Welcome to Saedi Law Group’s Client Information Center where clients can access their case information, find forms, and answers to commonly asked questions. The key to a successful case is communication and committment to complying with the rules and regulations of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. We always invite clients to set up either an in person meeting or phone meeting if they have any questions or concerns about their case.
Our staff is always available to answer any questions that you have about your case. We invite you to schedule either an in person or phone consultation if ever have any questions or concerns about your case. You can schedule an appointment online by going to: www.timecenter.com/atlantabankruptcy
Office Fax: 1-888-850-1774 (remember to include a cover sheet)
The attorneys at Saedi Law Group, LLC have represented thousands and thousands of clients throughout Georgia. The in-depth experience gives us the skills needed to handle even the most difficult debt problems. We have helped the people of Georgia in all walks of life, from a single mother trying to get back on her feet again, to the CEO attempting to rebuild a business.
You have many options when it comes to bankruptcy law firms, so why choose us for your bankruptcy needs? At Saedi Law Group, we are convinced that we provide the most personalized and responsive service to our clients. We also offer long-term payment plans to those that qualify so you can get the help you need now. Our firm is focused on people not numbers.
We Offer Some of Most Competitive Prices in Atlanta
Compare our prices with the big bankruptcy “mills”. We charge the same or LESS and offer payment plans to fit any budget. If a firm files HUNDREDS of cases per month how much personalized attention do you think you will receive from your attorney?
Filing bankuptcy is an important decision. Do your homework when selecting an attorney! Check reviews, call the Better Business Bureau, and call several firms to see what kind of atmosphere the law firm has. Are they polite? Or are they rushing to get you in without asking some questions about WHY you are calling. What is their policy for communicating with their clients? Will you have your attorney’s personal email address? Can you stop in anytime to talk to your attorney and NOT a paralegal?
Selecting an attorney should not be a high pressure sales job! An attorney who cares will want to provide you with the best information so that you can make the choice best suited for your life not their filing numbers.
The many advantages of working with Saedi Law Group, LLC include:
- Big firm expertise in a small firm setting – Before starting Saedi Law Group, LLC, our founders worked at large law firms. They now apply that expertise and professionalism in a small firm environment. Client service and responsiveness are our hallmarks. You are NOT a number to our firm. You will have a personal relationship with your attorney.
- Registered member of the Atlanta Better Business Bureau- The attorneys and staff of Saedi Law Group, LLC think it is important that law firms be accountable to their clients. We are a proud member of the Better Business Bureau with an A rating. Client satisfaction is our number one goal. We want our clients to know we are accountable to them.
- A casual and accepting environment – People come to Saedi Law Group because they are in financial trouble. We do not make value judgments about how they got here, or lecture them about how they should have behaved. We practice consumer bankruptcy because we like people. Clients begin with a clean slate when we meet them to discuss their options.
- We focus solely on bankruptcy and debt resolution – Because we only practice in the bankruptcy and debt resolution area, we can provide highly efficient services for our clients. Our attorneys stay on top of all of the latest developments in bankruptcy law, so that we can use the bankruptcy laws to the advantage of our clients. You can feel confident knowing you have the advantage of an experienced team of attorneys and legal professionals working for you.
- Long-term payment plans available – Saedi Law Group offers simple and convenient flat rate fees for most services and payment plans (up to six month installment payments for Chapter 7 cases) for those who qualify.
- Free consultation – We offer a free initial consultation in our offices from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, Monday through Friday, as well as weekend appointments. We have offices in Atlanta, Norcross, Douglasville, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Midtown and Marietta.
- Bi-lingual staff - Our staff speaks English and Spanish. We communicate to you in the way that is most comfortable to you – in person, by phone, or by e-mail.
- Attorneys you can trust – Most importantly, we seek to build a bond of trust between our firm and our clients. You can trust Saedi Law Group to handle your bankruptcy filing with efficiency and professionalism. We care about your future.
For a free initial consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer at Saedi Law Group, call 404.889.8663 or contact us at info@SaediLawGroup.com.
BANKRUPTCY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS:
1. ADVERSARY PROCEEDING
A lawsuit arising in or related to a bankruptcy case that is commenced by filing a complaint with the bankruptcy court.
