Bankruptcy And Getting Divorced In Georgia

Bankruptcy And Getting Divorced In Georgia

Many people are surprised to learn that divorce contributes to a significant percentage of bankruptcies nationwide. In many cases, a married couple makes enough money together to support one household. Once the spouses divorce and the marital debts are divided, there frequently is not enough money to support two.

If you are divorced and in need of debt relief assistance, it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorney who can help you understand your rights and options. At the law firm of Claeys, McElroy-Magruder & Kitchens, we provide sound advice to couples who are considering bankruptcy and getting divorced. In Augusta, Dublin and Statesboro, Georgia, and the surrounding areas, we help our clients navigate the most complex debt relief issues.

Dischargeable And Nondischargeable Debt After A Divorce

If you have already been through a divorce, the most important thing to understand is which debts can and cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy. If you have been ordered to pay child or spousal support, you cannot discharge these debts in a bankruptcy.

If you have been ordered to pay a marital debt such as a credit card in the divorce, it may be possible for the debt to be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It is important to note, however, that the creditor has the right to pursue collection action against your former spouse. If you are struggling to pay a debt that was ordered as part of a divorce settlement, we can review your divorce order and settlement agreement and work to identify the debt relief option that best accommodates your needs.

Filing Jointly Prior To Divorce

In many cases, it can be most beneficial for spouses to file a joint bankruptcy petition prior to the divorce. By doing so, we can help couples eliminate much of the marital debt that would otherwise be divided between the spouses as part of the property settlement. In addition, filing jointly rather than individually can save you money since there is only one filing fee instead of two.

Compassionate Individual Bankruptcy Attorneys With Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro

We have offices in Augusta, Dublin and Statesboro as well as a mobile office to serve you. Contact our law firm today to discuss your divorce-related bankruptcy questions with a lawyer. We are available during regular business hours and by appointment evenings and weekends.

Call One Of Our Three Convenient Georgia Offices

Contact Us for a free consultation

Augusta: 706-724-6000

Dublin: 478-275-8311

Statesboro: 912-764-7000

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Your Credit And Filing Bankruptcy In Georgia

Your Credit And Filing Bankruptcy In Georgia

One of the greatest lies that has been perpetrated on the American public is the idea that your credit will be forever ruined once you file for bankruptcy. This is completely untrue. While a bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for seven to 10 years, it does not mean that you will never be able to obtain credit again.

At the law firm of Claeys, McElroy-Magruder & Kitchens, we provide consumer bankruptcy and debt relief services to clients throughout the greater Augusta, Statesboro and Dublin areas. Our lawyers’ dedicated focus on bankruptcy law and complete understanding of the law allow us to give you honest and accurate answers to the questions that could be keeping you from financial freedom.

What Really Happens With Your Credit Following A Bankruptcy

Once you receive your discharge, all of the debts included in your bankruptcy are completely eliminated. This creates a much more attractive debt-to-income ratio for creditors. You could begin receiving offers for credit in as little as six months. Initially, the offers you receive may be for secured credit or have certain conditions attached to them. These can be very valuable tools for beginning the process of rebuilding your credit. In addition, the higher your credit score is when you file for bankruptcy, the higher it will be when you come out of bankruptcy.

Be mindful of which offers you accept and how much credit you take on. Look closely at the terms of each offer and choose the ones that provide the most benefit to you. Over time, your credit score will begin to recover, and you will eventually become eligible for traditional lending for home and auto loans.

Results-Oriented Debt Relief Attorneys With Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro

If you have questions about your credit and filing bankruptcy in Georgia, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer. We have offices in Augusta, Dublin and Statesboro as well as a mobile office to serve you. We are available during regular business hours and by appointment evenings and weekends.

Call One Of Our Three Convenient Georgia Offices

Contact Us for a free consultation

Augusta: 706-724-6000

Dublin: 478-275-8311

Statesboro: 912-764-7000

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Who Should Consider Bankruptcy?

Who Should Consider Bankruptcy?

Many people who are facing financial difficulty think that bankruptcy is only for people who are flat broke or have gotten themselves into some sort of trouble. This is a strong misconception about bankruptcy that keeps many of the people who could realize the greatest amount of benefit from even considering it as an option.

At the law firm of Claeys, McElroy-Magruder & Kitchens, our Augusta lawyers have helped people from all walks of life file for bankruptcy, including executives, lawyers, doctors, real estate agents, laborers, office workers and recent college graduates. In our experience, there is no single type of person who stands out as being a better candidate for bankruptcy than another. Who should consider bankruptcy? Anyone who is struggling financially.

How Do I Know If I Am A Good Candidate For Bankruptcy?

There can be a number of warning signs to indicate financial difficulty. You don’t have to wait until you start getting collection calls to seek relief through bankruptcy. If you are struggling to keep up with your monthly bills, and your income seems to cover little more than your monthly bills, it could be time to learn more about your debt relief options.

