Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
- Overwhelming credit card debt?
- Missed mortgage payments?
- Property repossession?
- Tax Debt?
We can help. Our Roswell Bankruptcy Attorneys have more than 30 years of experience filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney
We look at filing bankruptcy as a last resort, however when used correctly, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a great way to reset your financial situation and get out of debt.
WHAT IS CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY?
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you can do so under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, variously known as ‘wage earner’s plan,’ ‘individual debt adjustment,’ ‘individual debt consolidation’ or ‘repayment plan,’ depending upon your eligibility. If you have a regular income, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy enables you to develop a plan to repay all or part of your debts.
The basic plan works like this under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you get three years to repay, if your monthly income is less than the state median and five years if it is more. In no case, can you extend the repayment plan to more than five years. At the end of that time whatever debt remains, gets discharged.
What Qualifies You to File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Georgia?
You can file chapter 13 bankruptcy if you:
- Wish to keep the mortgaged property and need time to bring the debt to a manageable level by restructuring payment.
- Have not qualified for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy under the ‘means test’.
- Want to avoid foreclosure for missed house payments by making up for it.
- Want to take advantage of the flexibility of a Chapter 13 plan in obtaining a discharge of debts that are not dischargeable in a Chapter 7 plan.
- Have recently filed a Chapter 7 case, thereby becoming ineligible for another discharge.
- Want to strip a junior lien from their residence.
Are You Eligible to File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Georgia?
In Georgia, you can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy for personal bankruptcy and not as a business. Let us see the eligibility criteria:
- The means test determines your disposable income, based on your household income as compared to the median income of the state.
- Disposable Income = Total monthly income – Regular and necessary expenses.
- The regular and necessary expenses may include groceries, utilities, house payments, rent, insurance, car payments, medical fees, and education and child care expenses.
- If your income exceeds household expenses, you become eligible for filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Income under Chapter 13 means wages from employment, earnings from self-employment, income from interests, pension income, social security, disability benefits and any other source of steady income. You can also consider the monetary contributions of family members or friends as income.
- Prior dismissal: If you have filed for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the last 180 days and it has been dismissed, you become ineligible for filing. The dismissal may be due to your willful failure to appear before the court or due to non-compliance with court orders. It may also get voluntarily dismissed if the creditors approach the bankruptcy court for recovery of your property on which they hold liens.
- Debts exceeding limits: If your secured debts exceed $1,149,525 and unsecured debts exceed $383,175, you don’t qualify for filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Debt guaranteed against collateral is called a secured debt. In case of failure to pay back the debt, the creditor can utilize the collateral to realize the loan. Unsecured debt, on the other hand, has no collateral. This includes medical bills, student loans, and credit card bills.
Eligibility requirements to file Chapter 13
You can take these steps to prove your eligibility:
- Attend a Georgia bankruptcy trustee approved 341 meeting of creditors.
- Give evidence of reliable income by submitting your W-2 or 1040 income tax return.
- Prove that your secured and unsecured debts are within the legal limits.
- Confirm you have not filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the last four years or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the last two years.
- File Bankruptcy With the Help of an Atlanta Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney
You can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case with the bankruptcy court serving the area of your domicile or residence. There are three different bankruptcy district courts in Georgia:
- Georgia Middle District Court
- Georgia Southern District Court
- Georgia Northern District Court – The Georgia Northern District Court takes care of all cases pertaining to Atlanta.
There are a number of documents you have to submit to file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
- A schedule of current income and expenditures.
- Schedules of assets and liabilities.
- A schedule of unexpired leases and executory contracts.
- Statement of financial affairs.
- Certificate of credit counseling.
- Debt repayment plan, if developed through credit counseling.
- Proof of any payment received from employers 60 days before filing.
- Monthly income statement.
- The holding of any federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts.
- Also, you need to provide your latest copy of tax return, returns for prior years and also those filed during the case.
Information you have to furnish to file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:
- List of all your creditors and how much you owe them.
- Your income source, frequency and amount.
- List of properties you own.
- List of your monthly living expenses.
The Chapter 13 Discharge
The Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge process is a complex process and has undergone some recent changes. You need to take the services of a competent Atlanta Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney prior to filing for bankruptcy.
Once the bankruptcy court grants a Chapter 13 discharge, you will be released from all debts provided by the plan, with limited exceptions. This also frees you from the legal actions of your creditors. Debts not discharged in Chapter 13, include long-term obligations, such as home mortgage, alimony, child support, etc.
The whole process of filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is complex and requires hiring an attorney. If you feel that a Chapter 13, rather than a Chapter 7 is the right fit for your financial needs, talk to Galler Law and let us guide you through the process. You can get a free consultation conducted either in our office or virtually without the need for an office visit.
Never use a DIY Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing kit. There are many available both as a box kit and downloadable online apps and all of them can do harm to your case. Since there are many hurdles to be crossed and one mistake can cause delays or halt the process entirely.
While a Chapter 13 bankruptcy doesn’t eliminate your debt like in a Chapter 7. However, some of the benefits include:
- You’ll avoid foreclosure on your home.
- You’ll have the opportunity to make up missed auto or home payments.
- You’ll have the opportunity to repay back taxes.
Let our Georgia chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers streamline the bankruptcy process for you. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to see if Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the right path for your needs. No office visit required, we can meet with you virtually.