The Benefits of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Offers You the Most Complete Relief
At Woodruff Law office, our experienced bankruptcy attorneys help people decide whether to file for bankruptcy and which form of bankruptcy relief to choose. For most people, Chapter 7 bankruptcy will result in the most complete relief from indebtedness. To find out whether you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief and whether it’s right for you, contact us in Marietta for a free consultation. Also, you can read the bankruptcy facts to learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Most unsecured debts are eligible for discharge in Chapter 7
The main benefit of bankruptcy under Chapter 7 is the prospect of a complete discharge of most unsecured debts. Although certain obligations like recent taxes, student loans, or child support are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, you can end up walking away from most other claims: credit card debt, medical bills, revolving loan accounts, or any other debt that is not supported by collateral or covered by some other narrow exception. However, not everyone qualifies for Chapter 7 relief. Your gross household income has to be no greater than the state median in Georgia. We analyze your income and expenses to see if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Proper use of exemptions helps get the full benefit of Chapter 7 bankruptcy
In theory, the principle of Chapter 7 is to sell your assets and divide the proceeds among your unsecured creditors leaving you without property but free from debt. However, it really does not work that way. Georgia has exemptions that allow you to claim certain property as exempt from creditors. Mostly, holders of unsecured claims collect little or nothing from you.
People with substantial equity in their homes or who own valuable nonexempt property may find a Chapter 13 debt consolidation and repayment plan to be a better option because there is little or no risk that you will have to liquidate assets. Many of the Chapter 7 cases we file are “no-asset” cases that expose the debtor to little or no risk of loss.
We work closely with our clients to get the most benefit out of Chapter 7
The Chapter 7 discharge is the most complete relief available under the Bankruptcy Code, but it comes with responsibilities. You must fully and accurately disclose your debts and assets. Your case is supervised by a trustee, who is interested in nonexempt assets available for unsecured creditors. The trustee can recommend a denial of discharge or dismissal of your case if you don’t follow the bankruptcy rules.
Our lawyers make sure that you understand your rights and responsibilities. The vast majority of Chapter 7 debt relief cases proceed smoothly from filing to discharge, which is our goal in every case. To learn more about our Chapter 7 bankruptcy practice, contact us at Woodruff Law offices in Marietta, Georgia.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Federal Bankruptcy Code.
Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Right for Me?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing completely discharges most debts of an individual. In most cases, an individual may keep certain assets. In certain situations, a business can continue to operate. It is not accurate to view Chapter 7 bankruptcy as failing. Sometimes Chapter 7 bankruptcy is your best and only option.
Woodruff Law office can evaluate your situation and discuss your options, including a possible Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing or Chapter 13 bankruptcy (for individuals) or a Chapter 11 bankruptcy (for businesses).
Call us at 770-565-7924 for a free, no obligation consultation.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can be filed for Individuals
For certain individuals, Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides complete debt relief and a chance to begin your financial life again. The alternative is Chapter 13 bankruptcy in which you file a plan that allows you to re-pay a percentage of your debt based on a number of factors. If you have insignificant or negative equity in your house, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be right for you.
Woodruff Law offices has helped many people in the Marietta area obtain consumer debt relief through Chapter 7. If it is the right solution for you, our firm can act immediately to end creditor harassment, the threat of repossession, foreclosure, or wage garnishment, and begin the process of debt relief. We can also help you take steps to restore your credit after bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can also be filed for businesses
Woodruff Law offices has a successful track record helping business clients through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In considering a business Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Woodruff Law offices will look for ways to isolate the business owner’s personal assets from the business assets.
Whether it involves an individual or a business Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Woodruff Law offices seek to put our client in the strongest financial position possible at the conclusion of the process.
For a free initial consultation with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at Woodruff Law offices, call 770-565-7924 or contact us online.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline
8 or 6 Years Before Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
You are eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge after 8 years have passed from the date you filed a prior Chapter 7 case and received a discharge; or after 6 years have passed if you filed a Chapter 13 case and received a discharge.
4 or 2 Years before Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
You are eligible for a Chapter 13 discharge after 4 years have passed from the date you filed a prior Chapter 7 case and received a discharge or after 2 years have passed from the date you filed a Chapter 13 case and received a discharge.
If you have tried to delay or defraud your creditors by transferring, hiding, or destroying your property within a five-year period prior to your bankruptcy, the court may deny you a Chapter 7 discharge and even allow your creditors to recover the property that you transferred.
1 Year Before Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you pay back one of your creditors who is also a relative or close business associate (insider) at any time within the one-year period prior to the filing of your bankruptcy case, any amount over $600 may be recovered by the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee and the amount may be distributed to your other creditors.
If you had a prior bankruptcy case dismissed within one year of your Chapter 7 case, the Automatic Stay entered in the Chapter 7 case will be terminated within 30 days unless you can demonstrate that the Chapter 7 case was filed in good faith.
180 Days Before Your Bankruptcy
If within 180 days before your bankruptcy you had a prior bankruptcy case that was dismissed because you failed to obey any court order or you voluntarily dismissed your bankruptcy case, then you may not file your bankruptcy case until this 180 day period expires.
Also, within 180 days of your bankruptcy filing, you must receive an individual or group credit-counseling briefing from an approved non-profit agency approved by the United States Trustee’s Office.
90 Days Before Your Bankruptcy
You must be a resident of the state in which you intend to file your bankruptcy case for at least 180 days before the filing of your bankruptcy case. If you have not lived in Georgia for at least 180 days, you may only file your case in the state where you have resided, or which has been the location of your principal assets, for a majority of the prior 180 days.
