Local Bankruptcy & Debt Lawyers!
Right here in Georgia and throughout the United States, millions of people are dealing with major debt issues. For many people, the best option to get a "fresh financial start" is bankruptcy. Let our Georgia bankruptcy law team help you get a fresh start today!
Filing for bankruptcy can stop those harassing collection calls
Help Is On the Way
With offices in Roswell, Alpharetta, Atlanta and Cumming, bankruptcy lawyers Valerie Sherman and Bill Sherman have filed many thousands of bankruptcy petitions, saved numerous homes from foreclosure, and assisted consumers and families in eliminating numerous debts totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars combined. We're proud to have helped so many wonderful people over the years.
We understand that bad things can happen to good people!
Let our AMAZING experience help you and your family
Now you can benefit from the years of experience we have in dealing with creditors, debt collectors, credit card companies, doctors, hospitals, and big banks who want to sue you, garnish your wages, repossess your car or truck, or foreclose on your home.
When you hire great debt relief attorneys you will instantly feel at ease and fully comfortable in knowing that you have an expert team in your corner answering all of your questions and making sure you are being taken care of. Attorneys Bill Sherman and Valerie Sherman strive every day to offer unparalleled personal service to help keep you sleeping well at night and to bring down your stress level. We know how stressful debt can be!
We always perform an in-depth financial analysis and answer all of your questions. We will let you know all of your options and if you are a good candidate for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy or whether we should do debt negotiation on your behalf.
A Compassionate Bankruptcy Lawyer
Our overriding philosophy as bankruptcy lawyers is quite simple. It is to provide the very best, one-on-one experience for our clients. We believe in individual client attention as opposed to some of the larger bankruptcy firms that view bankruptcy more as a mechanical, factory process. We always strive to provide a compassionate, respectful, and inviting environment for clients, and know that clients appreciate this during what can easily be the most stressful time in their lives. As a bankruptcy lawyers, our experience and approach is client-centered. This allows us to provide a very welcoming and effective bankruptcy service to clients.
A bankruptcy filing can alleviate many issues involving debt and the collection of debt
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcies are the most filed form of bankruptcy in Georgia and throughout the United States. A Chapter 7 eliminates most forms of debt, such as credit cards, medical and doctor bills, personal loans, and most tax debt over three years old. Chapter 7 also wipes-out debt from vehicle repossessions, real estate foreclosures, and debt from old apartments.
However, not everyone qualifies for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
You must qualify for this type of bankruptcy. We perform a thorough financial assessment to determine if you qualify for a Chapter 7. We look at many factors to determine if you qualify, including your income and expenses.
You can't file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you previously completed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy within the last eight years, but you can file a Chapter 13 instead to get debt relief.
Interestingly, businesses can also file a Chapter 7. All types of companies utilize Chapter 7 to get out of debt.
What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Besides the Chapter 7, the next most common type of bankruptcy for consumers is a Chapter 13. Also known as a “reorganization,” a Chapter 13 allows for the repayment of debt over a three to five year period. Payments under this “chapter” are based, in part, upon your disposable income, which is the income left over after you pay your necessary monthly expenses.
Chapter 13 can really help people in debt. For example, a person can file Chapter 13 on the eve of a foreclosure and save their house. They can put all the money they were supposed to pay on the mortgage but didn't (the mortgage arrears) into the bankruptcy and pay it off over five years. It can also stop car repossessions in the same way.
Our team will help you to regain control of your financial situation so that you can be proactive and take the lead in restoring your financial health. We use bankruptcy as a critical tool in this process; however, it is only part of the process. If you are ready to take control of the process and your financial life, and ready to stop letting it control you, we're ready to help!
STOP DELAYING – GET HELP NOW!
If you're reading this, there's a good chance you need financial help.
The first step to address any problem is to stop procrastinating or simply ignoring the problem. You're probably not going to win the lottery, and your financial problems won't go away on their own – they haven't yet. Unfortunately, far too many good and smart people spend too much time hoping that “things will get better.” And the sad part is, they usually only get worse.
Rather than waiting until the lawsuits pile up and wage garnishments hit and the debt collectors' step-up their harassment, the best strategy is to contact an expert while you still have assets to use in the best interests of your family.
Remember, this is your financial life. You own it and you can regain control over it. But first you have to take an honest look at your situation and then consider your options.
GET INTELLIGENT, REAL ADVICE
The best way to evaluate your situation and your options is to get sound legal advice. There are all kinds of financial scammers offering financial advice, “experts” offering get-rich-quick schemes, and other “consultants” who are happy to take your money.
STOP! DON'T PAY ANY SCAMMERS
Don't spend any more money with the scammers. You don't need any more debt and stress. Call us now at 678-215-4106 for a free case evaluation. Let's talk about getting you a fresh financial start!
YOU NEED A PLAN
People tell us that the worst part of having financial issues is the uncertainty. Which bills are coming next? When is the next collection agent going to call and harass you? Am I going to be sued? Will my wages be garnished? Is my bank account safe from judgments or a levy? Will someone foreclose on our house? How am I going to buy food if we run out of money? What am I going to do?
If you ignore the problem you allow your creditors and their debt collectors to take control of the situation, and as you may already know, the collectors can be mean and ruthless. They're actually paid to be mean and ruthless!
Where are the bankruptcy courts located?
Bankruptcy is provided for in the United States Constitution and bankruptcy law is federal law, although there are some state components. The Northern District of Georgia bankruptcy courts are located in four different locations. These courts are located in:
Atlanta (at 75 Ted Turner Drive, SW)
Gainesville (at 121 Spring Street SE)
Newnan (at 18 Greenville Street)
Rome (at 600 East First Street)
Where you live determines which bankruptcy court will get your case.
Some Frequently Asked Bankruptcy Questions (FAQ)
Question: Can I file for bankruptcy?