An agreement to continue performing duties under a contract or lease.
3. AUTOMATIC STAY:
An injunction that automatically stops lawsuits, foreclosure, garnishments, and all collection activity against the debtor the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed.
A legal procedure for dealing with debt problems of individuals and businesses; specifically, a case filed under one of the chapters of title 11 of the United States Code (the Bankruptcy Code).
5. BANKRUPTCY ADMINISTRATOR:
An officer of the judiciary serving in the judicial districts of Alabama and North Carolina who, like the United States trustee, is responsible for supervising the administration of bankruptcy cases, estates, and trustees, monitoring plans and disclosure statements, monitoring creditors’ committees, monitoring fee applications, and performing other statutory duties.
6. BANKRUPTCY CODE
The informal name for title 11 of the United States Code (11 U.S.C. §§ 101- 1330), the federal bankruptcy law.
7. BANKRUPTCY COURT
The bankruptcy judges in regular active service in each district; a unit of the district court.
8. BANKRUPTCY ESTATE
All legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property at the time of the bankruptcy filing. (The estate includes all property in which the debtor has an interest, even if it is owned or held by another person.)
9. BANKRUPTCY JUDGE
A judicial officer of the United States district court who is the court official with decision-making power over federal bankruptcy cases.
10. BANKRUPTCY MILL
A business not authorized to practice law that provides bankruptcy counseling and prepares bankruptcy petitions.
11. BANKRUPTCY PETITION
A formal request for the protection of the federal bankruptcy laws. (There is an official form for bankruptcy petitions.)
12. BANKRUPTCY TRUSTEE
A private individual or corporation appointed in all chapter 7, chapter 12, and chapter 13 cases to represent the interests of the bankruptcy estate and the debtor’s creditors.
13. BUSINESS BANKRUPTCY
A bankruptcy case in which the debtor is a business or an individual involved in business and the debts are for business purposes.
14. CHAPTER 7
The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for “liquidation,” i.e., the sale of a debtor’s nonexempt property and the distribution of the proceeds to creditors.
15. CHAPTER 7 TRUSTEE
A person appointed in a chapter 7 case to represent the interests of the bankruptcy estate and the unsecured creditors. (The trustee’s responsibilities include reviewing the debtor’s petition and schedules, liquidating the property of the estate, and making distributions to creditors. The trustee may also bring actions against creditors or the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate.)
16. CHAPTER 11
A reorganization bankruptcy, usually involving a corporation or partnership. (A chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time. People in business or individuals can also seek relief in chapter 11.)
17. CHAPTER 12
The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for adjustment of debts of a “family farmer,” as that term is defined in the Bankruptcy Code.
18. CHAPTER 13
The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for adjustment of debts of an individual with regular income. (Chapter 13 allows a debtor to keep property and pay debts over time, usually three to five years.)
19. CHAPTER 13 TRUSTEE
A person appointed to administer a chapter 13 case. (A chapter 13 trustee’s responsibilities are similar to those of a chapter 7 trustee; however, a chapter 13 trustee has the additional responsibilities of overseeing the debtor’s plan, receiving payments from debtors, and disbursing plan payments to creditors.)
A creditor’s assertion of a right to payment from a debtor or the debtor’s property.
The first or initiatory document in a lawsuit that notifies the court and the defendant of the grounds claimed by the plaintiff for an award of money or other relief against the defendant.
Approval of a plan of reorganization by a bankruptcy judge.
23. CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY
A bankruptcy case filed to reduce or eliminate debts that are primarily consumer debts.
24. CONSUMER DEBTS
Debts incurred for personal, as opposed to business, needs.
25. CONTINGENT CLAIM
A claim that may be owed by the debtor under certain circumstances, for example, where the debtor is a cosigner on another person’s loan and that person fails to pay.
A person to whom or business to which the debtor owes money or that claims to be owed money by the debtor.
A person who has filed a petition for relief under the bankruptcy laws.
An individual (or business) against whom a lawsuit is filed.
A release of a debtor from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts. (A discharge releases a debtor from personal liability for certain debts known as dischargeable debts (defined below) and prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any action against the debtor or the debtor’s property to collect the debts. The discharge also prohibits creditors from communicating with the debtor regarding the debt, including telephone calls, letters, and personal contact.)
