Bankruptcy, Simplified

Knowledge is a powerful tool. It is the means through which you gain the confidence to achieve financial security.

What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process for dealing with personal or business debts, and the creditorscreditor: One to whom the debtor owes money or who claims to be owed money by the debtor. to whom those debts are owed. It begins in Federal Court with the filing of a petitionpetition: A formal written request to a court for an order of the court. It is distinguished from a complaint in a lawsuit which asks for damages and/or performance by the opposing party. disclosing the assetsassets: Anything, in any form, that a debtor owns. This includes tangible assets such as real estate, cars, and jewelry, as well as intangible assets, such as business goodwill, the right to sue someone, stock options, or future interests in a will. and liabilities of an individual or a company. At the conclusion of the case, some or all of the debts involved will be discharged or canceled. Bankruptcy laws give you significant protection from creditors, but also attempt to strike a balance between your right to a discharge and creditors’ right to be repaid.

The terms Chapter 7, Chapter 7: The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for liquidation, i.e., the sale of a debtor’s nonexempt property and the distribution of the proceeds to creditors.Chapter 11, Chapter 11: The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for reorganization of debt, involving individuals and businesses. A Chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to protect assets and discharge debt or pay creditors over time. and Chapter 13Chapter 13: The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for adjustment of debts of an individual with regular income. Chapter 13 allows a debtor to keep property and pay debts over time, usually three or five years. , refer to specific sections of the United States Code dealing with bankruptcy. Chapter 7 often is called straight bankruptcy or liquidationliquidation: Selling personal assets or those of a business, paying bills and dividing the remainder among creditors, shareholders, partners, other investors.. Chapter 13 is referred to as a debt consolidation and repayment plandebt consolidation and repayment plan: In Chapter 13 debt consolidation, you are in control of your financial situation. You propose your own repayment plan based on what you can afford and within the guidelines set down in the law. As long as the plan of repayment that you propose is in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code, your creditors have no choice and must accept the repayment terms that you have proposed. Under a credit counseling agency debt consolidation plan, the creditors set the terms of repayment.. Chapter 11 refers to reorganization of debts, usually by a partnership or corporation. Chapter 12 is devoted to family farmers and is not covered on this site.

Is Roderick H. Martin & Associates the right firm for me?

Our clients are not looking for the least expensive lawyer. They are looking for an experienced team to help them with the details of their unique case. Most of our clients never imagined they would be in a position requiring our help.

Our clients require our expertise because they:

  • Have above average income
  • Are professionals
  • Have complicated cases
  • Have a business
  • Are elderly persons who have assets or other special issues

Why should I hire your firm instead of a high-volume firm?

High-volume bankruptcy bankruptcy: A legal procedure for dealing with debt problems of individuals and businesses; specifically, a case filed under one of the Chapters of Title 11 of the United States Code (the Bankruptcy Code). firms may do a competent job in simple cases. But often when you retain such a firm, you may work with a legal assistant, paralegal, or an inexperienced lawyer. Roderick H. Martin & Associates understands that no two cases are the same. Your individual situation needs to be addressed by an experienced attorney who will create a specific solution for you. Rod Martin has over 20 years’ experience in Georgia bankruptcy courts and handles bankruptcy matters exclusively. He will manage your legal matter personally and lead you through the process.

I heard about your firm from a letter I received in the mail. How did you get my name and address?

You received a letter from us because a lawsuit or garnishment garnishment: The process of petitioning for and getting a court order directing a person or entity (garnishee) to hold funds they owe to someone who allegedly is in debt to another person, often after a judgment has been rendered. For example, a garnishment of wages for delinquent child support.was filed against you in county court. Like many lawyers, we subscribe to a service that reviews these public records and provides us with your information so we may send you a letter to introduce ourselves, offer a free consultation and other information that may help you with your situation.

I have been told I must attempt a debt repayment plan with a credit counselor before I can file my case. Is this correct?