Also, if you pay back any of your creditors over $600, even one who is not a relative or close business associate, at any time within the 90-day period prior to the filing of your bankruptcy case, the payment may be considered a preference payment, and the court or trustee may recover the amount over $600 and distribute it to your creditors. Usually, this does not apply to payments on secured loans like mortgages and car notes.
If you incurred new debt of $500 or more for luxury goods or services within the 90-day period before your bankruptcy, or if you obtain a cash advance in the amount of $750 or more within a 70-day period prior to your bankruptcy, the debt may be nondischargeable.
Initially, you will meet with our law firm for the initial free consultation, where you will retain our services. You will then complete your first step of credit counseling. You then return to our office for your filing appointment where you meet with an attorney to complete your bankruptcy paperwork and ask any follow up questions.
Your Case is Then Filed
Your case is filed with the bankruptcy court, and, as soon as we file your petition, statement, and schedules, the court will enter an Automatic Stay order prohibiting your creditors from taking or continuing any collection or legal action against you. This means no more harassing letters or phone calls while your case is ongoing.
Next, the court will send a notice of your case to all of the creditors listed in your petition.
The bankruptcy court will assign a bankruptcy trustee to administer or oversee your case and schedule a meeting of creditors which is overseen by the trustee. The trustee is a federal employee appointed by the court to monitor your case and make sure you are eligible for bankruptcy. The trustee will review your petition and make sure that it is complete.
Approximately 15 Days after Your Case is Filed
Within approximately 15 days after you file your case, the court will mail the Notice of Commencement of Case to all of the creditors listed in your petition. This notice will inform everyone of the date set by the court for the meeting of your creditors, and the deadlines for your creditors to object to your case and file any claims against you.
30 Days after Your Meeting of Creditors
You have 30 days after the date first set of your meeting of creditors to execute your “statement of intent.” This is where you indicated whether you will surrender, retain and make all necessary payments, or redeem your property. Woodruff Law offices will make sure that this is done for you.
Approximately 4 to 6 Weeks after Your Case is Filed
The court will hold a meeting of your creditors about four to six weeks after your bankruptcy case is filed. At least seven days before this meeting, you are required to provide to the trustee and any creditor requesting it, a copy of your most recently filed tax return. We will take care of this for you.
The court-appointed trustee will preside over this meeting. At the meeting, which you must attend, you will be asked to testify under oath as to the accuracy of the statements filed with the bankruptcy court. Most of your creditors will not appear at the meeting, and no judge will appear at your meeting of creditors. The meeting is very informal, and in most cases will last no more than 10 minutes. If you do not attend the meeting, your case will be dismissed.
Prior to the meeting of creditors, Woodruff Law offices will send you a list of questions that the trustee is likely to ask you at that hearing so that you are prepared for your meeting. You will be asked at the meeting of creditors specifically if you read and understood the bankruptcy information sheet prepared by the United States Trustee’s office. This information sheet describes the various Chapters of the Bankruptcy Code that were available to you for filing. This document will be discussed at length with you on the day that your petition is prepared at our offices.
30 Days after Your Meeting of Creditors
The bankruptcy trustee and your creditors have to object to all of your exemption claims within 30 days after the conclusion of the meeting of your creditors.
60 Days after Your Meeting of Creditors
Your creditors have 60 days after the date first set for the Meeting of Your Creditors to object to the discharge of any of the debts listed in your petition, statements, and schedules.
Your creditors can object to your request to discharge a debt if that debt was obtained or incurred as a result of any of the following types of misconduct: fraud, embezzlement or larceny, any willful or malicious injury that you caused others, or a divorce or separation (this does not include debts for child support or maintenance which, by law, are nondischargeable).
Additionally, your creditors can object to a discharge of all your debts if you have engaged in any of the following conduct: concealment or destruction of property or financial records, false statements, withholding information, failing to explain losses, failure to respond to material questions, or a discharge in a prior case.
The trustee must move to dismiss your case within this time period if he finds that the granting of relief would be an abuse of the provisions of Chapter 7.
You will generally receive your Chapter 7 discharge 60 days after the meeting of creditors. You will receive your discharge as soon as the 60-day time period for objecting to discharge or moving to dismiss your case expires. Even if you receive your discharge, the trustee may, however, move to set aside the discharge if you do not turn over nonexempt property or if you commit other bankruptcy violations.
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) imposes a final hurdle before you are eligible for a discharge; the financial education or credit counseling requirements. This hurdle requires you to complete instructional courses before you file and before you receive a discharge in bankruptcy. Our attorneys can refer you to the appropriate approved financial management provider.
90 Days after Your Meeting of Creditors
If you have an asset case, all of your creditors (except for government entities) must file proofs of claim (documents your creditors submit to the bankruptcy court stating how much you owe them) within 90 days after the date first set for your creditor meeting if they wish to share in the payments from your case if any assets are available for liquidation.
If your case was a no asset case (there was no property available to liquidate by the trustee) and there were no objections filed by the trustee or your creditors, your case will be discharged and closed.
Once your bankruptcy case is discharged and closed, Woodruff Law offices will send you a copy of the Discharge Order. You should then order copies of your credit reports from all three credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) to make sure that all of the debts you listed in your bankruptcy petition, statements, and schedules and intended to discharge are zeroed out on your credit report with a notation that the debt was included in your bankruptcy. You should pay the extra fee for these credit reports and the extra fee to receive your credit score. You should also run these credit reports on an annual basis thereafter to ensure that you are not a victim of identity theft in the future.
Call us if your credit report is not accurate and we can help you dispute any inaccuracies in order to immediately improve your credit score.