How to File for Bankruptcy in Georgia
Filing for bankruptcy in Georgia is a process that looks very similar to filing for bankruptcy in all other states. Anyone planning to file in Georgia should become familiar with the federal laws that they must follow. In addition, it is important to research and become familiar with the specific bankruptcy laws and rules that apply in Georgia. The first step to filing for bankruptcy in Georgia involves determining which type of bankruptcy is appropriate. This will either be Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy for most people. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for debts to be discharged. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a debtor to set up a structured payment plan through the court. Fishermen and farmers have the unique option to file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. People with large debt amounts or business debt may be eligible to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
All debtors must submit a means test to the court to determine which form of bankruptcy is appropriate. Debtors will be asked to supply information regarding liabilities, assets and more as part of a means test. The results of the test will ultimately determine which form of bankruptcy a person is eligible to file for. The complex nature of completing the paperwork needed when filing for bankruptcy highlights the importance of seeking the help of an attorney. In addition, it is important to complete all paperwork honestly, accurately and fully. Any attempts to cover up assets or misrepresent financial information could result in penalties.
A Look at Georgia’s Bankruptcy Process
Georgia’s bankruptcy court is divided between the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Georgia and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Georgia. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia has court locations in Atlanta, Gainesville, Newnan and Rome. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Georgia has locations in Macon and Columbus. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Georgia has locations in Augusta, Brunswick, Dublin, Savannah, Waycross and Statesboro.
The cost to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the state of Georgia is $335. The cost to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the state of Georgia is $310. A list of all other potential fees associated with filing for bankruptcy of any type in Georgia can be viewed here. In addition, all forms needed to file for bankruptcy in the state can be accessed here.
The Steps Needed to File for Bankruptcy in Georgia
A person will need to file a formal bankruptcy petition with the court in Georgia to begin the bankruptcy process. Doing so will trigger what is called an automatic stay. An automatic stay prevents creditors from contacting a debtor or attempting to collect any debts.
The process of filing for bankruptcy actually unofficially begins long before a petition is filed. Anyone considering the option to file for bankruptcy must first complete a credit counseling course in the six months leading up to filing a petition with the court. This course must be taken through an approved course provider. The list of approved course providers for the state of Georgia can be found here. In addition, a debtor education course must be completed once the bankruptcy process has been initiated. The list of approved course providers for this requirement can be found here. One of the final steps of completing the bankruptcy process is attending a mandatory meeting of creditors. This meeting gives creditors a final chance to prove that a debtor has accessible assets or object to the terms of a payment plant that has been drawn up in court.