Current law states that you must take a short class from an approved credit counseling service credit counseling service: A service that employs credit counselors who will look at your financial situation and help develop repayment options. They typically negotiate with your credit card company to lower interest rates and may charge a fee for their services. Also known as a debt consolidation agency. before filing for bankruptcybankruptcy: A legal procedure for dealing with debt problems of individuals and businesses; specifically, a case filed under one of the Chapters of Title 11 of the United States Code (the Bankruptcy Code). . Treat the counseling like the defensive driving course you take if you get a traffic ticket. It is virtually impossible to fail the course. This may be done online, by telephone or, in rare cases, in person. We refer to this as your ticket in. You will not be required to enter into a repayment plan and you should not attempt a debt repayment plan without appropriate guidance.

After the short class, you may file your bankruptcy case normally. You may select your own approved counselor. If you contact our office we’ll arrange for you to use an approved agency. However, understand that your credit counselor probably attended a short training course. Roderick H. Martin has over 25 years of experience in hundreds of cases and will be able to give you better advice than the counselor.

Will I lose my property if I file under Chapter 7 or 13?

This can be one of the most critical assessments to be made in determining the filing of Chapter 7 Chapter 7: The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for liquidation, i.e., the sale of a debtor’s nonexempt property and the distribution of the proceeds to creditors. or Chapter 13Chapter 13: The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for adjustment of debts of an individual with regular income. Chapter 13 allows a debtor to keep property and pay debts over time, usually three or five years..

A single mistake could cause you to lose valuable property. Only by making a detailed analysis of your assets and liabilities can we make that determination. This is where 25 years of experience can make a difference.

I have heard banks and credit card companies have lost a lot of money due to foreclosures and bankruptcy filings. I feel obligated to pay my creditors.

Credit card companies—and countless banks—received billions of dollars in public funds (your tax dollars) to ease their burden when they faced financial problems in 2009. It was just good business. You should view your situation the same way. Credit card companies know and expect that people will do anything to avoid filing for bankruptcybankruptcy: A legal procedure for dealing with debt problems of individuals and businesses; specifically, a case filed under one of the Chapters of Title 11 of the United States Code (the Bankruptcy Code). , including borrowing from relatives, putting second mortgages on their houses, or borrowing from retirement. Often they encourage you to do something that is not in your best interest because they profit from your misfortune. This is the time to put your own interests, and that of your family, ahead of the banks’ finances.

Is there is a minimum amount of debt required to file bankruptcy?

Can I charge up credit cards just before filing bankruptcy?

Debt acquired after you realize you cannot repay them may have to be paid back; even if you subsequently file for bankruptcy relief.

Must my spouse file bankruptcy with me?

Many married debtorsdebtor: A person who has filed a petition for relief under the Bankruptcy Code. file alone and the spouse is not affected. Unless both names are on the debt, a single filing may be possible.

What are the religious views on filing bankruptcy?

The Old Testament at Deuteronomy 15 provides for the release of all debts every 7 years. For a religious opinion on this issue, see the following article: Is Bankruptcy Scriptural?

When will my creditors stop calling me?

What is a discharge, and which debts are discharged?

Which debts generally are not dischargeable?

As a general rule, taxes, student loans, alimony and child support debts, and debts incurred through fraud or theft are not dischargabledischarge: A release of a debtor from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts set forth in the Bankruptcy Code. A discharge releases a debtor from personal liability for certain debts known as dischargeable debts and prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any action against the debtor to collect the debts. The discharge also prohibits creditors from communicating with the debtor regarding the debt, including telephone calls, letters, and personal contact.. Damages resulting from alcohol- or drug-related automobile accidents may not be dischargeable. There are exceptions to these general rules, and there are additional categories of non-dischargeable debts as well. For example, credit card purchases of luxury goods or services, or cash advances from credit cards made prior to filing may not be dischargeable. Additionally, debts securedsecured debt: Debt backed by a mortgage, pledge of collateral, or other lien; debt for which the creditor has the right to pursue specific pledged property upon default. Examples include home mortgages, auto loans and tax liens. by collateral or by liens on your property may not be dischargeable unless that property is surrendered to the creditor or the lien is stripped or avoided.

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