Most likely. The law provides multiple chapters to file under. When you have too much debt, millions of Americans turn to bankruptcy. It's in the United States Constitution!
Question: I'm married. Does my spouse have to file?
No. Many times just one spouse files bankruptcy.
The better question really is: "Should my spouse file?" This is a fact-specific inquiry we do that focuses on your assets, your spouse's assets, when you were married, and when the debts were incurred. That's one of the many reasons we perform a thorough financial assessment as part of our engagement.
Question: Will I lose everything if I file for bankruptcy?
No. The vast majority of bankruptcy cases filed from Georgia result in no assets being taken from the debtors.
The whole purpose of a bankruptcy is so you get a fresh start in your financial life, and retaining items such as your house, your vehicles, and your personal belongings, as well as your retirement accounts, is certainly essential to that fresh start.
Each person has his or her unique set of property interests and we discuss that with you at our initial meeting and tell you whether any of it is at risk.
Question: Can bankruptcy help me save my home?
Yes. That's a major reason for filing bankruptcy. Filing a Chapter 13 can stop a foreclosure and help you retain your home or property.
Question: Do I have to disclose my current income?
Yes. Your income will be used to help determine your eligibility and which chapter (7 or 13) you utilize. You will have to disclose your income in your petition for bankruptcy filing, before proceedings can start.
Question: Can you be denied a student loan because you or your parents file bankruptcy?
Absolutely not. Section 525 of the Bankruptcy Code prohibits discriminatory treatment by any governmental or other student loan program on the basis of filing a bankruptcy. This means that a student loan agency cannot deny your loan application based on the filing, by you or anyone you know, of a bankruptcy.
Question: If I file bankruptcy, can I be fired or denied employment?
Absolutely not. An employer cannot fire someone because of a bankruptcy. This is set forth in Section 525 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Question: Is it too late to file bankruptcy if I'm being sued or already have a judgment or wage garnishment against me?
No. The good news is that it's almost never too late to file bankruptcy. If it's a dischargeable debt (meaning one that isn't incurred through fraud, or a domestic support obligation, or one of the others Congress has excluded from discharge), you can still eliminate the debt even if a creditor has filed a lawsuit against you and gotten a judgment, or you are having your wages garnished.
Question: Can I transfer assets out of my name into someone else's before filing bankruptcy?
Don't do this before speaking with a Georgia bankruptcy lawyer. You don't want to take chances. And not unless they are sold for “reasonably equivalent value.” Otherwise it can be recovered by the bankruptcy court as a fraudulent transfer.
Question: Can I Get Credit Again?
In-depth research has clearly demonstrated you will be more likely to get credit after you have filed bankruptcy than if you do not file at all. This is because bankruptcy totally removes the debts you cannot afford to pay. Simply put, after you file bankruptcy, you don't have any debt. And having less debt and a job makes you look very appealing to lenders.
Question: What is a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure?
Sometimes it is possible to negotiate to have the lender accept your voluntary surrender of the property to avoid foreclosure. This is known as a "deed in lieu of foreclosure." Your mortgage company will not accept a deed in lieu if there is a junior mortgage or other lien on the property. In that case a foreclosure would be necessary to clear title to the property.
Question: What is the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debt?
Secured debt, commonly mortgages, car loans, etc., is debt that is secured by real or personal property. Creditors can generally claim the property that secures the debt in the event of a bankruptcy filing, unless you are current on the payments. Unsecured debt, including credit card balances, personal loans, medical bills, etc., is debt that is not secured by any type of property.
Question: Are there any debts that I can't eliminate by filing bankruptcy?
Yes, some debts can't be gotten rid of by filing. Here are some debts you can't eliminate in bankruptcy:
- child support;
- most student loans;
- court fines and criminal restitution; and
- personal injury caused by driving drunk or under the influence of drugs
Question: Do you have to list all your creditors in your bankruptcy petition?
Yes, the law provides that you must list in your bankruptcy petition all your creditors. A creditor is any company or any person, even a family member or friend, that you owe money.
Question: How does filing bankruptcy stop creditor actions against you?
When you file a bankruptcy petition, the court issues an ‘‘automatic stay,'' which is a legal action that prevents creditors from pursuing collection efforts or lawsuits against you in an effort to collect a debt. If the creditor has already seized funds after the petition was filed, in many cases those funds must be returned. Your bankruptcy attorney will explain what legal actions are available to recover these funds.
Question: When will the harassing telephone calls stop?
As soon as you file bankruptcy, all of the creditors are notified that you have invoked your constitutional right to file bankruptcy. Upon receipt of that notice, all of your creditors are bound by the Bankruptcy Code to cease any and all communication with you. They cannot call you, write to you, sue you, foreclose on your house, repossess any items from you, garnish any wages or take any other legal action whatsoever.
Question: What Causes People to File for Bankruptcy?
People file for bankruptcy relief for many different reasons. But the "Big 3" are:
- Health problems/medical bills
- Loss of Job or underemployment (making a lot less than you used to)
Question: Will I lose my cars?
The bankruptcy process is designed to help you keep the vehicles necessary for your family. Either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 can provide the necessary protection so that you can retain the cars required to maintain your family needs.
Question: When can I apply for credit again?
There's certainly no law that prevents anyone from extending credit to you immediately after you file bankruptcy, The decision whether to grant you credit in the future is up to each creditor. But creditors aren't required by law to extend you credit within any specific time frame.
Question: What if there are some debts I want to make sure get paid?
Even if a debt is legally discharged in a filing, you can choose to pay it. And choosing to pay one of course doesn't mean you have to pay all of your discharged debts.
Question: What information do I need to provide?
We have clients complete a questionnaire that collects information about property, expenses and creditors. We also ask for relevant paystubs or other income statements, tax returns, credit reports and other basic information.
