Can Bankruptcy Help Save My House?

Georgia residents faced with the possibility of home foreclosure are at wits’ end.  They have usually tried every possible solution to recover from debt to include loan modification through their bank but continue to receive the runaround.

What’s worse, foreclosures are nonjudicial in the State of Georgia meaning no lawsuit or court order is required for the bank to sell your home.  The bank only has to send you a certified letter within 30 days of the foreclosure sale.

Due to the rapid pace of Georgia’s foreclosure process, hiring a bankruptcy law firm in a timely manner is essential to saving your home. Georgia bankruptcy attorneys can provide you with effective processes and protections such as:

Automatic Stays

The automatic stay is a rule that prevents creditors from taking any further actions, with certain exceptions, to enforce a claim against a debtor during a bankruptcy case.  An automatic stay will stop most creditors from continuing to pursue you during your bankruptcy case. The automatic stay begins the same day as the bankruptcy is filed with the State of Georgia. 

You, as a debtor, will be notified of the motion to lift the automatic stay and the date of the hearing. Georgia residents must understand, however, secured creditors, those with the benefit of a security interest over some or all of the assets of a debtor, may petition the bankruptcy court for relief from the automatic stay upon showing of cause. 

It is highly unusual for unsecured creditors to file motions to lift automatic stays. A landlord or mortgage company, however, wanting to evict you from your home or rental property may file to lift a stay. A licensed bankruptcy attorney in Georgia can prohibit creditors from lifting an automatic stay.

At Galler Law Firm, we have over 30 years of experience working with the State of Georgia courts regarding automatic stays and will be in the best position to help you determine how to move forward with your case in light of a creditor’s attempt to lift a stay.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code allows those in debt to rid themselves of most collections from creditors and start over fresh.  However, there are some negative impacts to include the loss of property and a decrease in consumer credit score. Chapter 7, also called liquidation or straight bankruptcy, is the process by which a debtor’s assets are sold, creditors receive payment, and you are then free from your debts. 

Eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the State of Georgia is determined by a means test. The Georgia Bankruptcy Means Test compares your income to the state median income.  If your income is higher, you will need to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, if it is determined your income is lower you may file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

It is a common myth you cannot file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 if you own a home but this is not always the case.  A Georgia bankruptcy attorney understands the process of using federal and state exemptions to ensure you and your family are able to retain the basic possessions required to sustain you as you complete your case. The State of Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions include:

  • Homestead – $21,500 of real or personal property / $43,000 if the title is held by one spouse
  • Personal Property – jewelry, animals, crops, household goods, future earnings, health aids, injuries and wrongful death
  • Vehicle – $5,000 for motor vehicle
  • Wages – 75% of earned but unpaid weekly disposable earnings or 40x the state or federal hourly min wage
  • Benefits and Pension/Retirement – various benefits and retirement accounts including Social Security and Veterans
  • Wildcard – $1200 towards additional items required by the debtor

Most Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers are able to keep their home during and at the resolution of a case if they are current on their mortgage payments and do not possess much equity.  However, it is much more likely for a homeowner to lose their property if there is significant equity to use to pay creditors.

Hiring a Georgia bankruptcy attorney will help ensure you make full use of federal and state bankruptcy exemptions when filing for Chapter 7 is the most viable option for you.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code provides for adjustment of debts of an individual with regular income. It also allows a debtor to keep property and pay debts over time, usually three to five years.  A chapter 13 bankruptcy is often termed a wage earner’s plan. Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the State of Georgia can help you keep your home providing you the opportunity to delay or prevent foreclosure and pay off outstanding debt on your home mortgage. 

In some instances, you may also be able to eliminate the amount of a second or third home mortgage. There are steps you can take as a homeowner to avoid home foreclosure prior to filing for bankruptcy such as negotiating payment options with your mortgage company or making use of a government mortgage modification program. 

However, if you feel you are at wits’ end, contact a Georgia bankruptcy law firm today to determine if filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the best way to save your home. Galler Law Firm has helped thousands of Georgia residents hold on to their current residence.

Need Help?

Call or text Galler Law Firm today for your free consultation at (770) 671-8830 and let us thoroughly assess your financial situation.  We are the Georgia bankruptcy attorneys with a 99% success rate in discharging all Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. Our highly knowledgeable and professional bankruptcy law team wants to help you keep your home and will explore every possible option before taking any drastic measures. 

Galler Law is a recipient of the highly coveted Georgia’s Top Rates Local Attorneys & Law Firms Award.