30. DISCHARGEABLE DEBT
A debt for which the Bankruptcy Code allows the debtor’s personal liability to be eliminated.
31. DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
A written document prepared by the chapter 11 debtor or other plan proponent that is designed to provide “adequate information” to creditors to enable them to evaluate the chapter 11 plan of reorganization.
The value of a debtor’s interest in property that remains after liens and other creditors’ interests are considered. (Example: If a house valued at $60,000 is subject to a $30,000 mortgage, there is $30,000 of equity.)
33. EXECUTORY CONTRACT OR LEASE
Generally includes contracts or leases under which both parties to the agreement have duties remaining to be per-formed. (If a contract or lease is executory, a debtor may assume it or reject it.)
A description of any property that a debtor may prevent creditors from recovering.
Property that the Bankruptcy Code or applicable state law permits a debtor to keep from creditors.
36. EXEMPT PROPERTY
Property or value in property that a debtor is allowed to retain, free from the claims of creditors who do not have liens.
37. FACE SHEET FILING
A bankruptcy case filed either without schedules or with incomplete schedules listing few creditors and debts. (Face sheet filings are often made for the purpose of delaying an eviction or foreclosure.)
38. FAMILY FARMER
An individual, individual and spouse, corporation, or partnership engaged in a farming operation who meet certain debt limits and other statutory criteria for filing a petition under chapter 12.
39. FRAUDULENT TRANSFER
A transfer of a debtor’s property made with intent to defraud or for which the debtor receives less than the transferred property’s value.
40. FRESH START
The characterization of a debtor’s status after bankruptcy, i.e., free of most debts. (Giving debtors a fresh start is one purpose of the Bankruptcy Code.)
41. INSIDER (of individual debtor)
Any relative of the debtor or of a general partner of the debtor; partnership in which the debtor is a general partner; general partner of the debtor; or corporation of which the debtor is a director, officer, or person in control.
42. INSIDER (of corporate debtor)
A director, officer, or person in control of the debtor; a partnership in which the debtor is a general partner; a general partner of the debtor; or a relative of a general partner, director, officer, or per-son in control of the debtor.
43. JOINT ADMINISTRATION
A court-approved mechanism under which two or more cases can be administered together. (Assuming no conflicts of interest, these separate firms or individuals can pool their resources, hire the same professionals, etc.)
44. JOINT PETITION
One bankruptcy petition filed by a husband and wife together.
A charge upon specific property designed to secure payment of a debt or performance of an obligation.
A sale of a debtor’s property with the proceeds to be used for the benefit of creditors.
47. LIQUIDATED CLAIM
A creditor’s claim for a fixed amount of money.
48. MOTION TO LIFT THE AUTOMATIC STAY
A request by a creditor to allow the creditor to take an action against a debtor or the debtor’s property that would otherwise be prohibited by the automatic stay.
49. NO-ASSET CASE
A chapter 7 case where there are no assets available to satisfy any portion of the creditors’ unsecured claims.
50. NONDISCHARGEABLE DEBT
A debt that cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy.
51. OBJECTION TO DISCHARGE
A trustee’s or creditor’s objection to the debtor’s being released from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts.
52. OBJECTION TO EXEMPTIONS
A trustee’s or creditor’s objection to a debtor’s attempt to claim certain property as exempt, i.e., not liable for any pre-petition debt of the debtor.
53. PARTY IN INTEREST
A party who is actually and substantially interested in the subject matter, as distinguished from one who has only a nominal on technical interest in it.
A debtor’s detailed description of how the debtor proposes to pay creditors’ claims over a fixed period of time.
A person or business that files a formal complaint with the court.
56. POSTPETITION TRANSFER
A transfer of a debtor’s property made after the commencement of the case.
57. PREBANKRUPTCY PLANNING
The arrangement (or rearrangement) of a debtor’s property to allow the debtor to take maximum advantage of exemptions. (Prebankruptcy planning typically includes converting nonexempt assets into exempt assets.)
58. PREFERENTIAL DEBT
A debt payment made to a creditor in the 90-day period before a debtor files bankruptcy (or within one year if the creditor was an insider) that gives the creditor more than the creditor would receive in the debtor’s chapter 7 case.