Question: Will someone come to my home?
The quick answer is almost certainly not. For a bankruptcy you must list all your assets. Unless you have very expensive collectibles or similar valuables, it will be clear that your assets are exempt. So the trustee won't bother to send an appraiser to your home.
However, all this changes if you don't tell the truth about your assets. A creditor or personal enemy may tell the authorities. If that happens, you'll be dealing with a very suspicious trustee. And if substantial assets are uncovered that were not disclosed, you could face federal criminal charges.
Question: Can I get rid of income taxes through Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Generally, we have a good shot at eliminating income tax debt more than 3 years old.
Question: Is it Difficult to File for Bankruptcy?
Not if you're using an experienced and knowledgeable Georgia bankruptcy lawyer. People get scared of the process because it involves the federal court system and you need the right information and documents prepared in exactly the right way. However, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can make the process as seamless and comfortable as possible. We can explain exactly what will happen, what you can expect, and how we can help you and your family achieve a happier, debt-free future as soon as possible.
Question: Will I Lose My License Because of Filing Bankruptcy?
No. The bankruptcy law prohibits the government from denying, revoking, suspending or refusing to renew a license, permit, charter franchise or similar grant because of filing bankruptcy.
Question: Can my creditors still try to collect a debt from me even after I file bankruptcy?
No, and if a creditor tries, they risk being held in contempt of court. Furthermore, you may be able to sue that creditor for damages for even trying.
Question: Can I change from one chapter of bankruptcy to another?
Generally, you can convert a case from one chapter to another. However, there can be pitfalls in doing so. If you're thinking that this is a possiblity you want to explore, you should consult a local bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your options.
Question: Should I work with a credit repair company?
Credit repair companies are scams. It is highly recommended that you first speak with an attorney about your financial issues before working with a credit repair company.
Question: In Georgia, can I get rid of medical bills and hospital bills by filing?
Yes, under the bankruptcy statute, medical bills are dischargeable in a bankruptcy. It is actually a very common reason that individuals and families are forced to file for bankruptcy.
Question: Can a couple in a same-sex marriage file bankruptcy together?
Yes! Any legally married couple can file bankruptcy together. And same-sex marriages are totally legal. That doesn't mean that a married couple must file bankruptcy together, however. Many times only one spouse files bankruptcy.
Question: What are the credit counseling and financial management courses?
To file for bankruptcy, the law requires a debtor to complete a credit counseling certificate. This certificate must be filed with the Bankruptcy Court.
To receive the bankruptcy order of discharge, a debtor must also complete a financial management course before the case has concluded. There is generally a fee for the course. This certificate must be filed with the Bankruptcy Court.
Question: I live in Bartow County. Which court do I use for bankruptcy?
Bartow County is located in the Northern District of Georgia. You are located in the Rome division for bankruptcy, along with Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Paulding, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. All residents of these counties go to the city of Rome for their bankruptcy hearing.
Question: What debts are not dischargeable?
Here are some debts that are generally non-dischargeable in bankruptcy:
- Student loans
- Most tax liabilities (but some are)
- Court-imposed fines
- Debt incurred by fraud
- Debt incurred in a personal injury action where punitive damages were awarded
- Child support and spousal maintenance
Question: Will I have to go to court?
Usually, no. You will, however, need to attend a meeting of creditors, also known as a trustee meeting or "the 341." There's no reason to be concerned. Trustees are generally friendly and professional individuals, and should not be feared. Their job is to ask you simple questions, ones which we'll prepare you for in advance.
Question: What Is A Chapter 7 Trustee?
Bankruptcy trustees work for the bankruptcy court. When we file your Chapter 7 petition, an impartial trustee is appointed to administer the case. The Chapter 7 trustee will preside over the meeting of creditors and determine whether there are any nonexempt assets available for the benefit of creditors.
Question: Will filing bankruptcy affect my security clearance?
The Bankruptcy Code, specifically Section 525, prevents private employers and the U.S. Government from discriminating against you because you filed bankruptcy. Thus, filing bankruptcy cannot be a basis to revoke a security clearance.
But, if you have serious debt problems that you are not addressing, such as outstanding judgments, garnishments, levies, and lawsuits, your employer can use these issues against you in hiring or promotion considerations. Filing bankruptcy is the best way to address your financial problems. Don't let your debt issues continue unaddressed indefinitely.
Question: What Is A Chapter 13 Trustee?
There are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 trustees. Some trustees only handle Chapter 7 cases, while other trustees only handle Chapter 13 cases. When we file your Chapter 13 petition, an impartial case trustee is appointed to monitor the case and administer payments under the plan.
Question: Will my immigration status be affected by filing bankruptcy?
No. It does not affect immigration status at all. Many people are concerned and worry unnecessarily that they will somehow jeopardize their immigration status if they file for bankruptcy. This is incorrect. Filing bankruptcy has no affect on immigration status.
Question: What are Priority Debts?
In a bankruptcy petition, your debts are must be classified as either priority, secured, or unsecured. Each is treated differently depending on which chapter (7 or 13) is filed. Priority debts in consumer filings are usually limited to government tax liabilities and support obligations. Priority creditors under the law have certain rights to payment over other creditors.
Question: Can Filing Chapter 7 Help Me Close My Business?
Yes, it can. If you decide to close your business and cannot pay all your outstanding debts, Chapter 7 can be utilized to avoid defending lawsuits and other forms of harassment and protect your personal assets if possible.
Question: Can My Co-signers Be Protected?
Yes. Under the law, Chapter 13 bankruptcy co-signers who are liable with the you on consumer debts are protected from the collection activities of creditors.
Question: What is a bankruptcy discharge?
A bankruptcy "discharge" is vital and is the main reason most people file a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy case. Once the bankruptcy court here in the Northern District of Georgia enters a "Discharge Order" at the end of a bankruptcy case, you are no longer personally obligated to repay the dischargeable debts and the creditors are prohibited from attempting to collect on debts that have been discharged.
