What Can Filing Bankruptcy Do to Help You?
1. Bankruptcy stops all creditor actions immediately. When you file bankruptcy, it triggers the issuance of a bankruptcy "stay," which is a court order that prevents creditors from taking actions against the debtor and any of the debtor's property. All creditors are immediately prohibited from:
- calling you;
- suing you
- foreclosing on your home;
- garnishing your wages;
- repossessing your car; and,
- getting a judgment against you.
Thus, if you are facing foreclosure, garnishment, or repossession, bankruptcy gives you some breathing room to come up with a plan to straighten out your finances.
2. Bankruptcy allows you to keep your home and car. Bankruptcy gives you options for catching up on delinquent home and car payments or gives you time to decide if you do not want to keep the property. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case allows you to submit a plan to the court to repay your mortgage or car arrears in lower monthly payments until you catch up. Even if you file a Chapter 7, you may be able to work with your mortgage company directly to modify your loan and keep your home.
3. Bankruptcy wipes out debt that you cannot repay. At the end of a successful bankruptcy case, the court issues an order that states your debts (subject to exceptions) are discharged or wiped out. You do not have to repay those debts after you receive the discharge order, and creditors are prohibited by law from collecting on those debts. Dischargeable debts include almost everything, with the exception of taxes and student loans; sometimes, even taxes can be wiped out in bankruptcy, depending on the situation.
4. Bankruptcy lowers principal balances and interest rates. Under some circumstances, bankruptcy allows you to repay secured creditors the fair market value of the property that secured the loan. For example, if you purchased a car more than 910 days before your bankruptcy case, you can file a Chapter 13 plan to repay the fair market value of the car, even if the balance of the loan is higher. You can also lower the interest rate under the same scenario.
5. Bankruptcy can get rid of liens. Bankruptcy may allow you to wipe out second mortgage liens where there are two mortgages and the house is worth so little that if it were sold, the second mortgage company would not be paid out of the sale proceeds. In Georgia, you can wipe out second mortgage liens in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. Bankruptcy also allows you to avoid judgment liens, which are liens that are filed as a result of a creditor's judgment against you.
Types of Bankruptcy
There are generally two types of bankruptcy available to consumers, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is commonly referred to as a “straight bankruptcy” because it is a liquidation bankruptcy that does not require any type of consolidation of your debts. Chapter 13 is a bankruptcy that allows you to restructure and consolidate your debts into a monthly payment that is based on your disposable income. Creditors are prohibited from collecting against you in either type of bankruptcy. Further, you can keep your house and your car in either type of bankruptcy. Our Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys can help you determine which type of bankruptcy is the best type of bankruptcy for you based on your individual financial circumstances. Please call The Law Offices of Betty Nguyen Davis at (404) 593-2620 or contact us on the web for a free consultation with an attorney in Atlanta, Georgia.
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