What is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Before filing bankruptcy, you need to understand your options. In Augusta, bankruptcy is usually filed by individual consumers. If you have personal debt from car purchases, credit cards, medical bills, cash loans, or a number of other types of debt, you might be able to eliminate a portion, or even ALL of your debt, if you file bankruptcy.
In Augusta, bankruptcy for individuals falls under 2 chapters: Chapter 13 bankruptcy and Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Here, we will discuss only Chapter 13 bankruptcies. A summary of this article can be found here. If you want to learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, click here.
Chapter 13 Basics
Entire books have been written about Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but unless you plan on filing bankruptcy yourself, you will be fine just knowing the basics.
Who can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Augusta?
Individuals or married couples who have a source of income and are overwhelmed by their debt.
It’s that simple.
How does it work?
In the Southern District, the process of filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can either be very easy or extremely difficult. If you want to take the easy route, you need to meet with an Augusta bankruptcy lawyer to learn about your options. If you qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your bankruptcy attorney will put you in a payment plan that you can handle in order to pay off a portion of your debt. The amount you pay back is determined by 3 things:
1) Disposable income
3) Previous bankruptcy filings
In short, if you do not have a lot of disposable income, equity in property, or previous bankruptcy filings in which you received a discharge within the last 8 years, you will only have to pay back a small percentage of what you owe to your creditors. So, for instance, take the following situation:
Debtor owes $45,000 in credit card debt, medical bills, and cash loans
If he qualifies for a 1% plan, he will only have to pay back $450, over a period of either 3 or 5 years.
3 years = $12.50 dollars/month to the creditors
5 years = $7.50 dollars/month to the creditors
So what happens with the other $44,450?
It is discharged. In other words, the Debtor will legally eliminate his/her obligation to pay the rest of the debt. While this may seem too good to be true, Augusta bankruptcy is designed for the very purpose of helping individuals and their families get back on track and start over financially.
So, how do you determine if you should file or not?
In Augusta, bankruptcy is best filed through an experienced law firm, like Seymour & Associates. Not only will we help you determine if you should file bankruptcy or not, but we will give you valuable insight to your financial situation from a legal perspective. However, you filing bankruptcy yourself is also an option, if you don’t mind dedicating a few weeks to learning about the relatively complex Augusta bankruptcy laws.
There are many advantages to choosing to file bankruptcy through an Augusta bankruptcy lawyer.
1) You do not need to do any paperwork yourself. The petition, alone, is usually over 60 pages long. If you add the supporting documents that the court will require you to file, you will need to prepare at least 80-100 documents yourself in order to file bankruptcy in Augusta. Fortunately, attorneys will do this for you.
2) You do not have to represent yourself in court. In Augusta, bankruptcy usually requires 2 mandatory hearings for a Chapter 13. If you cannot present your case well to the Trustee or the Judge, then your case will likely be dismissed. However, you are almost guaranteed to have your case approved if you hire and experienced law firm like Seymour & Associates.
3) In most cases, you will not have to pay any money up front if you file with Seymour & Associates. This is an extreme advantage for people who are struggling to pay their bills as it is. The attorney fees will be built into your Chapter 13 plan payment and a small percentage of your Augusta bankruptcy will be devoted to the cost of representation.
After meeting with Seymour & Associates for a free consultation, you can decide which option is best for you. If you decide to file bankruptcy by yourself, you will need to do some studying. Learning about Federal bankruptcy law is a good starting place, but in order to protect your assets in your own case, you will also need to research the local Augusta bankruptcy rules and regulations. So, before you decide any of this, call Seymour & Associates for a free consultation so you can at least learn about your options and the available legal remedies before you make a big decision.
So, how do Augusta bankruptcy laws effect me?
If you file bankruptcy in Augusta, your income will be compared to the median income for a household of your size in whatever county you reside in. So, how your income will effect your bankruptcy case is different depending on what county you live in. Ultimately, your average monthly income will be annualized, then compared, to the median income to similarly sized families in your county.
The counties that comprise the Southern District of Georgia can be found here. Seymour & Associates is experienced in helping people in Richmond, Columbia, Burke, Glascock, Jefferson, McDuffie, Wilkes, Lincoln, and Taliaferro counties, overcome their financial hardships.
Call us today. (706)868-1968.