Whether you are considering filing Chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are bound to have a few questions. At Clark & Washington, we have pulled together a few of the most common questions prospective filers tend to need to be answered. 

How much does it cost to file bankruptcy?

Federal and local laws determine how much it costs to file bankruptcy. For Chapter 7, the filing fee is $338; For Chapter 13, the filing fee is slightly less at $313. If you hire a bankruptcy attorney in Atlanta to represent your case, you will also be subject to attorney’s fees as well. Those fees can vary depending on whom you choose for representation. 

Who will find out if I file for bankruptcy? 

filing for bankruptcy faq

In most cases, only you and your creditors will know that you have filed for bankruptcy. Even though bankruptcy proceedings are a matter of public record, this information rarely gets publicized unless you are affiliated with certain organizations, hold a public title, or have a high-profile job of some type.

Of course, your creditors will be notified of the bankruptcy, and the information will be shown on your credit profile that will be accessible by future lenders. Your employer is usually not privy to the information unless you are having Chapter 13 payments automatically deducted from your paychecks. 

While rare, some smaller locations may publish notices of a bankruptcy filing in the newspaper. However, that practice is typically considered distasteful and outdated by most modern news agencies. 

What if I filed for bankruptcy in the past? 

Filing bankruptcy in the past doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t file bankruptcy again, but you do have to be mindful of wait-time requirements after your prior bankruptcy was either filed or has been discharged.  

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be filed again after 8 years from the date you filed your prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, if you have filed Chapter 7 in the past and intend to file Chapter 13, you may only have to wait 4 years from the date filed as long as you can commit to a payment plan that covers 100 percent of the debt. 

Chapter 13

If you filed Chapter 13 in the past, you may have to wait 6 years to be able to file Chapter 7. However, if you filed Chapter 13 and successfully paid 100 percent of the debt involved in the claim, you may be able to file Chapter 7 sooner. 

Please keep in mind, several exceptions to these rules do exist. For example, you may be able to file Chapter 13 after two years of a prior Chapter 13 in order to prevent foreclosure in some cases. Be sure to discuss the specifics with your chosen bankruptcy attorney to understand whether you can file for bankruptcy again. 

Can I file bankruptcy without a lawyer? 

Hiring a bankruptcy attorney to file either Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy is not required, but doing so is always recommended. Enlisting the help of an attorney will ensure you have the necessary guidance throughout the process. 

The only time filing without the help of an attorney may be feasible, is if you have no assets, no secured debts (collateral-backed debts like a mortgage), and little-to-no income. All debtors who fall outside those parameters will have much more to work through. 

The Atlanta bankruptcy attorney can help by:

  • Helping you choose the most logical bankruptcy option 
  • Analyzing your financial circumstances to help you keep important assets 
  • Acting as the point of correspondence between creditors and you 
  • Walking you through complications, such as property liens, tax-related debt, and mortgage issues

Of course, opting to hire a bankruptcy attorney also means you have someone well-versed in the process that will be with you at court hearings, help you file necessary motions, and guide you through things like credit counseling.