The following are some common signs that you may benefit from bankruptcy:

  • You rely on credit to bridge the gap between your income and expenses.
  • Your minimum monthly credit card payments don’t do anything to reduce the principal balance.
  • You have suffered a substantial loss in income or become unemployed.
  • You have received a large medical bill that is interfering with your ability to pay other bills.
  • Your creditors are threatening to sue you in order to collect the money you owe.
  • You are behind on your mortgage payments and may be facing foreclosure.
  • Your auto lender is threatening to repossess your car because of missed payments.

Discuss Your Bankruptcy Questions With One Of Our Attorneys

Contact us today for a free bankruptcy consultation with an experienced Georgia lawyer. We have offices in Augusta, Dublin and Statesboro as well as a mobile office to serve you. We are available during regular business hours and by appointment evenings and weekends.

Call One Of Our Three Convenient Georgia Offices

Contact Us for a free consultation

Augusta: 706-724-6000

Dublin: 478-275-8311

Statesboro: 912-764-7000

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

The Georgia Bankruptcy Means Test

The Georgia Bankruptcy Means Test

The Georgia bankruptcy means test is one of the primary criteria used to determine whether a person is eligible to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. The means test is essentially a comparison of your income level against other Georgia wage earners. People who are not eligible to file under Chapter 7 can still seek protection under Chapter 13.

The dedicated bankruptcy attorneys at the law firm of Claeys, McElroy-Magruder & Kitchens represent clients throughout the greater Augusta area in all aspects of consumer bankruptcy. We understand how difficult it can be to experience financial hardship and to have to take a “test” to see if you qualify for relief. We walk you through the entire process and see your case through to its conclusion.

Understanding How The Means Test Works

If your income level is higher than the average of other Georgia wage earners, you will need to take a means test. It starts with your monthly income and provides for deductions of all allowable expenses according to the bankruptcy code. A detailed formula then analyzes your income figures to determine your eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The process involved with the means test is very detailed. We understand all the deductions that are available and how to maximize them in an effort to give you the best chance of eligibility. If the test results show that you are not eligible for Chapter 7, we may be able to help you seek adjustments to the income figure if we can show special circumstances that impact your income or deductions.

Experienced Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers With Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro

Contact us today for a free bankruptcy means test consultation with a lawyer. We have offices in Augusta, Dublin and Statesboro as well as a mobile office to serve you. We are available during regular business hours and by appointment evenings and weekends.

Call One Of Our Three Convenient Georgia Offices

Contact Us for a free consultation

Augusta: 706-724-6000

Dublin: 478-275-8311

Statesboro: 912-764-7000

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Tax time often renews an interest in saving money and paying off debts

Tax time often renews an interest in saving money and paying off debts

As Americans wrap up last year’s paperwork to submit to their accountants or prepare their own tax returns, many regret financial decisions – or omissions – they made in 2014. Usually, people wish they had set aside more savings. However, many struggle to meet their monthly obligations and, with the sluggish economy and little hope for a quick recovery, setting aside money from each paycheck can seem impossible.

Make small changes

As difficult as it may seem, a few small changes can make a world of difference for your financial future. If you want to get your debt load under control, consider trying the following:

  • Pay for everything with cash, not credit: You are less likely to spend money you do not have.
  • Pay off credit cards: Concentrate on paying off one credit card at a time and remember that minimum monthly payments will not do the trick.
  • Increase savings: Set up an automatic savings plan from your paycheck. Even a few dollars a week can add up over time.

Start by making one change at a time so you are more likely to succeed. After a few months of achieving one goal, start another.

Avoid tempting pitfalls

If you find yourself in a financial bind, it is often easy to fall prey to a solution that might appear to be a quick fix but which can hurt you in the long run.

As employed individuals try to forestall financial difficulties, they may turn to their IRAs, 401(k) plans or other retirement savings accounts to help pay their bills during tight times. However, this is like taking money away from your future self; if you cannot cover your monthly bills while you are collecting a paycheck, think of how much more difficult it will be to pay those same bills once you are retired.

Borrowing money, whether from your retirement account, a bank or family member comes with costs. Not only are you betting on having more money in your future with which to repay the loans – not always a sure deal in these uncertain times – there is the added cost of interest payments.

If you refinance or take out an equity line secured by your home, you run the risk of owing more than your house is worth. Georgia has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation with an average of one in every 328 housing units receiving a notification of foreclosure.

Debt relief strategies

If you are overwhelmed by your financial obligations, there are a number of strategies for dealing with your overwhelming debt. For some people, filing bankruptcy is their smartest option. Through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, all non-secured debts may be erased and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can make it possible for you to keep your home.

If you have a heavy debt load and are not sure of the options available to you, consult with a debt relief lawyer who can advise you of various strategies to relieve you of your financial burdens.