59. PAYMENT PRIORITY
The Bankruptcy Code’s statutory ranking of unsecured claims that determines the order in which unsecured claims will be paid if there is not enough money to pay all unsecured claims in full.
60. PRIORITY CLAIM
An unsecured claim that is entitled to be paid ahead of other unsecured claims that are not entitled to priority status. Priority refers to the order in which these unsecured claims are to be paid.
61. PROOF OF CLAIM
A written statement describing the reason a debtor owes a creditor money. (There is an official form for this purpose.)
62. PROPERTY OF THE ESTATE
All legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property as of the commencement of the case.
63. REAFFIRMATION AGREEMENT
An agreement by a chapter 7 debtor to continue paying a dischargeable debt after the bankruptcy, usually for the purpose of keeping collateral or mortgaged property that would otherwise be subject to repossession.
64. SECURED CREDITOR
An individual or business holding a claim against the debtor that is secured by a lien on property of the estate or that is subject to a right of setoff.
65. SECURED DEBT
Debt backed by a mortgage, pledge of collateral, or other lien; debt for which the creditor has the right to pursue specific pledged property upon default.
Lists submitted by the debtor along with the petition (or shortly thereafter) showing the debtor’s assets, liabilities, and other financial information. (There are official forms a debtor must use.)
67. STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL AFFAIRS
A series of questions the debtor must answer in writing concerning sources of income, transfers of property, lawsuits by creditors, etc. (There is an official form a debtor must use.)
68. STATEMENT OF INTENTION
A declaration made by a chapter 7 debtor concerning plans for dealing with consumer debts that are secured by property of the estate.
69. SUBSTANTIAL ABUSE
The characterization of a bankruptcy case filed by an individual whose debts are primarily consumer debts where the court finds that the granting of relief would be an abuse of chapter 7 because, for example, the debtor can pay its debts.
70. SUBSTANTIVE CONSOLIDATION
Putting the assets and liabilities of two or more related debtors into a single pool to pay creditors. (Courts are reluctant to allow substantive consolidation since the action must not only justify the benefit that one set of creditors receives, but also the harm that other creditors suffer as a result.)
71. 341 MEETING
A meeting of creditors at which the debtor is questioned under oath by creditors, a trustee, examiner, or the United States trustee about his/her financial affairs.
Any mode or means by which a debtor disposes of or parts with his/her property.
The representative of the bankruptcy estate who exercises statutory powers, principally for the benefit of the unsecured creditors, under the general supervision of the court and the direct supervision of the United States trustee or Bankruptcy Administrator.
74. TYPING SERVICE
A business not authorized to practice law that prepares bankruptcy petitions.
75. UNITED STATES TRUSTEE
An officer of the Justice Department responsible for supervising the administration of bankruptcy cases, estates, and trustees, monitoring plans and disclosure statements, monitoring creditors’ committees, monitoring fee applications, and performing other statutory duties.
76. UNDERSECURED CLAIM
A debt secured by property that is worth less than the amount of the debt.
77. UNLAWFUL DETAINER ACTION
A lawsuit brought by a landlord against a tenant to evict the tenant from rental property-usually for non-payment of rent.
78. UNLIQUIDATED CLAIM
A claim for which a specific value has not been determined.
79. UNSCHEDULED DEBT
A debt that should have been listed by a debtor in the schedules filed with the court but was not. (Depending on the circumstances, an unscheduled debt may or may not be discharged.)
80. UNSECURED CLAIM
A claim or debt for which a creditor holds no special assurance of payment, such as a mortgage or lien; a debt for which credit was extended based solely upon the creditor’s assessment of the debtor’s future ability to pay.
81. VOLUNTARY TRANSFER
A transfer of a debtor’s property with the debtor’s consent.
