What is bankruptcy?
Finances can be an uncomfortable topic, especially when the word “debt” is involved. Most people don’t want others to know if they are facing debt, and if so, just how much it is. As an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney, we know first-hand just how uncomfortable this conversation can be. But to overcome a problem, you must first talk about it to find a solution. And this is when some people start their search for a “bankruptcy lawyer near me.” Bankruptcy is a scary term at first for some, but also a solid solution.
Debt, how did it happen?
When credit cards are involved, it can feel like you accrued the debt in the blink of an eye. One day your balance is $20 and before you know it, you have thousands of dollars piled up. Some of the ways people often accrue large amounts of debt include:
Whether it is a planned but required surgery or a sudden accident, one medical bill could be enough to throw your entire financial life off balance. But oftentimes, it is something that is unavoidable and sometimes something that can keep growing as additional treatment is required.
Student Loan Debt
College is expensive – no doubt. But many careers require a degree, and many people desire to pursue further schooling. Year after year more and more students find themselves looking down the tunnel of student loan debt after graduation.
Poor Spending Habits
It can be hard to admit, but we’ve all made poor decisions at one point or another. Whether it was a spur-of-the-moment shopping spree, that new piece of technology you just couldn’t resist, or holiday shopping you didn’t save for in advance. Unfortunately, poor spending can become a habit. And when it is done on a credit card, the interest that accrues on the balance just adds to the damage.
Have you tried catching up on your debt but still can’t seem to get a handle on it?
This might have you wondering what your next step should be. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can offer you relief from this debt by discharging some or all of what you owe. But it isn’t a quick fix-all solution. There might be some drawbacks such as some loss of physical assets and impacts to your credit that you should be aware of before deciding. As bankruptcy attorneys for Atlanta and the surrounding area, it is our job to ensure our clients – and potential clients – are making an informed decision about their financial future.
What Is Involved with Filing?
From the time of filing, it generally takes about three months for your debts to be discharged. Some of the steps you can expect to go through as part of the process include:
- Bankruptcy counseling
- A “means test.” This will determine your eligibility.
- Filing a petition with your local bankruptcy court.
- Attending a meeting of the creditors.
- Completing a financial management course.
Thankfully, if you hire a bankruptcy attorney, they will handle most of this for you.
When Should I Start Thinking About Bankruptcy?
If your daily living is affected by debt and you don’t have an idea of when it will end, you should consider filing bankruptcy. If you’ve tried to negotiate with companies you owe or to consolidate your debt but still need help, chapter 7 might be something you should consider. Think of it like “pausing” some debts and getting rid of some.
How Will My Credit be Impacted?
One of the major negative things most commonly associated with bankruptcy is the hit to your credit score. The impact on your credit will depend on your current score and other factors related to your financial situation. However, depending on your current situation, it could be potentially more harmful to not file for bankruptcy.
If You’re In Georgia We Can help As An Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney
While this is a necessary measure to keep us safe, it has been a financial burden to many people who have lost their jobs. Many restaurants have moved to takeout only while others run the gambit and open. Many people have found themselves either furloughed or without a job. You know most people were not prepared for this disaster. The crisis has moved fast and many people have now found themselves struggling to make ends meet. We know how stressful this is and we can help you pinpoint the best options for you and your family. Our bankruptcy attorneys are here to talk to you about options to help you push forward.
A Financial Plan for People Affected by COVID-19
We know that nobody wants to file bankruptcy. It isn’t something you go into your adult life ever expecting to have to experience. If you are one of the millions who lost their job due to the COVID-19 bankruptcy might make sense. That is if you’re struggling with debt and have no source of income.
A bankruptcy plan could give you a sense of control during this unprecedented time.
Before filing for bankruptcy, try to make arrangements with your creditors. Some creditors might waive payments for a certain period of time. Others may allow you to make delayed arrangements to pay your debts. We’ve learned student loan payments are on hold, with the federal government. #thankful. Most utility bill companies cannot shut services off due to no payment due to the pandemic. Plan your financial strategy based on your conversations with creditors. If there is wiggle room to pay your debts, pay them as you are able.
