DEBT RELIEF IN CARTERSVILLE, GA

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At Brian R. Cahn & Associates in Cartersville, GA, our service is to you, not your creditors. For over 20 years, we’ve helped clients obtain relief from debt by using protections afforded under bankruptcy law, and our bankruptcy attorney understands how to effectively help those with financial difficulties. Please learn more about debt relief options below.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is generally for individuals and businesses that have become insolvent. The benefit of Chapter 7 is that it can discharge, or wipe out, large amounts of unsecured debt, such as credit card debt and medical bills. There are certain income requirements to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, including a means test to compare a debtor’s income with Georgia’s median income.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to pay back creditors over the course of three to five years with an affordable repayment plan. It’s often a good option for people facing foreclosure. Only individuals are eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 bankruptcy, often called “business reorganization,” is generally for businesses that need to restructure their debt obligations and pay back creditors while maintaining business operations.

Creditor Harassment

As soon as a bankruptcy petition is filed, creditors must stop any collection activity, including actions for foreclosure, repossession, or garnishment. One of our primary goals is to help clients find relief from creditor harassment.

Rebuilding Credit

After bankruptcy, it’s important for debtors to begin rebuilding credit so that they may take advantage of their fresh start. We regularly give clients advice on taking the right steps to raise their credit scores.

Debt Settlement

Not everyone needs to file for bankruptcy to get back on their feet. We can represent you in debt settlement negotiations, which may result in lower monthly payments on debts or the opportunity to pay off a debt in one affordable lump sum.

Lein Stripping

Lien stripping allows debtors in bankruptcy to transform a second mortgage or home equity line of credit (HELOC) into an unsecured, dischargeable debt, leaving only the first mortgage to repay.

Preference Defenses

During bankruptcy proceedings, a bankruptcy trustee may seek repayment from creditors who received money from a debtor before he or she filed for bankruptcy. We provide preference defense representation, helping certain creditors keep payments received from debtors.

Lawsuits & Judgements

We regularly defend clients against lawsuits and judgment liens, including foreclosures, repossessions, and wage garnishments.

Unsecure & Secure Debt

Different types of debt should often be handled in different ways depending on a person’s unique situation. We’ve helped clients manage and eliminate tax debt, credit card debt, and medical bills.

Foreclosure

Stopping a foreclosure is one of the most important things we can do for a client. We have helped many people in North Georgia stay in their homes by providing foreclosure defense representation, as well as defense against evictions and deficiency judgments after foreclosure.

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Bankruptcy FAQs

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy laws were formulated to give the honest debtor a fresh financial start. However, bankruptcy is not intended to give debtors an unfair advantage over their creditors, or to protect the debtor who has acted in bad faith in an attempt to defraud their creditors. This requirement comes from the United States Bankruptcy Code, Title 11 of the U.S. Code. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases are most frequently filed by individual debtors with consumer debts, while Chapter 11 cases are usually filed by businesses as a means to restructure debt.

Is Bankruptcy Good For Me?

Many of us are struggling with debt in this economy. With the high unemployment rate, low credit availability, and the off-the-chart number of foreclosures, more and more people are finding that bankruptcy is the right choice for them and their financial futures. If you are bombarded by bills and need relief, filing for bankruptcy may be a good option for you. Keep in mind, however, that bankruptcy is not right for everyone, and you should carefully weigh your options before making any financial decision.

Will Bankruptcy Help Me Or Hurt Me?

Some people, often those in the credit card industry, do not want debtors to understand the truth about bankruptcy (because if you get your bills discharged, they probably will not get paid). For this reason, there are many misconceptions about bankruptcy, especially when it comes to what happens to credit after bankruptcy. If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, make sure you get the facts and make the right decisions for you. Talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney about your unique circumstances.  

Will Filing for Bankruptcy Affect My Credit?

Some people, often those in the credit card industry, do not want debtors to understand the truth about bankruptcy (because if you get your bills discharged, they probably will not get paid). For this reason, there are many misconceptions about bankruptcy, especially when it comes to what happens to credit after bankruptcy. If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, make sure you get the facts and make the right decisions for you. Talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney about your unique circumstances.

What Assets Can I Keep if I File For Bankruptcy?

Exemptions are one of the few aspects of bankruptcy governed by state law rather than federal law. In Georgia, the following property is exempt from liquidation if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

  • Real estate up to $21,500
  • Household goods, such as televisions, furniture and electronics, up to $300 per item and $5,000 total
  • Jewelry up to $500
  • Lost future earnings recoveries needed for support up to $7,500
  • Personal injury recoveries up to $10,000
  • Tools of trade up to $1,500
  • Wrongful death recoveries needed for support
  • Health aids
  • Burial plot
  • Wages
  • Pensions, including 401(k)s and IRAs
  • Public benefits
  • Alimony and child support needed for support
  • Insurance policies

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you get to keep all of your property regardless of its value, so long as you are able to pay your unsecured debtors the value of the property you would lose if you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  

Can Co-Signers Be Protected in Bankruptcy?

Co-signers can be protected in certain bankruptcies. If you are concerned about protecting your co-signers, a bankruptcy attorney may be able to help you determine which bankruptcy filing is best for you. Generally, if you decide to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, creditors are still able to proceed with collection efforts against your co-signers, even if you were relieved of the debt. However, if you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a co-signer is protected if the following provisions are met:

  • The debt must be consumer debt.
  • The debt cannot be incurred in the ordinary course of business.
  • The co-signer cannot benefit from the proceeds of the debt.
  • The debtor sticks to the Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment agreement.