1. What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
2. Who determines how much my Chapter 13 payments will be?
3. Will I be able to keep all of my property?
4. Who can file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
5. How long will a Chapter 13 Plan last?
6. What are the most common causes of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
7. Can I stop the bill collectors from calling?
8. I am married; does my spouse also have to file bankruptcy?
9. Will I lose my job?
10. What happens to my real property and other assets?
11. Can I keep my home and personal property?
12. Can I keep my car after Bankruptcy?
13. Will Bankruptcy stop a wage garnishment?
14. Will Bankruptcy stop a foreclosure?
15. Will Bankruptcy stop an eviction action?
16. Will Bankruptcy stop a judgment?
17. I am divorced. Will Bankruptcy wipe-out my obligation to pay joint debts?
18. I am a co-signer for a debt. How does Bankruptcy affect my obligation?
19. Who notifies the creditor and bill collection?
20. Do I have to fill out forms?
21. Do I have to go to court?
22. What happens after I file my Bankruptcy?
23. Who deals with the creditors and bill collectors during the bankruptcy?
24. What if I forget to list a creditor on my bankruptcy papers?
25. What happens to my credit rating after a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
26. After a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, can I get credit?
27. Is there any thing I should not do if I am contemplating bankruptcy?
28. What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
29. What Property is Exempt, what can I keep?
30. Who can file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
31. Is it true that I can wipe out all of my bills?
32. Can I keep my home and personal property?
33. Can I reduce the interest rate on my high interest loan?
34. Can some of my debt be discharged without paying it back in full?
35. What happens to my credit rating after a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a debt repayment proceeding. The debtor turns over a specified portion of his/her future earnings to the Chapter 13 trustee, who then distributes dividends to creditors who have filed bona fide claims. The method of determining the dividend distribution is determined by the Chapter 13 Plan which is filed with the Bankruptcy Court by the Debtor. The debtor receives a discharge of all dischargeable debts.
Who determines how much my Chapter 13 payments will be?
The amount of your Chapter 13 payments are based upon your income, your monthly living expenses, and the amount of your total debts. The Court will allow you to keep and spend so much of your income as is necessary to maintain a reasonable standard of living. Only your disposable income over and above normal and reasonable living expenses will be used to repay debt.
Will I be able to keep all of my property?
Yes, if you want to. By filing a Chapter 13 Plan, you arrange for the repayment of your debts and for the repayment of liens on your property. Sometimes, a debtor may want to surrender a particular asset in order to get rid of a debt, or, sometimes, get rid of a car, TV or appliance which does not work anyway by giving it back to a creditor in full or partial satisfaction of a debt.
Who can file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
You must reside or have a domicile, a place of business, or property in the United States or a municipality. In order to file in Georgia you must have lived in the state within the past 180 days. In additional, you must not have had a bankruptcy filing dismissed with prejudice within the last 180 days. You must have a regular income and your debts cannot exceed $750,000 in secured debt or $250,000 in unsecured debt.
How long will a Chapter 13 Plan last?
Chapter 13 Plans are for up to 36 or 60 months At the end of this time, the Debtor is discharged [forgiven] for his debts. Providing all trustee payments have been paid.
What are the most common causes of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
The most common reasons for consumer bankruptcy are (a) loss of a job or long-term layoffs; (b) loss of overtime hours; (c) lengthy illnesses and large medical expenses; (d) death or disability of a spouse; (e) separation, divorce and marital problems; (f) seriously over extended credit; and (g) large unexpected expenses.
Can I stop the bill collectors from calling?
One of the major benefits of filing for protection under Chapter 13 is that creditor actions are stopped. This means that debt collection efforts and foreclosure is halted immediately. Chapter 13 also protects codebtors or cosigners from collection activity while you are making your Chapter 13 payments.
I am married; does my spouse also have to file bankruptcy?
No. In some cases where only one spouse has debts, or one spouse has debts that are not dischargeable, then it might be advisable to have only one spouse file.
Will I lose my job?
No. Bankruptcy laws prohibits discrimination based upon a debtor filing for protection under the bankruptcy laws.
What happens to my real property and other assets?
Once the Chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed, all the property of the debtor at the time of the filing and certain other property to be received in the future, becomes the property of the bankruptcy estate. This means that the bankruptcy trustee will take control of all non-exempt property for purposes of satisfying the creditors. However, once the Chapter 13 Plan is confirmed (approved by the court), control over all of your property, except for future wages, will be returned to you.
Can I keep my home and personal property?
