Bankruptcy Filing Requirements

One of the most crucial aspects of filing for bankruptcy relief is following the steps set forth by the U.S. bankruptcy code and Georgia state law. Making a mistake if you are trying to file for bankruptcy without the aid of an attorney can mean your case is denied and you do not receive the relief and fresh start you are seeking.

At the firm of Pratt & Wall, Attorneys at Law, we provide detailed advice and discuss options with clients at every step of their Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We have compiled a brief guide to the steps that are necessary to getting your bankruptcy case filed and finished.

Steps For Filing For Bankruptcy In Georgia

Step 1. Call Us

It all starts with a phone call to 770-614-4811 to set up a free debt consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Step 2. The Consultation

At your appointment, we will gather the information necessary to fully evaluate your situation. The information we review relates to your assets, debts, income and expenses, as well as your plans for the future. We will then evaluate your situation and inform you of your options. At this meeting, we will answer your questions about bankruptcy options and address your concerns.

If it is determined that your best option is bankruptcy, we will discuss the process in detail and go over filing requirements. We will also discuss the costs related to your bankruptcy and the payment options. If after the consultation and discussing your options you decide to proceed with a bankruptcy, we will be ready to get started on your case immediately. From the moment we are hired, you can tell the harassing debt collectors to contact your lawyer.

Step 3. Credit Counseling

Georgia bankruptcy law requires that you complete a course in credit counseling prior to filing your case. This is a very easy process and usually takes less than an hour and can be done over the internet.

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Step 4. Signing The Petition

After all forms, schedules and addendums are prepared, you will sign the documents. This is your opportunity to review the information for completeness and correctness.

Step 5. Filing Your Case

Once the documents are signed and you have completed credit counseling, we will file your case in federal court. We do electronic filing so your case can be filed as soon as it is ready. Once the case is filed, the full power of the bankruptcy stay is in place to protect you from creditors. Foreclosures are stopped and garnishments are stayed.

Step 6. The Powerful Automatic Stay

When your case is filed, the court informs all of your creditors to leave you alone. This automatic stay is very powerful because it forces creditors to stop collection activity. If a creditor has any questions or concerns, it must contact this law firm directly. If there is a pending lawsuit or foreclosure, we will also contact the attorneys for the creditors so they can get immediate notice.

Step 7. Meeting Of Creditors

Approximately 30 to 45 days after your case is filed, you must attend a meeting of the creditors. This is also referred to as a Section 341 hearing. This meeting is the creditors' opportunity to ask you questions, but they rarely come to the meetings. At the meeting, you will be required to answer questions related to the information you provided in the petitions you signed. You will have heard the same questions from an attorney in our office when we prepare you for the meeting.

Step 8. Complete A Post-Filing Debtor Education Course

Bankruptcy law requires that before your debts can be discharged, you must complete a second debtor education course. Like the prefiling course, it can be done from your home online. It is critical that this final course is taken as soon as possible after your case is filed.

Step 9. The Discharge

Chapter 7

The next step is the issuance of your discharge by the court. This usually happens three to four months after the filing of your case.

Chapter 13

Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 cases stay open for three to five years, depending on your particular circumstances. During this period, you are required to make monthly payments to your trustee. This payment goes to your creditors. The amount you pay is almost always just pennies compared to the amounts owed. In addition, you may be required to keep paying on certain debts outside your bankruptcy plan, including child support, alimony, house payments and other long-term debt. If you make all your payments on time, your creditors are not allowed to contact you. At the end of the successful plan, you will be issued a discharge.

We Treat Every Case With Personal Care And Professionalism

The steps indicated above assume that everything in your case proceeds in a typical manner. Your case may involve additional or modified steps. Each Chapter 13 case is different and bankruptcy judges in Georgia may have slightly different requirements. Ultimately, the goal of any bankruptcy case is to improve the quality of your life by relieving you from the stress and burden of too much debt and/or abusive collectors.

Get Started With Your Bankruptcy Case Today

Call us at 770-614-4811 or email our firm to set up your free initial consultation. We serve bankruptcy clients throughout the state of Georgia from our office in Suwanee.

Under federal law, we are designated as a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code.