When you are being hounded by debt collectors it can be tempting to just stop paying what you owe altogether. It may seem like a good strategy at the time but once you realize creditors are not going to give up, the situation could reach the stage where you are receiving judgments against you.
What is a Judgment Filed Against You?
A judgment filed against you is a final order by the court, compelling you to pay your debts. However, the judgment can take a number of forms including garnishing your wages, putting a lien on your home, or repossessing your property.
The judgment is designed to ensure the creditor receives regular, partial, or full payment. If you are already struggling to pay your debts, the judgment filed against you will likely result in financial hardship. You do have options to fight a judgment filed against you in certain circumstances; including filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy may work for you if you have dischargeable debts. Dischargeable debts include credit card debts and medical bills, and many other debts, but there are exclusions. Other benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the discharge of debt may occur in a short period of time, usually four to six months, there is no repayment plan, and an automatic stay on pursuing debts is issued to creditors for a period of time. However, certain debts cannot be discharged, such as student loans and child support payments. Other types of debts may not be discharged. You should consult with an attorney to determine which of your debts are non-dischargeable and what options you may have concerning your debts. In many cases, a judgement lien can be avoided and discharged, meaning it is no longer a lien on your property and the creditor cannot take collection action against you.
In order to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must meet a means test. Debtors with earnings that exceed the median income for a family of the same size in Georgia may not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Each case is unique and your individual circumstances are considered.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed for people who wish to restructure their finances while paying some or all of their debts. An automatic stay on further collection of debts is issued by the bankruptcy court once the case is filed, in most cases. You will enter into an agreement with the court and creditors, which involves proposing a repayment plan that is administered by a court appointed trustee. Judgement liens may be avoided as part of the plan.
Chapter 13 bankruptcies typically last between 3-5 years, in which time you must keep up with repayments. Also known as a “wage earner’s plan,” a Chapter 13 is for debtors who have a regular income that would allow them to make payments each month.
Bankruptcy Lawyer in Georgia
If you need advice from a reputable bankruptcy lawyer in Georgia, H. Lehman Franklin P.C. provides excellence in guidance and representation. As a firm of legal experts with collective experience of over 30 years, we understand the processes involved in filing for bankruptcy. If you have further questions about managing your debt with bankruptcy, give our offices a call today.
Reach out to H. Lehman Franklin P.C. on 912-764-9616 or via email at email@example.com. We are your local legal advisor in Georgia for debt management, Chapter 7, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.