Yes. One of the main reasons for filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to keep your home. Usually, if you are behind on your house payments, your Chapter 13 Plan will provide that you begin making your current monthly payments and not get any further behind. Any payments you are behind on will be paid to the mortgage company through the Chapter 13 trustee.
Can I keep my car after Bankruptcy?
Yes. If your car is mortgaged to a creditor as security for a loan, you will be expected to pay an amount to the creditor at least equal to the value of the automobile at the time you file your Chapter 13 Plan. Any amount due to the creditor over the value of the car will be paid as an unsecured debt.
Will Bankruptcy stop a wage garnishment?
Yes. (Except for regular monthly child support payments)
Will Bankruptcy stop a foreclosure?
Yes. A home is an asset usually secured by a mortgage. While a Chapter 13 will stop a foreclosure, unless you begin making current payments, a creditor will be successful in obtaining permission from the Court to institute a new foreclosure proceeding. Assuming you can make your monthly payments after you file a Chapter 13 Plan, you can catch up your arrearages under Chapter 13 and avoid foreclosure of your home. Please note that if you have filed two bankruptcy cases within the last 12 months the automatic stay will NOT apply without an order from the court. A foreclosure conducted prior to this order imposing the stay will be valid.
Will Bankruptcy stop an eviction action?
If an eviction has been granted it will be extremely difficult to prevent the eviction. Prior to an eviction judgment being entered Chapter 13 will only stop an eviction for a while. Like a home mortgage payment, unless you can stay current from the date of filing a Chapter 13 forward, the owner will be entitled to possession of his property and at best you will be able to remain in the property until the owner can obtain an order from the Bankruptcy Court granting relief from the automatic stay and begin eviction proceedings in state court. If you can stay current, then you can catch up your back rent through the Chapter 13 Plan. Please note that at the end of a lease the landlord has the option NOT to renew.
Will Bankruptcy stop a judgment?
Yes. Most civil judgments are stopped by bankruptcy.
I am divorced. Will Bankruptcy wipe-out my obligation to pay joint debts?
In come cases, YES. In October of 1994, Congress amended the Bankruptcy Code to provide, generally, that obligations arising out of a divorce or property settlement agreement are non-dischargeable. If your Chapter 13 Plan provides for payment in full of these obligations, then they will be discharged. However, if your Plan does not provide for payment in full, these obligations will not be discharged at the end of your Chapter 13 Plan and you will still have to pay them outside of Bankruptcy Court. While you are in Chapter 13, creditors will not be permitted to collect the joint debts either from you or from your former spouse directly.
I am a co-signer for a debt. How does Bankruptcy affect my obligation?
If the debt is primarily your debt, the you must provide for payment under your Chapter 13 Plan. If the debt is primarily the debt of the person with whom you cosigned, then you may either provide for payment by you of the debt under your Chapter 13 Plan, or you may provide that the debt will be paid by the co-debtors. While you are in Chapter 13, the co-debtors is protected against collection efforts outside the Bankruptcy Court.
Who notifies the creditor and bill collection?
After your bankruptcy is filed, the Bankruptcy Court mails a notice to all the creditors listed in your schedules. This usually takes a week to ten days. If this is not soon enough, then you should have your attorney inform the creditors immediately.
Do I have to fill out forms?
Yes. You will receive a detailed questionnaire from our office to be completed. It is important that you complete all of the questions, even though many of them may not apply to you or to your situation.
You will be required to list ALL of you property and ALL of your debts. At the initial court appearance, you will be asked under oath whether you have listed all of your property and all of your debts and you must be able to truthfully answer that you have.
Your attorney will ask you to complete a questionnaire and then will take that questionnaire and complete the bankruptcy petition and schedules based on the information which you have provided. There could be between 30 and 60 pages in your petition, schedule and other papers filed at the time of your bankruptcy. You must follow the local and federal bankruptcy court rules in completing the forms. Preparing these forms requires an understanding of both bankruptcy law and local state law in order to enter the information correctly and accurately. The forms have to be typed and a certain number of copies must be included with the filing.
After your attorney has prepared the bankruptcy petition, you or you and your spouse (if filing jointly) will review them and, if they are correct, sign them. Your attorney will forward them to the Court along with the necessary filing fees.
Do I have to go to court?