Contact Us for a free consultation

Augusta: 706-724-6000

Dublin: 478-275-8311

Statesboro: 912-764-7000

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys With Offices In Augusta, Dublin and Statesboro

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys With Offices In Augusta, Dublin and Statesboro

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a good option for people who have large amounts of unsecured debt such as credit card debt or medical bills that they want to eliminate. Many people wrongly assume that they will lose everything they own after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is a long-standing myth about Chapter 7 that is completely untrue. The law was not written to leave you out on the street with nothing. It was written to give you a fresh start without the burden of unmanageable debt holding you back.

At the law firm of Claeys, McElroy-Magruder & Kitchens, our Augusta Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers are dedicated to helping people take back control of their finances. When you decide on Chapter 7, we will be there with you at every step from completing the means test to obtaining your final discharge. Our only concern is to see that you receive the debt relief you need and are entitled to by law.

What Property Do I Get To Keep In A Chapter 7?

In a Chapter 7, nonexempt property can be sold by the trustee to raise money to repay your creditors. Under the law, debtors are allowed to keep certain assets that are deemed necessary to live a normal, productive life. These assets are protected and cannot be taken and sold by the trustee at auction. The assets you get to keep in a Chapter 7 may include your home, your car, household furnishings, tools for your job, retirement accounts and others.

It is important to note that, in the majority of Chapter 7 cases, most people don’t lose anything. The trustee usually decides that there is nothing that would be worthwhile to sell at auction. This is frequently due to the fact that the debtor owes more on the asset than it is worth, or the asset is protected regardless of the value. In these cases the debtor gets to keep all of his or her property, and the bankruptcy moves directly to the discharge stage. These are frequently referred to as “no-asset” cases.

Respected Fresh Start Bankruptcy Lawyers With Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro

We will help you understand your bankruptcy exemptions and work with you to ensure that Chapter 7 is the best solution for your needs. Contact us today for a free bankruptcy consultation with an attorney. We have offices in Augusta, Dublin and Statesboro as well as a mobile office to serve you. We are available during regular business hours and by appointment evenings and weekends.

Call One Of Our Three Convenient Georgia Offices

Contact Us for a free consultation

Augusta: 706-724-6000

Dublin: 478-275-8311

Statesboro: 912-764-7000

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Attorneys Helping To Stop Debt Lawsuits. Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro.

Attorneys Helping To Stop Debt Lawsuits. Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro.

If you are behind on payments to any creditor, such as a credit card company, hospital or medical clinic, landlord or even a friend who loaned you some money, that creditor may have the right to take legal action against you to get the money you owe, or the creditor says you owe. If you have been served with a lawsuit by one of your creditors, it is important that you take immediate action to resolve it. If you don’t, it could lead to a number of negative consequences.

At the law firm of Claeys, McElroy-Magruder & Kitchens, our Augusta lawyers can stop any debt lawsuit you may be facing by filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition on your behalf. Under the law, once you have filed for bankruptcy, all collection activity must stop immediately. This includes lawsuits seeking to recover most, if not all, types of debt.

Do Not Wait To Speak To A Georgia Bankruptcy Attorney

Once you have been served with a lawsuit, you have 30 days to respond to it. If you fail to do so, your creditor can obtain a judgment against you for the amount you owe, or the creditor says you owe. Once the creditor has obtained a judgment, that creditor has the right to initiate wage garnishments, place liens on your property and take other actions to collect the debt.

Now is the time to seek the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. We will conduct a thorough review of your situation and recommend the solution we feel is the best fit for your needs. We will walk you through the entire process and explain how bankruptcy can help with your other debts in addition to relieving the pressure of any lawsuits you may be facing.

Dedicated Lawyers To Stop Wage Garnishment With Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro

Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation about your creditor lawsuit questions with a qualified Georgia attorney. We have offices in Augusta, Dublin and Statesboro as well as a mobile office to serve you. We are available during regular business hours and by appointment evenings and weekends.

Call One Of Our Three Convenient Georgia Offices

Contact Us for a free consultation

Augusta: 706-724-6000

Dublin: 478-275-8311

Statesboro: 912-764-7000

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Georgia Lawyers Working To Stop Repossession. Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro.

Georgia Lawyers Working To Stop Repossession. Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro.

For many people, having a vehicle is essential. Work obligations, family obligations and other responsibilities all involve the need for reliable transportation. When we are facing financial hardship, however, it can make keeping up with car payments extremely difficult. If you get too far behind on payments, your lender could order the repossession of your vehicle.

