Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code is designed to give consumers a fresh start. If you are in debt and cannot seem to find a clear path to clearing that debt, Chapter 7 may be your best option. Any individual residing, domiciled, or having property or a place of business in the United States may file a petition to commence a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2011-title11/html/USCODE-2011-title11-chap1-sec109.htm
As with all things, there are pros and cons to filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The most notable reasons to file a Chapter 7 is because bankruptcy will prevent your lenders from aggressive collection action. Bankruptcy will also alleviate many of your other financial obligations.
On the other hand, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. However, if you have substantial debts, which are in default, your credit history may already be poor. You’ll lose all your credit cards; and Bankruptcy will make it nearly impossible to get a mortgage if you don’t already have one.
Consumers must past a “means test”. The means test looks at your income, and in some cases, your expenses and debts, to determine whether could afford to pay back some of your debts https://www.uscourts.gov/forms/means-test-forms/chapter-7-means-test-calculation. The main goal of the means test is to require higher earning debtors to pay back some or all their debt in Chapter 13, rather than allowing them to discharge their debt in Chapter 7.
There are 4 locations that a debtor may file his/her petition, depending on the county of residence prior to filing https://www.ganb.uscourts.gov/court-info/court-locations. Each court will be open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
Within 30 days following the filing of your petition, you are required to attend a “Meeting of Creditors” at the Courthouse where your petition is filed https://www.ganb.uscourts.gov/what-know-after-you-file. This is a meeting at which the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors get to ask you questions under oath about your bankruptcy petition and the documents you’re required to provide to the trustee.
Individuals who file bankruptcy must bring two forms of original documentation to their meeting of creditors: 1.) photo identification (driver’s license, government ID, state photo ID, student ID, U.S. passport, military ID, resident alien card or Mexican consulate card) and 2.) confirmation of their social security number (social security card, a medical insurance card that includes the debtor’s SSN, a pay stub, W-2 form, IRS form 1099, or a Social Security Administration report).
The filing fee for Chapter 7 is $335.00 https://www.ganb.uscourts.gov/fees. If you cannot afford to pay the full filing fee when you first file for bankruptcy, you may file an Application to Pay Filing Fee in Installments. The Court must approve your application and payment timetable. Payment of the filing fee in installments does not modify the obligation of the Debtor to pay the filing fee in full even if the Debtor’s case is dismissed. Your debts will not be discharged until you pay the entire fee. https://www.ganb.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/local_applic_to_pay_installmentsrev1218.pdf.
Bankruptcy exemptions are laws that protect your property in a bankruptcy. Property that is exempt can’t be sold for the benefit of your unsecured creditors. In most cases, you will not be forced to sell your home or automobile. See Georgia exemptions at Official Code of Georgia Annotated, Title 44 Chapter 13 Article 2 (Statutory Exemptions) 2020 Edition.
The choice to seek bankruptcy involves many complicated considerations, while there are advantages and disadvantages of Chapter 7. You’ll want to take into consideration whether you can avoid bankruptcy altogether or how to preserve valuable assets if a bankruptcy is absolutely necessary.
Contact the Parker Law Firm to discuss ways the law can help you address your financial troubles.