Yes. Within about 30 to 45 days after you file the bankruptcy, you will have to attend a hearing presided over by the Trustee or by the Bankruptcy Administrator. This hearing is called the First Meeting of Creditors or Section 341 Meeting. At this hearing, the Trustee or the Bankruptcy Administrator and the trustee will ask questions to you under oath regarding the content of your bankruptcy papers, assets, debts and other matters. After the trustee is done, your creditors will have an opportunity to ask questions to you regarding the location and condition of your property, hazard insurance coverage and matters related to your financial affairs.
Don’t worry, your attorney will be there to represent you and your attorney will help you prepare for the hearing. Sometimes, after your hearing is over, your creditors will approach you through your attorney to discuss the status of secured property or your desire to retain a credit card. Your attorney will negotiate with them, with your knowledge and approval.
After this hearing you will normally not need to return to court unless a creditor files a motion or an adversary action. This is the exception and only your attorney can determine if this is likely to happen. Generally, debtors will only need to appear in the Bankruptcy Court only once.
What happens after I file my Bankruptcy?
Once you file for Chapter 13 protection, the Bankruptcy Court will issue an order requiring that you make the payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee which you proposed in your Plan. The Court will also set a date for you Section 341 meeting of creditors and for hearing on confirmation [approval] of your Plan. Sometimes the 341 meeting and confirmation hearing are combined into one hearing. Once your Plan is confirmed, you will be required to make the payments which you proposed to the Chapter 13 Trustee and, if appropriate, keep you home mortgage [or your rent] from getting any further behind. Once you have completed all of your payments, the Court will issue a discharge to you which will relieve you from any further obligation on the debts which were covered by your Plan.
Who deals with the creditors and bill collectors during the bankruptcy?
Your attorney and the Chapter 13 Trustee deal with your creditors for you. You should refer all creditors and bill collectors either to you attorney or to the Chapter 13 Trustee.
What if I forget to list a creditor on my bankruptcy papers?
You can file an amendment to your schedules up to a certain time before discharge. If the amendment is timely filed then the omitted creditor is added to the bankruptcy. It is perjury to intentionally omit a creditor. However, if you do not know that a creditor exists and there are no assets for your creditors, the debt will be discharged.
What happens to my credit rating after a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
The bankruptcy is a judgment and may be listed in credit reports for a period of up to 7 years. However, by the time most debtors have filed bankruptcy, their credit rating is already damaged by late payments, repossessions, law suits, foreclosures and other debt problems which will also be reported for a period of up to 7 years. If you do not complete your Chapter 13 and it is dismissed it will remain on your credit report for 10 years.
After a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, can I get credit?
Surprisingly– Yes. This is up to each particular credit grantor. In my experience, it is possible to get credit if the credit grantor believes and understands your reasons for filing the bankruptcy. Also, creditors realize that after you receive a discharge in bankruptcy, you are virtually debt free with the same income and with the same assets as before you filed bankruptcy.
How do I re-establish my credit after Bankruptcy?
There are at least two ways to get credit after a bankruptcy. First, one of your existing creditors may continue to grant you credit based upon your past dealings with them. Second, today there are several banks offering secured credit cards. This means that the credit limit is based upon the amount of security [cash] given to the card issuer.
There are people who “specialize” in the business of credit repair. BEWARE. Some of the schemes they offer to you are not only worthless, they may be illegal. Consult your attorney first. You will almost certainly receive at least one solicitation from one of these “professionals”.
Is there any thing I should not do if I am contemplating bankruptcy?
There are several areas related to this question. You should consult your attorney. In particular there are three items worth mentioning.
a. Under bankruptcy law, certain luxury purchases over $1,000 within days of the bankruptcy filing are presumed nondischargeable.
b. Under bankruptcy law, cash advances aggregating $1,000 within 90 days of the bankruptcy filing are presumed nondischargeable.
c. Debts involving materially false financial statements are non dischargeable under certain circumstances.
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation proceeding. The debtor turns over all property which is not exempt to the bankruptcy trustee, who then converts it to cash for distribution to the creditors. The debtor receives a discharge of all dischargeable debts.
What Property is Exempt, what can I keep?