Question: Can I Keep My Paychecks and Earnings?
Yes! Under the law, any garnishment of your check because of a judgment by a creditor must stop immediately after the bankruptcy has been filed.
Question: How can you determine whether a debt is secured?
Perhaps the best way to determine whether a debt is a secured debt is to review the documents signed at the time the debt was incurred. If the debt is secured, the documents will state that and will describe the creditor's security interest, which is usually in the property that is the subject of the financing.
Question: What Is The Meeting of Creditors?
Also called a Section 341 meeting, it is a required administrative hearing under the bankruptcy law which allows the trustee to ask you questions regarding your financial situation.
Question: What Is The Confirmation Hearing?
Confirmation hearings are held in Chapter 13 cases. This is where the judge approves the proposed repayment plan. Following confirmation, the trustee begins making payments to the creditors who have filed claims in the case. The confirmation hearing takes place after the meeting of creditors.
Question: Can I have a Bank Account Following Bankruptcy?
Yes! You can keep your bank account or you can even get a new bank account. Many people for some reason think that they will not be allowed to have assets after a bankruptcy like a house or bank account. It's just not true. Bankruptcy exists to help people, not hurt them.
Question: But I have a steady income. Can I file?
Most people who file bankruptcy have a job. Many have really good jobs! But the cost of living is incredibly high and almost everyone can get into financial trouble. Since debtors have differing situations, there are also differing types of bankruptcy.
Question: Can filing bankruptcy stop bill collectors from calling?
Yes. The automatic stay prevents debt collectors from taking any action to collect debts, and that includes calling you.
Question: What About Student Loans?
Under the bankruptcy statute, student loans are not discharged unless you can prove that repaying the student loan would create an undue hardship on you and your dependents. Undue hardship is difficult to establish but it can be done.
Question: What's a reaffirmation agreement?
A reaffirmation agreement is used to legally reaffirm a debt. Reaffirming a debt is completely voluntary and isn't required by the bankruptcy law. You may certainly voluntarily repay any debt instead of signing a reaffirmation agreement, but there may be good reasons for wanting to reaffirm a specific debt. This is common when a vehicle is involved.
Question: Can I continue making my house payments In and after bankruptcy?
Yes! You can keep your home (that's what bankruptcy is designed for!), and if you utilize a chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, you could also catch up your mortgage payments if they have gotten behind.
Question: I owe back taxes to the IRS and the State of Georgia. Can I discharge them in bankruptcy?
Possibly. Certain taxes can be discharged in bankruptcy while others cannot. Even if your taxes cannot be discharged, filing a plan of reorganization may allow you to pay back your taxes interest and penalty free over five years.
Question: Can I file bankruptcy if I'm being sued by a creditor?
Yes. Filing bankruptcy will stop almost all collection activity, including garnishment, repossession, and foreclosure.
Question: What is the "automatic stay"?
The automatic "stay" is occurs with the filing of a bankruptcy case, both chapter 7 and chapter 13. It forbids creditors from continuing to try to collect while your case is in the bankruptcy court. If you are being sued, it will stop the lawsuit.
The stay is a powerful tool and creates an injunction from any creditor moving forward. The policy behind the stay is is that the bankruptcy court is charged with equally distributing any non-exempt assets to creditors so to allow any one creditor to move forward to try to collect on their debt alone would thwart the bankruptcy trustee from performing his or her role in the process.
Question: Can I go bankrupt if I own a business?
Yes, you can! A business is its own legal entity under law. Therefore, the business can file without you filing, and you can file without it filing. Many times, though, business and corporate debts are personally guaranteed. That is you have pledge your own credit to pay the business debts.
Question: Are Utility Services Affected?
Public utilities, such as the electric company, cannot refuse or cut off service because you have filed for bankruptcy.
Question: Can I file bankruptcy with a close friend? We'd like to file together to save money and time?
No, you can't file with a close friend. You can each file separately, however. Under the bankruptcy code, only spouses can file bankruptcy jointly.
Question: What should I do to get an automatic stay?
Once we file for you, the automatic stay is in effect. So you don't have to do anything; we do it for you! Once your bankruptcy petition is filed with the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the automatic stay will come into effect by law. The automatic stay is an injunction against collection activities of all sorts. The automatic stay means bill collectors and other creditors have to toattly stop their collcetion efforts. For instance, the automatic stay will stops creditors filing lawsuits, making harassing phone calls or sending you nasty letters.
Question: Can my pet dog file bankruptcy?
That's a great question! And in the interests of answering every question, we'll tackle this one. It's actually an easy answer. A pet or other animal can't file bankruptcy. Only a human being can file.
Question: Can I get a credit card after bankruptcy?
Yes. You have options. If the creditor grants you approval, you can keep your current credit card. If not, people use a bank or debit card. There are also great secured credit cards that you can obtain.
Question: How To Determine If You Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
Financial hardships can be debilitating. Too much debt leads to stress, broken marriages, and health problems. It's all been documented in study after study. If you are unsure whether bankruptcy is a good step for you, the best thing to do would be to speak to an experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorney who can give you your options. Here are some signs which may indicate you need to speak with a bankruptcy attorney:
Credit card debt: Carrying a high credit card balance? That's a sign. Especially if you are just making minimum payments.
Medical debt: Medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcy. Hospital and doctor bills can be incredibly high and can cause serious financial pain.
Borrowing from retirement: Borrowing from your retirement accounts? That's a red flag. It means you are overwhelmed by debt and need help..
Foreclosure and repossession: If you even think you are facing foreclosure or a vehicle repossession, you probably need to file bankruptcy. Both mean you need help.
Harassment by creditors: Are you getting calls and messages from creditors and debt collectors? If you are, we can "shut them up" by filing bankruptcy. Once we file, they can never contact you again.
