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Bankruptcy Attorneys Augusta, Ga

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Claeys, McElroy-Magruder & Kitchens Bankruptcy Firm Augusta GA

Bankruptcy is a very serious personal financial decision that should not be done without a full evaluation before beginning the process. Some individuals file bankruptcy out of necessity due to external pressure from creditors, but others do not necessarily let the situation get to that point. Whatever your position the Augusta bankruptcy attorneys at Claeys, McElroy-Magruder & Kitchens can help.

Bankruptcy Protects You

Several factors should be considered before making the final decision to file a bankruptcy petition. Many individuals do not realize protection is what bankruptcy is actually about, as it protects real estate and vehicles in some filings. Many times this preparation period includes discussing your personal financial situation first with an experienced legal counselor like the bankruptcy attorneys in Augusta GA at CMMK Law.

Means Test

The first component of a potential bankruptcy petition is the means test that determines eligibility of  the applicant for a particular chapter. While some applicants can qualify for a Chapter 7 filing, many will be required to file a Chapter 13 petition based on assets and income along with level of debt. Both chapters can be very effective methods of resetting a household budget, but a Chapter 7 filing could leave some clear personal assets exposed to forced sale by court order with funds being used to pay outstanding creditors. The final outcome of a bankruptcy petition is crucial to the decision to file, and having experienced legal counsel assisting in the evaluation process is always the best first step. Means test rules and regulations can be complicated in Georgia, such as in married couple bankruptcies. Even if only one spouse is filing, both spouses are evaluated for income when the total household income is applied. Those who are below the median income for Georgia are eligible to file for Chapter 7 while those who are above must file a Chapter 13 repayment plan. In addition, the income evaluation period is the previous six months from the date of the filing with that number being doubled to determine annual income.

Exemptions

Individuals or couples who work for an employer will typically be evaluated on their annual incomes based on tax records and paystubs. While the size of the family is not necessarily part of the exemptions list, the number of dependents a couple has can make a major difference in the evaluation of their income level in the means test when wanting a Chapter 7 filing. There are also specific rules that apply to filers who own a sole-proprietor business as well, with one of those being that a Chapter 7 discharge could also be allowed if the business debt exceeds the personal debt by any amount. Those who do operate a personal business will have their income evaluated based on:

  • Business income
  • Rental income
  • Investment interest and dividends
  • Financial contribution from others
  • Unemployment income

Of course, the type of business being operated can have a major impact in how the final financial statement will turn out, but experienced bankruptcy attorneys in the CSRA can conduct a thorough evaluation of your income before beginning the filing process. It is vital to have all of your figures accurate and in place when the petition is filed, and your bankruptcy attorneys from Augusta GA at CMMK can make sure all pertinent information is included and verifiable for individual business managers who need to file for legal financial protection, which is what bankruptcy ultimately provides.

Augusta GA Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petitioners

All exposed assets could be directed for sale when a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is allowed. While it is possible to rearrange debt responsibilities with some creditors before filing, it is also important to understand that anything that cannot be protected in a restructuring agreement to make certain debts current are subject to confiscation. In return, many unsecured debts for both individual and business accounts can be discharged at the end of the bankruptcy (approximately 6 months from the date of filing in most cases). Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney from CMMK Law Firm can ensure you know what to expect from the final outcome of the petition and help prepare beforehand regarding any asset that can be protected.

Augusta GA Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petitioners

Those who cannot qualify for a Chapter 7 unsecured debt discharge based on income level will be allowed to file a Chapter 13 petition. This filing will include a repayment plan that brings all debts current at the end of the bankruptcy period. The biggest advantage of a Chapter 13 is that it can stop a home foreclosure or a vehicle repossession in its tracks upon filing. The question in a Chapter 13 filing is acceptance from the creditors regarding the repayment schedule. Creditors can contest the plan when they can make reasonable arguments against the terms, which your Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney will be prepared to rebut when arguments are presented to the court.

While it is possible to file a bankruptcy petition without the help of an experienced Chapter 13 or a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, it is never advised because of the potential complications that will likely result in a denied filing. The typical filer always has too much to lose and little to gain by not having professional assistance from Augusta GA bankruptcy attorneys serving the CSRA like the legal representatives at Claeys, McElroy-Magruder & Kitchens Law Firm. Never file bankruptcy alone.


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