Bankruptcy exemptions are covered by Federal or state non-bankruptcy law. These exemptions differ from state to state. Once you come into our office an we determine what state applies to you we can give you a list of exemptions and see which ones apply.
Who can file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
You must reside or have a domicile, a place of business, or property in the United States or a municipality. You must not have been granted a Chapter 7 discharge within the last 8 years or completed a Chapter 13 plan within the last six years with a repayment of less than 70% to unsecured creditors.
Is it true that I can wipe out all of my bills?
The underlying policy of bankruptcy law is that the honest debtor who is in debt beyond his or her ability to repay the debt should be given a “fresh start” through the discharge of debts in a bankruptcy proceeding. However, not all debts are dischargeable. Generally speaking, the following debts will not be discharged:
a. Debts which have are determined by the Bankruptcy Court to be non-dischargeable as the result of debts created through false pretenses or misrepresentations or for money or property obtained by fraud or for damages arising for willful and malicious injury to property;
b. Certain taxes are also non-dischargeable, for example: Income taxes for taxable years 3 years before filing of petition; Property taxes payable within 1 year before filing of petition; Withholding taxes; Employment taxes for which a return is due within 3 years before filing of petition; Excise taxes for which a return is due within 3 years before filing of petition; Customs duties on merchandise entered into country within 1 year before filing of petition;
c. Unscheduled debts, that is, debts which you fail to list on the schedules;
d. Debts owed to a spouse, former spouse, or child for alimony, maintenance and support or incurred as the result of a property settlement agreement;
e. Debts for fines, penalties, restitution or forfeitures payable to a governmental unit or as the result of a conviction in a criminal case;
f. Debts because of damages, injuries or death resulting from driving while intoxicated;
g. Debts for certain educational or student loans incurred within seven (7) years of the filing of the petition, guaranteed by a governmental unity, unless the repayment will impose and undue hardship as determined by this Court;
h. Debts which you owed before a previous bankruptcy case in which you were denied a discharge.
i. Secured debts which you agree to keep and reaffirm with the creditor.
j. If a judgment was obtained against you for breach of fiduciary duty this debt will NOT be dischargeable
Those debts which are secured and which you do not agree to keep and reaffirm will be discharged, however, the creditor will probably take the necessary legal steps to take back the property.
Can I keep my home and personal property?
In most cases, the debtor does not give up any property.
As for your home, in Georgia, each property owner is entitled to an exemption for $10,000 worth of equity ($20,000 for husband and wife). Equity is the difference between the value of you home and the mortgage or mortgages which you owe, and the costs of selling the home. When calculating your equity you should use a value that is based upon a forced liquidation (sale) as opposed to the best selling conditions to arrive at a value for your home. Once you determine this value, subtract the amount owed plus selling and transfer costs from the value to calculate the equity. Generally, very few debtors risk losing their home to the bankruptcy court. In most cases, if there is any equity left after calculating mortgage pay off, reasonable transfer costs and expenses, and debtor’s exemptions, the trustee is willing to discuss a sale of the excess back to the debtor and, in many cases, will work out a short-term repayment plan.
If you own real property which is not your home, that property may not be exempt and probably will be subject to sale by the trustee. The debtor, of course, can buy the property back from the trustee. We strongly encourage all clients contemplating a Chapter 7 filing to have appraisal done on their property to ensure that their equity falls within the required guidelines. Remember that the tax assesment you receive each year usually DOES NOT reflect the correct fair market value of your property.
Can I reduce the interest rate on my high interest loan?
In some circumstances (other than mortgage loans) you may be able to cram down the interest rate on a secured loan to around prime plus 2. In order to qualify the purchase date would have to be at least two years prior to the date of filing.
Can some of my debt be discharged without paying it back in full?
In many cases you may be allowed to pay a portion of your unsecured debt back at a lower percentage (from 1%-99%) depending on your financial situation at the time of filing. An experience attorney will be able to analyze your case and inform of you what percentage you are required to pay back creditors.
What happens to my credit rating after a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a judgment and may be listed in credit reports for a period of up to 10 years. However, by the time most debtors have filed bankruptcy, their credit rating is already damaged by late payments, repossessions, law suits, foreclosures and other debt problems which will also be reported for a period of up to 10 years.