Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney: Chapter 7
A Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy where a debtor's
• Unsecured debt (with exceptions) is erased
• Allowed out of contracts
• Can be held not liable for secured debt in the future that was released in the bankruptcy
• Can lose any property that is not exempt or exempt property not listed in the bankruptcy.
• The principle of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that the Debtor is allowed to keep a small amount of exempted property to start over with and his creditors keep the rest of the property. The Debtor hands over all other assets including any excess funds in :
• a checking account,
• tax refund,
• inheritances etc.
and is no longer held responsible for his debts, at least in part. It is rare that any real assets are ever unwillingly handed over in a Chapter 7 if it is properly planned. Most people do not have any assets to hand over after they are allowed to keep their exempted property. Normally, all the property that the Debtor has is mortgaged or has liens on it or it is exempted.
NOTE: Just because you think you will lose property due to the exemptions below DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL LOSE IT. There are many strategies we can employ to save your property! The vast majority of people filing lose NOTHING!
Your "equity" is that part of the property that you own. To figure out how much equity you have, deduct what you owe on the property from what it is worth: The part of the house, car, or property that you own is called your personal equity (or the Debtor's equity) in the property. The part of the house, car, or property that the bank owns is called the Bank's or Creditor's equity. In a Chapter 7, your property or your equity must be less than or equal to the exemptions in order to keep that property. If this is going to be a problem, the Attorney preparing your bankruptcy should advise you that you have too much equity and tell you to consider a Chapter 13. This is rarely a problem.
Positive Aspects of Chapter 7:
Immediately upon filing your petition with the Court, an automatic stay is invoked and Creditors must stop their collection actions against you. This means they cannot call or write you, or repossess or foreclose on your property. In addition, the automatic stay will stop a lawsuit if one has been filed against you.
It will also reinstate your drivers license if you have lost it due to involvement in an accident with too little or no insurance. This immediate action by the Court relieves the pressure on you and your family.
With some exceptions, such as child support, most of your debts are wiped out. If you properly file a Chapter 7, you will no longer have to repay your debts and your debts will be "discharged". A discharge in bankruptcy means that you no longer personally owe the debts. However, property that you have given as security may be repossessed if you don't pay for it or co-signers may be required to pay the debt. Nearly 100% percent of all Chapter 7 bankruptcies are granted. Your goal in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy should be to "exempt" all of your assets so that you can keep all of your property and still wipe out all of your debts. However the trustee will attempt to grab any assets you fail to properly "exempt".
The Chapter 7 process is quick, and it is the cheapest bankruptcy. It also offers you almost all the benefits of bankruptcy. It usually only takes about 120 days. It is often the best way to deal with a predatory mortgage where you owe 125% of the value of a home or you have a high interest rate.
It allows you to repair a poor credit rating and purchase houses and cars shortly after filing. Repairing your credit is done by making prompt payments on accounts after you file. If you had bad credit before you filed a bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 is a chance to repair your credit. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be reported for 10 years, but your present bad credit will be reported for 7 years after the last collection action (which can make it last far longer than 10 years). Most people who file bankruptcy already have damaged credit, so a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is unlikely to harm it very much further.
Make contractual payments promptly and reaffirm the debt with the same or different terms and possibly make up missed payments (the Creditor may not wish to reaffirm the debt if the contract is in default)
Continue making payments with same terms but without liability.
Redeem the property by paying its value in a lump sum
Give up the asset to satisfy the debt.
Negative Aspects of Chapter 7:
• Filing Chapter 7 will damage your credit rating if you had good credit before you filed.
• Chapter 7 does not discharge all debts. Some debts, such as child support, are non-dischargeable. It also does not discharge as many types of debts as a Chapter 13.
• The rights of secured Creditors may not be modified in a Chapter 7. These rights may be modified in a Chapter 13. An exception is that judicial liens and liens on household goods may be destroyed in a Chapter 7 and avoided if you tell your Attorney about them.
• In a Chapter 7, your only options when you want to keep an asset that is collateral for a debt are to either make timely payments, redeem, reaffirm, or surrender.
• A Chapter 7 does not protect co-signers and only protects joint property belonging to the Debtor while the Chapter 7 stay is in effect.
• If your income is too high, you may not qualify for a Chapter 7
• You may only get one Chapter 7 discharge every 8 years. This time period runs from the date of filing (when the first case started) to the date of the new filing. Many people say you can file bankruptcy only once every 7 years, but they are technically wrong. You may file more than one bankruptcy in 8 years, but you can only get one Chapter 7 discharge every 8 years.
Consultations are always free at Saedi Law Group. Call us TODAY at 404-889-8663 or set up an appointment online at www.timecenter.com/atlantabankruptcy. Set up a time to review your current financial picture with an experienced attorney to find out what options are available to you.
Contact an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney at Saedi Law Group, LLC if you have have any questions about your case!
|FREE Case Evaluation|