If I Recently Moved to Atlanta, can I File Bankruptcy in Georgia?

If you recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia and wish to file bankruptcy, there are residency requirements you should keep in mind as you decide whether to file for bankruptcy in the state of Georgia:

  1. For a person to file bankruptcy in Georgia, s/he must have lived in Georgia for six months before filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Georgia. The residency provision was added to stop people from purposefully moving to states that have the most “consumer friendly” laws, just for purposes of filing bankruptcy. However, Georgia’s bankruptcy exemption laws are not the most protective and are mostly less than the federal exemptions.

  2. Debtors who have resided in Georgia for less than 2 years but for 6 months or more can file bankruptcy in Georgia but must use the exemptions for the state in which they resided prior to living in Georgia or the federal bankruptcy exemptions.

How Do These Rules Affect Your Bankruptcy Case?

If you recently moved to Georgia and qualify to file bankruptcy in Georgia, you will probably have to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions to protect your property. Generally, the federal bankruptcy exemptions are more protective than the Georgia bankruptcy exemptions, so if you have any equity in property such as cars or homes, you may be better off using non-Georgia exemptions. However, if you moved to Georgia from a state that has exemptions that are not as protective as Georgia exemptions and you need to use the more debtor friendly exemptions, then you may want to wait until you satisfy the residency requirements for using Georgia exemptions to file a Chapter 7 or you may want to file a Chapter 13.

Of course, whether you should file bankruptcy in Georgia depends on your specific circumstances and you should consult a Georgia bankruptcy lawyer to help you. If you are considering filing bankruptcy and would like to speak to an attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, please contact the Law Offices of Charles Clapp at 404.585.0040 for a free initial consultation.