Wage garnishment: If you are being garnished, we need to talk. That's a huge indicator that you need to file. And if you're getting garnished, that will make your other bills harder to pay.
Poor credit: If your credit score is low, bankruptcy can get you a fresh start. While your credit rating may initially take a hit when you file, you can and should immediately start working on rebuilding your credit. When you have no debt, your credit score will grow. A lot of people don't know that filing for bankruptcy can actually help improve their credit score over time.
Question: Does it matter what my income is when filing bankruptcy?
Anyone can file bankruptcy, regardless of income. In fact, bankruptcy is provided for the the United States Constitution. The real question, however, isn't whether you can file bankruptcy but what type of bankruptcy you can file. But income does impact which chapter you can file under, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
Question: Should I Consider Taking Out a Debt Consolidation Loan to Pay Debts?
No. This is almost always a terrible idea. Speak with a bankruptcy attorney before making the decision to take out a debt consolidation loan. If the debt consolidation loan is secured by your home, for example, it changes unsecured debt, which is typically dischargeable in bankruptcy, into secured debt which is typically not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Many other issues are raised by consolidation loans. Speak to an attorney before taking out a debt consolidation loan.
Question: Can bankruptcy help get my Georgia driver's license back?
It can! If you lost your license solely because you couldn't pay court-ordered damages caused in an accident, bankruptcy will allow you to get your license back.
Question: I know I have to declare bankruptcy. Will the court mind if it sees dog food expenses on my credit card charges?
Americans love their pets! And Georgians are no exception to the rule. We see all kinds of pet-related expenses that people have incurred. Everything from pet food and veterinary expenses to kitty litter, dog biscuits, obedience training, and toys. We've seen people with all kinds of pets, not only dogs and cats, but birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, to name just some! The good news is that these pet expenses are dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Question: Should I move my assets in to my wife's or children's names?
No, don't do that. The bankruptcy court trustee is usually able to pull bank and payment statements, and will be able to see accounts and assets of yours. To avoid doing anything questionable, always speak with a bankruptcy lawyer before doing anything with assets.
Question: Which counties are in the Newnan district for bankruptcy?
Here are the counties in the Newnan district of bankruptcy court: Carroll, Coweta, Fayette, Haralson, Heard, Meriwether, Pike, Spalding, and Troup. Should you live in any of these counties, your bankruptcy hearing will be in the city of Newnan.
Question: Can taxes be discharged in bankruptcy?
You can, in fact, discharge income tax debt under certain circumstances. This can be one of the most complicated areas of bankrupcty practice, but taxes can be discharged if they meet certain criteria under the law.
Question: Can I file bankruptcy with my girlfriend?
No, you can't. You can only file bankruptcy with a spouse. But if you get married, then you can file together.
Question: I have a co-signer/co-debtor on a loan. Will they be affected by my bankruptcy?
They should not be affected. That's because as long as the debt is paid on time, a co-signer/co-debtor's credit should not be affected. But they are still liable for the debt even if you discharge it by going bankrupt.
Question: Can I Still Get a Student Loan After I File Bankruptcy?
Yes. Bankruptcy law prohibits the government and those making loans guaranteed or insured under a student loan program from denying a grant, loan, loan guarantee, or loan insurance to a person that is or has been a debtor in a bankruptcy case.
Question: My mortgage lender has started foreclosure proceedings. Can bankruptcy help me save my home?
The automatic stay, pursuant to the law, will stop a foreclosure in either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
In a Chapter 7, the automatic stay's protection is likely only temporary. The mortgage company, however, is likely to request the bankruptcy court to lift the automatic stay so it can continue with the foreclosure if you are still behind on mortgage payments after you file your bankruptcy.
By contrast, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to allow you catch-up on payments over time (generally 36 to 60 months) while under the protection of the automatic stay.
Question: I will never be able to buy anything again, right?
Incorrect. Our clients tell us they get new credit cards, purchase cars, and even buy houses after bankruptcy, and sometimes during bankruptcy. After filing, clients tell us that bankruptcy improved their credit score by improving their debt-to-income ratio.
Question: What's a joint petition?
An individual and a spouse can file a single bankruptcy petition. That's a joint petition. Unmarried partners, however, must each file a separate case.
Question: Do I make too much money to file for bankruptcy?
It is actually nearly impossible to earn too much money for all types bankruptcy. However the level of household income determines which bankruptcy for which you qualify. There are special exceptions for business debts, which are quite favorable.
Question: What is bankruptcy fraud? And how do I not do it?
You need good attorneys to make sure there is no bankruptcy fraud involved. If a bankruptcy is filed with criminal intent, fraud might be found.Some examples include: the intention of evading payment for goods or services although you have funds for repayment, or accepting payment for goods or services but not supplying such services. Many fraud cases focus on concealment of assets and fraudulent conveyances.
Question: What is Mandatory Credit Counseling?
Prior to filing any bankruptcy case in Georgia, as well as after filing, the bankrupcty law provides that one must now complete a credit counseling course online. A small fee is charged by the credit counseling companies. The mandatory credit counseling course usually lasts 30 to 60 minutes, and can be taken usually 24/7.
A certificate will be issued upon completion, You will provide a copy of that certificate to our office as a condition of filing your case. However, be aware that failure to timely file the certificate of completion results in an automatic case dismissal. Many of our clients have indicated that they have the course interesting.
Question: Can I hire your law firm to represent me in creditor negotiations and to avoid bankruptcy?
Yes, you can. Not everybody needs to file bankruptcy. Sometimes debt negotiations can be a good option. This can work for people with smaller debt levels and people who can afford to pay back some debt. Many clients like to have an experienced attorney advocate for them in negotiating with the aggressive and tough credit card companies and bill collectors.
