abreast of they types and amounts of exemptions you may claim under both the federal and state bankruptcy laws.
Results of Bankruptcy
One of the goals of meeting with an Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney is to discuss whether you should even file for bankruptcy in the first place. Filing for bankruptcy may help you shield your assets from creditors and essentially give you a “second chance” to have a financial existence, however, filing for bankruptcy will have long lasting affects that should be considered prior to filing for bankruptcy.
When meeting with an Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney you should first discuss whether it is possible to repay your debts without filing. The Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney may be able to negotiate alternatives such as alternative repayment plans, consolidation, and help you determine how and when you should repay your creditors so that you may keep your assets and maintain some form of credit while you are working to repay your outstanding debts. Your Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney may also be able to negotiate with your creditors to lower the amount of money that you owe. When you are a credit risk and contemplating bankruptcy some creditors will realize that they may receive little or nothing of what you owe them. An Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney will negotiate with creditors so that you may end up paying a fraction of what your total debt to a creditor is.
Where do I find Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorneys?
When your looking for an Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney you can look through the internet to find a number of qualified Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorneys. Almost every Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney advertises their qualifications through attorney websites.
In addition you can call the Georgia Bar Association to help in your search for an Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney. The Georgia Bar Association does not run its own referral service but it does have a listing of referral services that you can contact. To contact the Georgia Bar Association you can call 404-527-8700.
You can also take advantage of the laws.com referral service. By clicking on the link at the top of this page you can locate Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorneys close to you that meet your specific needs. Laws.com will request that you input your name, contact information and give a description of your specific problem. A representative from laws.com will review your request and contact you with information about Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorneys that will be able to help you decide what type of bankruptcy you should file, if at all, and help you protect as much of your assets as possible.