You should note that if you fail to complete the requirements of your Chapter 13 repayment plan, the creditors have the legal right to pursue your co-signers.

How can I stop Creditor Harassment?

We do not have to tell you that creditors can be annoying, but we can tell you that you may have the power to silence them. If you decide to file for bankruptcy, you can stop creditor harassment and reclaim your phone, voicemail and mailbox. This is because a bankruptcy filing results in an automatic stay order, which makes it illegal for creditors to attempt to collect on your debt.  

How Long Do Bankruptcy Cases Take?

The length of a bankruptcy case depends on many circumstances, but mostly on which type of bankruptcy you file.

How Can I Learn More About Bankruptcy in Georgia?

If you would like to learn more about bankruptcy and your options for obtaining debt relief, please contact us today. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns and determine how we may help you.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy FAQs

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legal process by which most unsecured debts can be discharged, or wiped out. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is sometimes called liquidation because any non-exempt assets the debtor has can be sold (liquidated) by the trustee for the benefit of creditors. Many Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtors have no non-exempt assets, so there is no liquidation and unsecured debts are simply discharged. There are, however, certain unsecured debts that are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

What Debts Are Discharged In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

The most common debts that are dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy include:

  • Credit card debt
  • Repossession deficiencies on vehicle loans
  • Medical bills
  • Personal loans
  • Judgments
  • Auto accident claims
  • Negligence claims
  • Business debts
  • Leases
  • Guaranties
  • Tax penalties over three years old
  • Income taxes that are not priority taxes
What Debts are Not Discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Under the United States Bankruptcy Code, Congress has determined that certain types of debt are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy for public policy reasons, which means you must still repay these debts after bankruptcy. The following debts are usually not dischargeable:

  • Child support and spousal support (alimony) obligations
  • Government-backed student loans
  • Debts incurred by fraud or intentional wrongdoing
  • Criminal fines and restitution
How Do I Know If I Can File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

To file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must qualify under the Chapter 7 means test. The means test first compares your income to the median income in Georgia. If your income is lower than Georgia’s median income, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, if your income is greater than the median income, other calculations regarding your income and allowable expenses are required to determine whether or not you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Better?

The answer to this question depends on your specific circumstances. Generally speaking, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is better for people who have a lot of unsecured debts, like credit card debt and medical bills. If you do not have much property, your income is low, and most of your debts are unsecured, you might want to consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, tends to be a better option for those who have regular income and non-exempt property they would like to keep.

How Can I Learn More About Filing For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

If you are considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys. With offices in Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton and Dallas, we likely have a location convenient to your home or workplace.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy FAQs

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a full or partial repayment plan administered by the bankruptcy court. The debtor submits a plan for approval, and when the plan is approved, makes monthly payments to the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee then makes payments to creditors in accordance with the terms of the plan. At the end of the repayment period, which may be from three to five years, any remaining unsecured, dischargeable debt may be discharged if all payments have been made according to the plan.

Who can File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

In one sense, it is easier to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy than for Chapter 7. There is no means test for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and some debtors who cannot qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy opt to file under Chapter 13 instead. However, Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires a regular income that will allow you to create a budget and make predictable and reliable payments to the trustee.

Is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Better?

The answer to this question depends on your situation. In many cases people who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy have accumulated a large amount of debt, but still have a steady income, as well as property that they do not want to lose. Rather than liquidating assets, filing for Chapter 13 allows debtors to negotiate new, more manageable payment terms with creditors, so that they may pay off debt in a specified period of time. Chapter 13 is also a good option for those with obligations that cannot be discharged under Chapter 7, such as child support and student loans.  

How Does Declaring Chapter 13 Affect My Credit?

The fact that you have declared bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for seven years. While this will not necessarily prevent you from being able to obtain new credit, potential creditors will take it into consideration. Additionally, while you are in Chapter 13, you must obtain approval from the court before you incur new debt.

Which Types of Debt is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Appropriate for?

Chapter 13 can help in many debt situations, but it may be especially effective for people with significant income tax debt. In fact, debts meeting the following criteria will be discharged:

  • The debt must be from a tax return whose due date was at least three years before the bankruptcy filing
  • You must have filed the tax return at least two years before the bankruptcy filing
  • The taxes were not assessed within the 240 days before the filing
  • You are not guilty of tax evasion and have not committed any fraud or misrepresentation

Rules governing the tax implications of declaring Chapter 13 can be complex, but an experienced bankruptcy attorney can advise you on your rights, obligations and any other exceptions that may apply.

How Can I Learn More About Filing For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

If you think Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a good way for you to take control of your debt situation, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. We have offices in Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton and Dallas, making us one of the most accessible law firms in northwest Georgia.

Contact Us to Learn More About Filing for Bankruptcy in Georgia

Whether your debt stems from sudden job loss, divorce, unexpected medical expenses, back taxes or another unfortunate situation, we can help you obtain a fresh financial start. Please contact Brian R. Cahn & Associates to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more about our debt relief services. We serve clients throughout northwest Georgia from offices in Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton, and Dallas.

(770) 382-8900