Question: What is a Motion for Relief from Stay?
When a creditor wants permission from the Court to repossess or foreclose on some collateral (typically like a house or car), they file a Motion for Relief from Stay with the Bankruptcy Court. A creditor might do this if the debtor in bankruptcy hasn't done something they said they would do (like make payments, keep the collateral insured, etc.).
Question: I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I charged porn websites on my credit card. I can get rid of that debt by going bankrupt?
Yes, you can eliminate those debts by filing. Pornography usage is high throughout the state of Georgia. And sometimes it can even become addictive. So we're seeing those charges being eliminated by a filing.
Question: Can I keep my pets if I file for bankruptcy?
Yes! We haven't seen anyone lose a pet after filing bankruptcy, although we suppose it's possible.
Question: Can I rebuild my credit after declaring bankruptcy?
Yes! You can rebuild credit and make it better than ever! Stay current on monthly bills, rent, or mortgage payments, you should be able to qualify for a credit line. Just use the card responsibly and pay off balances quickly, your credit score will go way up, and you will qualify for loans and higher credit card limits.
Question: What is a discharge order?
The ultimate goal of filing a bankruptcy petition is usually to get a Discharge Order. Issued by the United States Bankruptcy Court, a Discharge Order is the order that officially terminates your debts. That means that a creditor who is subject to a bankruptcy discharge order can never again contact you to collect the debt.
Question: Can I file for bankruptcy even though I was convicted of a crime about 12 years ago?
Yes, you can. The fact that someone was convicted or pled guilty to a crime, either a misdemeanor or a felony, should not prevent them from filing for bankruptcy.
Question: How can I get a copy of a bankruptcy filing?
Here's how: The federal judiciary provides public access to federal appellate, district court and bankruptcy court documents through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), an electronic public access service.
Question: What is the co-debtor stay?
A co-debtor stay is if the joint debt is consumer debt and the plan proposes to pay the debt in full. Then the creditor is blocked by the Chapter 13 filing from taking collection action against the non-filing co-debtor.
Question: Should I get a copy of my credit report? Do you need that?
That's easy and simple. You can click and to get a FREE annual credit report
. You need to give your bankruptcy lawyer a complete list of all of your creditors and this is a great place to get them. Remember to write down information on any creditors that you suspect may be missing from your credit repoert. That can include friends and family members you owe money.
Question: If I like a particular credit card, can I not list that company as a creditor and keep the card?
Under the bankruptcy statute, you must list ALL debts that have a balance, because all creditors must be treated equally.
Question: Can I choose which creditors to file bankruptcy on?
You must list all your debts and obligations on the bankruptcy paperwork, the law specifies. A debtor, though, may repay as many dischargeable debts as desired after filing under Chapter 7. And that's at his or her discretion. Don't worry, by voluntarily repaying one creditor, a debtor does not become legally obligated under federal law or Georgia law to repay any other creditor.
In fact, the only dischargeable debt that a debtor is legally obligated to repay after filing under Chapter 7 is one for which the debtor and the creditor have entered into what is called a reaffirmation agreement. We counsel our clients that it is almost never advisable to reaffirm general unsecured debts that would be discharged in bankruptcy.
Question: I owe my grandmother money that she gave me for college and a car. Can I wipe out those debts by declaring bankruptcy?
Yes, you can. Debts to relatives, even close relatives, are dischargeable under the federal bankrupt law.
Question: My creditors call me constantly. What should I do? Legally, do I have to respond to their calls?
When you file a bankruptcy petition, creditors can't contcat you in any way. All collection efforts to collect on a debt you owe must stop.
Question: Is bankruptcy a sign I am a bad person?
Of course NOT! Many great Americans have filed bankruptcy. In fact, the founders of our country considered bankruptcy important enough to include provisions for it in the Constitution when it became the law of our land in the late 1700s. In fact, it's included in Article 1 of the United States Constitution.
Question: To file bankruptcy, do I need to fill-out a lot of paperwork?
Not really! We have streamlined the process and the paperwork that we use is very simple, and we answer any questions you may have.
Question: What about my massive student loan debt?
Burdened with substantial student loan debt and facing extreme financial hardship, well you may be able to discharge some or all of your student loans in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. But the process is notoriously difficult and these loans are rarely discharged. However, you may be able to get the relief you need. You want an experienced bankruptcy attorney to analyze your specific situation and help you understand the what options may be available to you.
Question: I owe my grandfather money. Can I get rid of the debt by filing?
You can! Debts owed to relatives can be discharged in by the bankruptcy court.
Question: What is a bankruptcy discharge?
A discharged debt is a debt that you are no longer obligated to repay. The bankrupcty court issues a discharge. Some debt, though, may not be discharged in bankruptcy. Some examples of debt that can't be dischrged include child support, student loans, certain tax debt, and spousal support.
Question: I had a business. I closed the business. Do you think I'm personally liable on the business debt?
Yes, most likely you are. Most business debt is personally guaranteed. That means the lender demands that you (the small business owner) provide a personal guarantee for any debt you have. Of course, large companies don't need to have anyone personally liable for debt as they have assets and collateral. However, an owner of a small business is almost always required to pledge that he or she will repay the debt if the business can't.
Question: What do I tell creditors who call me after filing for bankruptcy?
After you retain us, I invite you to have your creditors contact our firm.
We will tell them that you are our client. Please keep in mind, however, creditors are not required to stop contacting you until after your case is filed.
Question: I've been going to the same doctor for over 10 years. Can I file bankruptcy on his charges?
Yes. People file bankruptcy on medical bills all the time. The fact that you've been using the same healthcare provider for a number of years is irrelevant. You can eliminate your debt.
Question: Can filing bankruptcy help me buy a house?
Yes, people use bankruptcy to get rid of debts and save money for a down payment for a home. Most banks require at least a year and a half to two years to pass from the filing of the bankruptcy before you can purchase a home.
