Statistics show that even with the economy and population rebounding in the last few years, bankruptcy filings continue to grow in the southern part of the U.S. Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama lead the U.S. in bankruptcy filings to date in 2018. Businesses and people filing for bankruptcy in these states has nearly doubled the national per capita rate. People filing bankruptcy in Georgia often do so to avoid foreclosure on their property.
Bankruptcy in Georgia
If you have fallen behind and you can not see any way out, bankruptcy could be the answer. Deciding how to file and then how to prepare the paperwork can be daunting. A Georgia bankruptcy attorney can discuss your options with you and help you determine what the best course of action is for your situation.
Credit Counseling and Where to File Bankruptcy
Before filing for bankruptcy in Georgia, you must attend and complete credit counseling with an agency that the U.S. Trustee’s Office has approved. Once you complete the mandatory credit counseling, you will be able to file bankruptcy.
Georgia has three court districts where you can file for bankruptcy. The Northern District has courthouses in Rome, Atlanta, Gainesville and Newnan; the Middle District has courthouses in Columbus and Macon; and the Southern District has courthouses in Brunswick, Augusta, Savannah, Dublin, Waycross, and Statesboro.
Deciding What Type of Bankruptcy to File
While there are several different types of bankruptcies available, most individuals file either a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The major deciding factor on which to file is typically income level. Those falling below a certain income level can file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It is normally much simpler and takes less time to complete than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Over 70% of bankruptcies filed nationwide are Chapter 7 cases.
When filing for bankruptcy you must compare your income to the median household income in Georgia for your family size. If your income is less than the median, you can file for Chapter 7. For a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may be eligible for a three-year repayment plan instead of a five-year plan. The current median income for a family of four in Georgia is $70,000, but this figure changes periodically.
Property Exemptions in Georgia
Like all states, Georgia has a set of property exemptions when it comes to bankruptcy. While some states allow people to choose between the state’s list of exemptions and a federal list, Georgia does not.
In the state of Georgia, homeowners can exempt up to $21,500 in home equity. Those who do not have home equity can apply part of this amount to other property. Georgia bankruptcy laws also allow individuals to exempt up to $5,000 in vehicle equity. They also allow up to $10,000 in personal injury recoveries from insurance companies or lawsuits.
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney Today
If you feel like your only option is to file bankruptcy, you are likely already emotional and stressed. Having an attorney guide you through the process can make such a situation much easier to handle. The attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law can discuss your situation with you and help you develop a plan to file bankruptcy and get your finances back on track. Contact their office today to schedule a consultation.