If you still find yourself needing an alternative solution, let’s explore bankruptcy. The sooner you file, the sooner you can get back on your feet and start rebuilding your credit. Why Bankruptcy?
The benefit of bankruptcy is having your debt discharged. (chapter 7) Things like credit card balances and medical bills can fall into this filing. These are the type of debts that are most likely to get out of hand during a crisis. This can give you more disposable income to maintain some kind of quality of life. During this time you can divide extra money to areas where you need it. Chapter 13 will buy you time if you have a job and creditors are garnishing your wages for debts you owe.
Bankruptcy isn’t something you should navigate alone. You will want to do it with the help of a bankruptcy lawyer for chapter 7 or chapter 13.
When deciding to go this route, you are probably wondering:
How much will a bankruptcy attorney near me cost?
Money invested in an Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to getting out of debt. However, the fees associated with filing bankruptcy are still something you will want to be aware of upfront. Bankruptcy lawyer fees will vary based on a few determining factors? Those factors can include:
The type of bankruptcy you are filing.
There are a few different chapters of bankruptcy, including chapters 7, 13, and chapter 11. Each one requires different items and therefore, a different amount of time and labor.
Where you live.
Geographical location impacts the cost of filing for bankruptcy, just as it does with most things. It all comes down to how much attorneys in your area cost. Thankfully, Georgia is not listed as one of the most expensive states to file for bankruptcy.
The complexity of your case.
This also partially ties in with the type of bankruptcy you are filing – depending on your chapter, your case might be more complex. However, there are other life factors such as your marital status, if you have kids, how many jobs you have, assets, and other items that mean your case will require more work regardless of the chapter being filed. A more complex case will also likely result in additional fees.
The experience of your bankruptcy lawyer will make all the difference.
More wisdom comes with more experience. More experience comes with more demand. And more demand comes with a higher price tag. However, depending on the complexity of your case, it might end up costing you more, in the long run, to try to bargain a low cost with a less experienced attorney. This is another reason for interviewing a few attorneys before making a decision. You can get an idea of how much experience in your area actually costs, and how much of a difference it makes.
Consult with a Bankruptcy Attorney
Right now things are uncertain and we understand you are feeling an added level of stress. Our law firm will find the best option to help you and your family through COVID-19. We’ll be here with you every step of the way through a bankruptcy case. Give us a call today to get the discussion started. Let us help you find some peace during these chaotic times. (Click here to begin.)
How much does a bankruptcy lawyer cost in Ga?
There are usually 2 costs involved with a bankruptcy case – the lawyer’s fee and the court filing fee. For the court filing fee, the amount depends on what chapter of bankruptcy the person files. Although the court changes these fees from time to time, right now the filing fees are: $335 for a chapter 7; $310 for a chapter 13; $1,717 for a chapter 11. The amount of the lawyer’s fee depends on several things: whether the case is for an individual, a couple or a business, the chapter that is being filed, and the complexity of the case. Fees can range from $499 and up. Most lawyers provide workable payment plans to make the fees easier to pay.
Do you need an attorney to declare bankruptcy?
The law does not require that you have an attorney to file a bankruptcy case (unless a company or LLC is filing bankruptcy). You can file a bankruptcy case on your own, which is called “pro se.” If you choose to file bankruptcy without an attorney, proceed with caution. Filing a bankruptcy case gives the court, the trustee, and even the creditors in a case certain rights that they do not have outside of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy law holds a lot of potential traps for those who file without knowledge of the law. If you have property you want to keep or special debts you want to get rid of so that those debts don’t cause problems in the future, it is usually wise to make the investment in hiring a good bankruptcy lawyer.
How much should you be in debt before filing bankruptcy?
There is no minimum amount of debt you must have in order to file bankruptcy. Sometimes, people with relatively small debt (even less than $5,000) can benefit from a bankruptcy, especially if their wages or bank accounts are being garnished. A wage garnishment would take 25% or more of your after tax income, and many people cannot afford to live on less than 75% of their income. In that case, stopping the garnishment is just as important as getting rid of the debt. Each situation is different. In each situation, bankruptcy should be weighed against all options to determine which provides the most benefit.