Question: My wife racked-up some major debts from her plastic surgery. She got a facelift, a tummy tuck, her nose done and she got breast augmentation. The she actually got a breast reduction because she still didn't like them! Will getting a bankruptcy get rid of this debt?
All those procedures are dischargeable in bankruptcy. Hospital bills and Medical bills, including those for plastic surgery, are appropriate for bankruptcy; the law allows you to get rid of those debts.
Question: I smoke marijuana. Does the bankruptcy court make you do a pot test?
No, the bankruptcy court does not make you do any kind of drug or alcohol test.
Question: Is There an Average Age for People That File for Bankruptcy?
People of just about any age file. While it's often people between the ages of 30 to 75, we've had many clients who are older and younger than that file. It's easy for anybody to get into too much debt.
It's always better to make an appointment rather than delay and deal with the stress and harassment involved in owing money. We offer a free consultation to meet with an expert attorney who will evaluate the situation and then recommend corrective actions. It's always better to address a problem as soon as possible rather than wait and let it get bigger.
Question: My husband is an alcoholic. Will that stop him from filing?
No, it won't. Millions of Americans have drug and alcohol problems and it doesn't impact their ability to file bankruptcy.
Question: Can I change my mind?
Yes, you can. After filing your petition, if you change your mind for any reason, you may ask the court to voluntarily dismiss your case, and the court will likely (but not definitely) do so. The court wants to ensure, though, that creditors won't be harmed, and there won't be undue expense to the trustee or the court.
Question: I charged a lot of internet porn on my credit card. can I eliminate that in bankruptcy?
Yes, you can. Just about all debts are dischargeable (that is can be eliminated) in bankruptcy.
Question: I couldn't pay damages from an accident. Can going bankrupt help me?
Yes, it can! If you lost your license solely because you couldn't pay court-ordered damages from an accident, bankruptcy should will allow you to get your license back.
Question: I am behind on my rent. Can bankruptcy stop an eviction?
If you are a renter and you are being evicted from your home or apartment, the automatic stay might help buy you some time.
However, you will need to file bankruptcy before your landlord gets a judgment of possession against you, or it could be too late. When the landlord has a judgment of possession, however, he or she may proceed with the eviction as if you hadn't filed for bankruptcy. So don't wait to file!
Question: What are exemptions for bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy exemptions are found in the law and permit you to be able to keep some of your property and assets safe from being liquidated. Exemptions are used to either protect the entire value of the asset or up to a certain monetary amount. Basically, If an asset qualifies for an exemption, it will remain untouched and unaffected by your bankruptcy. Each state can set exemptions for various types of property.
Question: If I want to go bankrupt, do I have to disclose to the court that I own some cryptocurrency, like Bitecoin and Ethereum?
Since cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum have value, you would have to state that you own some. Just like any other asset, just because you own some doesn't mean you own a lot of it or that its value will make any difference in you matter.
Question: What can a creditor do when someone files bankruptcy against them?
There are a number of options available to creditors in a bankruptcy. Basically, those options depend on the type of debt. But a creditor might be able to object to the debtor's discharge, or object to the debtor's plan of reorganization, or repossess collateral, or file a proof of claim to receive payments through the debtor's bankruptcy reorganization.
Question: I have been convicted of a few misdemeanors and a felony. Will that stop me from declaring bankruptcy?
No, that will not prevent you from getting a bankruptcy. A criminal record will not stop you from being able to file and obtaining a discharge.
Question: I recently received a 1099-C for Cancellation of Debt from a creditor. Do I owe taxes on debt discharged by a bankruptcy filing? What do I do with this 1099?
Generally, debt discharged in bankruptcy is not subject to and tax liability. However, if you received a 1099, you must report it on your taxes. The way that you counteract a 1099, however, is by filing an IRS Form 982. An IRS Form 982 is how you report to the IRS the fact that a 1099 is actually incorrect and that you should not incur any tax liability due to the improper 1099. The Form 982 and instructions on how to complete it is available on the IRS website. We are not tax lawyers so tax questions should be referred to a CPA who should be familiar with this form and can assist you in filling it out properly.
Question: Debt collectors are harassing me and I need them to stop. Can you make them stop?
When we file, they must stop. Under the law, once we file our petition, no creditor can take any action to collect or enforce any debt except through the bankruptcy court. If they persist after we've filed, they are breaking the law and could be liable to pay damages!
Question: I have a stock brokerage account with Charles Schwab. Can I still file?
Yes, you can still file. The first question we'll ask if the brokerage account is a retirement account. If so, it's treated differently than other financial accounts. But whether your account is with Charles Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, Vanguard, E*Trade, Interactive Brokers, TradeStation, or Merrill Edge, or any other broker, the rules are the same.
Question: I have a high credit score. It's over 800. Can I still file?
Yes, you can. Your credit score is irrelevant to bankruptcy. You can file with a very high credit score, a very low credit score, or anything in between.
Question: My boss is a millionaire. And she said going bankrupt was the best thing she's ever done financially. Have you heard that before?
Yes, we hear that all the time! Bankruptcy gives people a fresh start and a whole new financial life. Many millionaires file for bankruptcy just like everybody else.
Question: I loaned my grandmother money to but a new walker, a car, and to help out with her medications. Now she's filing bankruptcy. Can she just not pay me?
She can eliminate that debt when she files bankruptcy. We see debts to relatives and friends eliminated all the time. She can legally do it.
Question: Are bounced checks dischargeable in bankruptcy?
Yes. Usually the DEBT itself is discharged. However, and this is important, bouncing checks is a crime under Georgia law and bankruptcy does not keep you from being prosecuted if a criminal complaint is filed by the District Attorney or the Solicitor General with jurisdiction.
Question: Do you think I'm liable on my business debt? I got credit cards and loans in my company's name.
