Living under the pressure of mounting debt takes its toll. We cringe when the phone rings, fearful it will be another creditor threatening service cutoffs, foreclosure, repossession, or wage garnishment. If only people understood there’s nothing to be afraid of in pursuing bankruptcy—in fact it was designed for situations just like these. You can start fresh today, with a plan that will put you back on your feet.
Curious? Read on to learn more about the process, or you can reach out right now. We’ve helped many people like you emerge from crippling debt into a brighter financial future.
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Finding a Fresh Start in Bankruptcy Court
Bankruptcy in Georgia is designed to help those who can’t pay their debts get into a better financial position. There are, of course, ups and downsides to filing bankruptcy, but if you follow the process you should find yourself in a much better situation.
- Stop discouraging debt collection phone calls
- Save your home from foreclosure, or your property from repossession
- Ensure you’re able to provide for your family
- Develop habits that will give you the best chance for a bright financial future
How Does Bankruptcy Work in Georgia?
In the state of Georgia, you have a number of options for bankruptcy—the most common for individuals being Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Chapter 13 is designed to help you repay as much as you can, while Chapter 7.
I’ve never filed for bankruptcy before. Where do I start?
If you’re seriously considering bankruptcy it’s time to call a bankruptcy attorney. A good attorney will listen to your financial story, explain your options, and guide you in the best direction.
Choosing the right option is definitely best done with the help of a lawyer, but the differences are based on a few factors:
- How much debt do you have in comparison to your income?
- After you cover the basic needs of your family are you able to make payments toward your debt at all?
- Is any part of your debt secured by property, such as a home, car, or boat?
- Is any of your debt related to alimony, child support, or overdue taxes?
Here’s how the process works:
- Collect your bankruptcy documents.
- Attend the state-mandated credit counseling class.
- Complete the required forms.
- Go to court to file your forms and pay your filing fee.
- After you are appointed a trustee, mail your documents to the trustee.
- Take the mandated bankruptcy course.
- 30-40 days after filing, meet with your trustee.
- Continue making your payments until you receive your discharge of debts (usually after 60 days).
If I declare bankruptcy will I lose my iPhone?
Disclose All Property
As part of filing your bankruptcy case, you will have to list all of your property, including your cell phone, so it can be considered. You’ll also need to list your cell phone bill, including payments for the phone itself. The type of case you file will determine whether property has to be sold to repay debt, kept for your use, or kept as long as you make the payments.
Determine Property to Exempt
You can protect the property you need for daily life and work (non luxury items) by exempting it. The state of Georgia has determined the total dollar amount of property you can exempt for various categories, like your home, personal property, and unpaid wages.
While many still consider cell phones a luxury item, most courts today consider a reasonable cell phone bill a necessity, sometimes even for children.
Nonexempt may be sold by your trustee for cash to pay off your debts, in the case of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, many cellphones immediately lose much of their value, and may not be worth the sale. In Chapter 13 while you’ll be allowed to keep your iPhone, you’ll be required to pay its value over three to five years as part of a repayment plan.
What are positive outcomes from filing bankruptcy?
It’s true that bankruptcy can mean taking a temporary step back in your standard of living, but it may be the best move you can make. Here is a look at a few positive outcomes.
Let’s start with relief from emotional stress.
The pressures that lead a person to consider bankruptcy are real—and they often start years before the decision is finally made. The stress fighting a losing battle to stay ahead of creditors can mess with our relationships, our health, and our sense of well-being.
Most people experience an immediate sense of relief knowing they’ll finally have enough money to make ends meet—even if they have to give up a few of the luxuries they’ve gotten used to. Peace of mind, breathing room, and time to undo some of the harmful effects of long-term financial stress.
Filing for bankruptcy triggers an “automatic stay.”
This stops actions to collect debts, keeps creditors from repossessing cars and other personal property. No more collection calls or letters. No more lawsuits.
Is your landlord threatening eviction? That will probably be stopped, too, or if you’re a homeowner in the middle of a foreclosure, the automatic stay will put the brakes on that as well.
Some debts may disappear entirely.
If you don’t have the ability to repay all of your debt, it’s likely that some debts will be discharged, meaning you will get a piece of paper saying you do not have to pay.
Less credit means less temptation.
Many people find that emerging from bankruptcy without any credit cards helps them train themselves to live within their means. The stress-inducing tendency to buy on credit is replaced by regret-free purchases, and less of the budget spent on interest and financing charges.
And one bonus that at first seems like a waste.
State-mandated financial counseling.
Far from the guilt-inducing, finger wagging experience you might expect—financial counseling is actually a really helpful experience. If you’re willing to take a bit of expert advice, you’ll come out with an advantage over the average person.
The Bright Side
While no one should take the process of filing bankruptcy likely, those who need it will find it lets them find their way out of the stress.
Is Today the Day for Your Fresh Start?