Bankruptcy in Georgia is a legal procedure through which some of the debts of an individual or a business are discharged (excused). You should not view bankruptcy as an opportunity to eliminate your debts just because you don't feel like paying them - it can be a long and difficult process. Bankruptcy is designed to be a last resort to prevent complete financial ruin, while allowing creditors to collect at least some of their debts in an orderly fashion. Filing for bankruptcy can have major negative effects on one's credit score, which will make it more difficult to get loans in the future.
Accordingly, if you are considering bankruptcy as an option, you need to thoroughly examine the costs and benefits. A good Georgia bankruptcy attorney can advise you as to the pros and cons of bankruptcy, and give his or her expert opinion about whether or not bankruptcy is a good option, based on the facts of your particular case.
Types of Bankruptcy in Georgia
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in Georgia will be the same as anywhere else in the United States. There are 2 basic types of bankruptcy that consumers typically use: Chapter 7, and Chapter 13, owing their names to where they are found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Additionally, there is a form of bankruptcy usually used by businesses called Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is available to individuals, but it is rarely the best option for them.
In Georgia, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as "liquidation." When a person files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is appointed by the bankruptcy court to do an accounting of the debtor's property. The trustee then decides what pieces of property, if any, should be sold off to pay off the debts. Many types of property are exempt from forced sale up to a certain dollar amount, including houses, cars, and retirement accounts. Once the property is sold, any remaining dischargeable debt is eliminated. Chapter 13 bankruptcy usually reorganizes, rather than discharges, one's debts. Basically, the court will come up with some type of repayment plan, independent of the terms of the agreements that created the debt in the first place (superseding any acceleration clauses). This is meant to give the debtor some breathing room, allowing them to repay their debts over time, without facing financial ruin in the process.
Usually, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is used by businesses as opposed to individuals. Much like Chapter 13, Chapter 11 involves the reorganization, as opposed to discharge, of a debtor's obligations. However, it is up the to the debtor to come up with a repayment plan, and once this happens, the plan is submitted to the participating creditors, who must approve it by majority vote.
How Can a Georgia Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Filing for bankruptcy is a very big decision, frought with risks. However, in some cases, the benefits might outweigh the costs. Because of this, it is important to seek the advice of a Georgia bankruptcy attorney, who can advise you of the likely consequences of filing, and whether or not doing so is likely to benefit you.
Interesting Facts About Georgia
Georgia is the last of the 13 original colonies and the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. A prominent southern state, Georgia is known for its culture of "southern hospitality". Georgia has nearly 160 counties, the second most for any state in the U.S. It is has of the fastest-growing economies and the 9th largest population in America.
Georgia is nicknamed "The Peach State". It is sometimes referred to as "The Empire State of the South", in reference to its role as an important hub for commerce and trade. Georgia's zoning laws are very unique among states, as any incorporated town or community is granted the legal status of a city. Cities and counties are granted "home rule" power, which means that they can pass legislation as any traditional municipality would.
Georgia's highest court of law is the Supreme Court of Georgia. Below the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals levels, the court system of Georgia is quite complex. There are Superior Courts, State Courts, Magistrate Courts, Municipal Courts, and many others. Each of these hears different types of legal claims. Georgia has contributed much case law in the area of capital punishment and death penalty laws, some examples being Furman v. Georgia (1972) and Coker v. Georgia (1977).
Lawyers in Georgia can provide guidance in dealing with the state's complicated web of courts. Georgia laws can also be complicated, but a Georgia lawyer can provide advice and representation in court when necessary. Georgia attorneys are often members of various civic organizations and bar associations.