Most likely you are. If you are the owner of a small business, it would be rare for a loan or credit card not to have personal guarantee attached to it. Lenders to small business almost always require a personal guarantee before giving a business owner credit. Obviously, this would not be true for a Fortune 500 company with established credit.
Question: If I'm going through a divorce, how will my ex-spouse filing bankruptcy affect our divorce settlement? I'm worried!
Alimony, maintenance, and/or support are protected from discharge. So your ex-spouse can't get rid of those obligations! Divorce decrees and separation agreements are covered by 11 U.S.C. Section 523(a)(15).
Question: I was addicted to opioids and got into a lot of debt. Do you think the bankruptcy judge will ask about my opioid addiction?
Opioid addiction is, sadly, prevalent. It is highly unlikely that your addiction will be raised by a bankruptcy court judge or trustee. We have seen many people who are battling the addiction. It certainly can cause someone to take on more debt than they can handle. So the good news is that by filing you can address the debt from the addiction.
Question: Should I reaffirm a debt?
You'll probably want to reaffirm some debts. After filing for bankruptcy your creditor may come to you while the bankruptcy is still in process and ask if you will enter into a reaffirmation agreement for a debt. The reaffirmation agreement, in effect, acts like a new contract between you and your creditor. It allows you to keep the property secured by the debt. Before you sign anything, however, it is probably in your best interest to have the agreement reviewed by an experienced attorney.
Question: My car was repossessed three years ago. Now I'm being sued. What should I do?
Filing bankruptcy will stop a lawsuit. And you can include the debt in the bankruptcy and have it eliminated. Many times car repossessions involve a lawsuit months or years later. A great way to get rid of a lawsuit is to file bankruptcy!
Question: Seriously, will I lose everything if I go bankrupt?
You will not. That's because we know how to use the multiple exemptions for different types of property, like your house and car.
Question: Does Bankruptcy Eliminate All Debts?
Not every type of debt is eliminated by filing, although most are. Even if you file bankruptcy, you will still owe some kinds of debts under the law. These include back child support, alimony, student loans, and certain kinds of tax debts.
Question: Which counties are in the Atlanta division of the Northern District of Georgia?
The Atlanta division of the Northern District of Georgia is comprised of Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Rockdale Counties. That means if you live in any of these counties, your trustee meeting will be held in Atlanta.
Question: Can I get a bank account after I file bankruptcy?
Yes! And you can keep your current account wherever you're approved by the bank. Many people think that they will not be allowed to have assets after a bankruptcy, like a house or bank account. This not the case.
Question: I put a lot of money on my credit cards to start a business. Now that business is closed. Can I get rid of that debt?
Yes, there is no prohibition on eliminating business debt that you incurred in a personal bankruptcy filing. In fact, it happens all the time!
Question: What does the Bible say about bankruptcy?
Here is the verse probably most relevant to our concept of bankruptcy when a person has their debts totally eliminated: in Deuteronomy 15:1-2, the Bible states: “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord's release.”
You must not feel embarrassed or guilty about filing. If you do, let us remind you that Scripture contains numerous examples where Jesus forgave people of far worse behavior than taking on more debt than they could handle. For starters, Jesus forgave prostitutes (Luke 7:36-50), murderers (Acts 9), thieves (Luke 23:26-43), extortionists (Matthew 9:9-13), and adulterers (John 8:1-11).
Question: Is it true that if you're married, both you and your spouse must file bankruptcy?
It is NOT true. Both spouses do NOT have to file; only one spouse can file. In fact, in many cases, only one spouse files, and if you don't have any joint debt, your filing will have no direct impact on your spouse.
Question: How will debts that were eliminated in my case appear on my credit?
Question: I filed for bankruptcy in the past, can I file again?
They will appear as “discharged” or “discharged in bankruptcy.” So they no longer exist!
Question: I owe my ex-girlfriend some money? Can I bankrupt on it?
Yes, you can. We get a lot of questions about being about to discharge debts to relatives. Debts owed to relatives are dischargeable under the U.S. bankruptcy law.
Question: I'm a member of the U.S. military and my wife and I want to go bankrupt. Does being in the military prevent me from filing?
No, it doesn't. Being a member of the military doesn't stop you from filing. You and your spouse can file.
Question: Which counties are in the Gainesville division of the Northern District of Georgia?
The Georgia counties served by the Gainesville division of the Northern District include Banks, Barrow, Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Pickens, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White. So if you reside in any of these counties, the bankruptcy court is located in the city of Gainesville.
Question: Can We Stop Our Car and Other Possessions From Being Repossessed?
Yes, we can. Bankruptcy can stop the repossession of your car, or other personal property, and provide you with an opportunity to catch up on missed payments.
The simple answer is “yes.” However, there are some waiting periods. We alwys go over all of these with our clients. But, generally, it depends on what type of bankruptcy you filed and what happened. For example, if you filed a Chapter 7 and received a discharge then you have to wait (a) four years to file a Chapter 13 and get discharge and (b) eight years to file a Chapter 7 and get another Chapter 7 discharge.
But even if you don't qualify for a second discharge, you could still benefit from a second bankruptcy. At your debt relief consultation you and your attorney can consider whether that option makes sense for you.
WE'LL HELP YOU!
Let attorney Valerie Sherman & attorney Bill Sherman help you take control over your financial future by setting up a plan to: (1) stop the harassing phone calls and collection letters and lawsuits and wage garnishments; (2) ensure that your “protected” assets (like your house and cars) are truly protected; (3) walk you through the whole bankruptcy process (including representing you in court); (4) negotiate any repayment terms (if necessary); and (5) help you design a plan to restore your good credit and ensure a bright financial future for you and your family.
Take the next step to a brighter, debt-free future and call us at 678-215-4106 now! Don't you deserve a fresh start?