Clark & Washington

Steps to Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Do you feel overwhelmed with debt? Do you avoid answering the phone or opening your mail hoping to avoid the bill collectors? If so, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the answer you are looking for.

Certain types of debts will be discharged at the end of the process, which means you will never have to pay them.

Dischargeable debts include:

Debts that are not dischargeable. This means that you will still owe these debts at the end of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These debts include:

Steps to Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Georgia

The outcome of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that your qualifying debts will be discharged, which means you will never have to pay them. But it is a complicated process and steps that must be followed for you to have a successful outcome.

Credit counseling. No longer than six months before filing your bankruptcy petition, you must undergo credit counseling. After you file your petition, you must complete a course on financial management. These are available online and your attorney can direct you to the most efficient and economical way of meeting these requirements.

Means test. Georgia, like all other states, requires a “means test” to see if your income qualifies you for bankruptcy. Your income must be lower than the median income for your state. If your income is too high, you can then complete a worksheet showing all of your expenses and if you can show you have no disposable income, you may still qualify.

Filing your petition. When you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition with the bankruptcy court in your district, all creditors must stop all collection action. In fact, if the debtor has notice that you have filed a bankruptcy petition, it is illegal for them to call you without a court order allowing them to do so.

This provides you relief from harassing phone calls and letters while the bankruptcy court evaluates your case. You also file, attached to your petition, documents called “schedules” which list all your assets and all your debts.

Appointment of a bankruptcy trustee. The court appoints a trustee to oversee your case. The trustee evaluates your assets and determines what can be sold to pay your creditors. This sounds ominous, but there are exemptions you can claim that allow you to keep some property. For example, you will generally be allowed to keep:

Even for non-exempt property, the trustee may determine there is no value or not enough value to an asset to make it worthwhile to sell it, so the trustee will “abandon” the asset, and it will remain yours.

Meeting of the Creditors. About four weeks after you file your bankruptcy petition, the trustee will schedule a meeting of creditors, also called a §341 meeting, which is the bankruptcy code section that requires such a meeting.

This is a meeting where creditors can appear and argue to the trustee why the debt you owe them should not be discharged. In reality, Chapter 7 creditors rarely appear at the creditor’s meeting. Your attendance is required by law. If no creditors appear, the meeting will last about five minutes.

Dischargeable debts are discharged. Within three to six months of the creditors’ meeting, if no creditor has challenged your bankruptcy, you will receive notice from the court that your dischargeable debts have been discharged.

Contact Bankruptcy Attorneys Clark & Washington 

If you are thinking about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact us at Clark & Washington, PC for a free consultation. We work with you to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition as soon as possible to stop your creditors from harassing you and provide you the relief from debt that you need to get a fresh start. Contact us online or call 770-488-9300 to schedule a free consultation.


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