Chapter 7We are a bilingual firm passionate about helping our clients.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer in Cumming, GA
Serving North Georgia and the Greater Atlanta Area
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy. It includes a complete liquidation of the assets you own that go beyond permissible exemptions established by law. Any property of value beyond permissible exemptions will be sold or turned into money to pay your creditors. You may be able to keep some personal items and possibly real estate and vehicles.
To qualify, your income must be equal to or fall below the median income in Georgia. If your income is above the state's median, the bankruptcy court will require you to take a "means test" in order to establish eligibility for Chapter 7. The means test assesses your debt and income from the preceding six months. If you have a certain amount of income left over every month after paying creditors, you will fail the means test. Although you may be ineligible for Chapter 7, Chapter 13 remains an option. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to repay creditors in a five-year repayment plan.
The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process
Step 1 - Initial Consultation
During this initial meeting, your Cumming Chapter 7 attorney will carefully go over the specifics of your situation in terms of your finances and your specific goals. We will also talk with you about other forms of debt relief and help you decide if filing for bankruptcy is the right option for you. All fees and payment plans are discussed during this time.
Step 2 - Prepare and File Your Petition for Bankruptcy
Typing up and going through the necessary steps involved in filing your bankruptcy petition takes a great deal of effort and time; it will involve a large majority of the work that your attorney will do for you. After everything is in order and you have had a chance to review your petition, it is filed with the bankruptcy court. When your petition has been filed, you will be under the automatic stay protection, which means your creditors must stop any further collection activity.
Step 3 - Dealing with Your Creditors
After retaining The McCormick Firm P.C. for your case, we will accept any collection calls on your behalf. Having a lawyer in your corner is usually enough to get most of your creditors to stop these calls.
Step 4 - Meeting of the Creditors
Typically, 30 to 45 days after your filing, you will attend a 341 Meeting of the Creditors. We will help you prepare for this meeting and discuss with you any issues or questions that you may have prior to the meeting. Depending on which type of bankruptcy has been filed, we may have additional duties that we will perform for your benefit.
The Main Events of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Attend credit counseling prior to filing for Chapter 7. Following credit counseling, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with a local bankruptcy court. You must provide income, debt, expenditures, creditor holdings of secured and unsecured debt, the sale of prior property, and a list of exempt property. Exempt property is property that is not subject to the bankruptcy process, typically including clothing, furniture, and cars.
The Automatic Stay. Once a debtor files for bankruptcy, the court will issue an automatic stay or an "Order for Relief." The automatic stay essentially stops all creditor collection activity as soon as your case is filed with the court. This goes a long way in preventing the harassing calls and notices that creditors use.
All collection activities, including any pending lawsuits, must cease, no wage garnishment, no liens, seizure of your assets is allowed, such as a house, a car, or a bank account. No requirement to have a judge sign off on this is necessary. Any creditors that try to get around the automatic stay will face severe consequences. The automatic stay remains in place until your bankruptcy case is concluded, discharged, or dismissed.
Note: The automatic stay is not a permanent action. In some cases, the creditor can file a petition that grants them relief from the automatic stay mandate, usually because the collateral that they have is losing its value and the potential for them to suffer loss is great.
The Role of the Trustee. The Georgia bankruptcy courts appoint a trustee for each bankruptcy case. The trustee is responsible for overseeing the case to ensure that you file the appropriate documents. The trustee must also determine whether the sale of nonexempt property will produce enough income to be of any value to repay creditors and justify the effort needed to sell the property. If it does not add up, the trustee will likely allow the debtor to keep the nonexempt property.
The Creditors Meeting. After filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee will schedule a creditors meeting where the trustee will review the paperwork and gather any other necessary information. If you fail to attend the creditors meeting, the trustee may make a motion to dismiss your case. If you fail to provide a copy of income tax returns at least seven days before this meeting or fail to file a current income tax return, your case could be dismissed. In most cases, this creditors meeting is the only time you will have to go to the courthouse.
The Nonexempt Property. Nonexempt property is subject to liquidation. If the trustee determines that you are in possession of nonexempt property, you may have to either surrender the property or supply the trustee with equal money in the amount of the property's value. If the property doesn't have real value or would be too difficult for the trustee to sell, trustees might "abandon" the property, essentially allowing you to keep it even if it is nonexempt.
The Discharge of Debt. After the creditors meeting, the bankruptcy court will hold a discharge hearing. Your unsecured debt (debt that is not secured by property) is discharged. Secured debt, such as a car loan or a mortgage, is different. At the beginning of the bankruptcy process, you decide how to handle this secured debt -- either pay the creditor for the replacement value of the property, return the property to the creditor, or "reaffirm" or agree to new contract terms with the creditor.
The Tail of the Tape. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must still repay some debt, including child support and tax debt. This occurs unless you meet the criteria to discharge federal tax debt. Student loans may be partially or wholly discharged if the court determines that undue hardship exists, and/or the debt was created by fraudulent means.
The Last Word. Once a discharge of debt occurs, creditors can no longer attempt to collect the expunged debt.
Our Purpose Is to Ensure Your Bankruptcy Rights Are Protected
At The McCormick Firm P.C., we protect your rights by carefully answering your questions and walking you through each step of the Chapter 7 process.
Depending on how much income you earn as well as the expenses that you have, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the right option for you. Chapter 7 bankruptcy favors people who are currently making less than the median household income in the state of Georgia. It is considered to be a way to achieve a fresh start during a difficult time in one’s life.
We work hard to help to make sure that you complete all of requirements, from attending meetings for credit counseling to taking a course in financial management. At the outset, your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will take the necessary time to carefully explain the advantages and disadvantages associated with this form of bankruptcy. You will have the peace of mind knowing that we are on your side.
We pride ourselves on tackling the complexities associated with calculating your debt and moving forward with your debt relief plan in a timely manner so you can start the process of rebuilding your life, debt free.
Why Hire the McCormick Firm P.C.?
Our seasoned team will always protect your rights while using our large pool of resources and experience to help save your assets. Often mortgage companies and banks will try to violate your rights in an effort to take all that they can from you, which is why you need an aggressive bankruptcy law firm that has years of experience in dealing with the complexities of debtor and creditor law.
You will have peace of mind knowing that we are on your side throughout the debt relief or bankruptcy process. The McCormick Law Firm always takes the time to explain to new clients how bankruptcy works, and will always advise you on the best course of action to take based on your situation. We will dispel any myths that you may have about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and present you with facts and information that will help you decide on the best course of action to take.
What Happens to My Credit?Bankruptcy can damage your credit and subsequently your credit score. We all know that credit scores play a large part in our lives and have for some time, as they help determine how much we pay for our cars, houses and more. However, if your score has already been damaged, bankruptcy can be a great first step to rebuilding your credit.
How Will I Pay My Bills Going Forward?
The key to paying your bills in addition to getting the most out of your bankruptcy case is to form a stringent budget that you can follow reasonably. If you have filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you need to have a budget to make sure that you are taking care of all of your required payments. If you file for Chapter 7 you will have your debts discharged, but only those debts that you had before the petition for Chapter 7 was filed. You will need a budget if you file for Chapter 7 to make sure that you won’t have to file again in the future. You should be able to consult with your Cumming Georgia bankruptcy attorney on this matter.
Will I Lose My Job if I File for Bankruptcy?
Filing for bankruptcy is information that the public can view. However, this information is not published in any newspapers or distributed at any stores. The only people that will know that you filed for bankruptcy is the trustee in your case, your creditors, and the people that you choose to tell. If your employer finds out about your case, it should not adversely affect your position or job. This may not be true if you work within the financial industry.