If you are behind on your car payments or you have been notified of your lender’s intent to repossess the vehicle, you should talk to a qualified Georgia bankruptcy lawyer as soon as possible. Know your rights before your lien-holder takes advantage of you. At the law firm of Claeys, McElroy-Magruder & Kitchens, our Augusta attorneys can stop repossession and help you keep your car through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

Understanding The Options For Keeping Your Car

With every client we serve, our only concern is to find the best debt relief solution for each person’s needs. We will work with you to gain a complete understanding of your financial situation, your concerns and your goals. We will explain your options, the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and what steps would need to be taken to resolve the debt issues involving your car.

Filing for bankruptcy under either chapter will put an immediate stop to the repossession action. Once a decision has been made regarding which chapter to file under, we will help you through the process at every step and work to ensure that you receive the full debt relief benefit available under the bankruptcy code.

Reliable Auto Repossession Attorneys With Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro

Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation about your options if you are facing vehicle repossession. We have offices in Augusta, Dublin and Statesboro as well as a mobile office to serve you. We are available during regular business hours and by appointment evenings and weekends.

Call One Of Our Three Convenient Georgia Offices

Contact Us for a free consultation

Augusta: 706-724-6000

Dublin: 478-275-8311

Statesboro: 912-764-7000

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Zombie foreclosures come back to threaten homeowners

Zombie foreclosures come back to threaten homeowners

Zombie foreclosures affect thousands of people across the country, and occur when a bank fails to follow through on a repossession.

Millions of people are still feeling financial stress years after the Great Recession. Numerous families in Georgia faced such challenges as unemployment, credit card or student loan debt, medical bills and even foreclosure.

For a large amount of these people, bankruptcy has provided an option for relief. According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, more than 71,000 non-business bankruptcy cases were filed in the state in 2011-one of the highest numbers in the country. While bankruptcy can help families start over, it is a signal that some are facing additional problems, such as

Many banks not following through with a foreclosure

There are few events more stressful or heartbreaking for a family than losing a home. However, due to such factors as insurmountable bills or even mortgage abuse, many homeowners have had no choice but to walk away from a beloved home, rather than fight to avoid a foreclosure.

Ordinarily, a bank would repossess a home to resell after the owners walked away. However, an increasing amount of banks are failing to follow through with foreclosure procedures after sending numerous repossession notices, says Reuters. Instead, they also choose to walk away if a property’s value is too low to put it back on the market, or if for any other reason it is not in a bank’s best interests to take over the mortgage. When this happens, a mortgage can come back to haunt a homeowner after he or she thinks the nightmare is over. This is known as a “zombie foreclosure.”

Problems zombie foreclosures cause for homeowners

A vacant home that is not taken over by the bank will deteriorate in time and become a blight on the neighborhood. In addition to lowering the neighbors’ property values, abandoned homes can attract squatters and animal scavengers, and become a public health nuisance. Also, homeowners can find numerous unpleasant surprises after they find out they still legally own the property, such as:

  • Bills for property taxes.
  • Homeowners’ association fees.
  • Cleanup and maintenance fees and fines.
  • County and city fees.

During this time, a homeowner will often find out that creditors are continuing to come after him or her for the unpaid mortgage amount.

Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun listening to consumer advocate complaints about the hardships people endure when faced with a foreclosure that won’t go away. The bureau has participated in task forces to try to find a solution to the problem.

Contacting an attorney

It’s good news that some agencies are beginning to realize the devastating impact that zombie foreclosures are having on thousands of families across the U.S., but it is uncertain how long it may be before effective measures are taken. If you are facing a foreclosure or other serious financial setbacks, it can help to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options.

Contact Us for a free consultation

Augusta: 706-724-6000

Dublin: 478-275-8311

Statesboro: 912-764-7000

Stop Creditor Harassment Lawyers With Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro

Stop Creditor Harassment Lawyers With Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro

One of the greatest benefits our clients report after filing for bankruptcy is the end of the harassing phone calls and letters. This is all thanks to a provision in the bankruptcy code called the automatic stay. According to the law, once a creditor has been notified of a bankruptcy filing, it is required to halt all collection activity, including phone calls, letters, garnishments, foreclosures, repossessions and lawsuits.

At the law firm of Claeys, McElroy-Magruder & Kitchens, we are dedicated to helping the people of Georgia find sound debt relief solutions that give them the fresh start they deserve. Our Augusta attorneys can stop creditor harassment through Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings.

How Long Before The Debt Collectors Quit Calling?

This is one of the questions we most frequently receive from our clients after filing their bankruptcy petitions. Unfortunately, there is no precise answer. Once your petition has been filed, a notice is sent out to all the creditors whose debts were included in your bankruptcy. Upon receipt of that notice, the creditor is required to stop collections. This process typically takes around two weeks. If you receive calls in the days immediately after your filing, you can give the creditor your bankruptcy case number, and it will have the same effect as the written notice.

If creditors continue to call even after being notified, you need to let our office know. We will explain to them that we are handling your bankruptcy and that any questions regarding the debt they are attempting to collect should be directed to us. If they continue to harass you, we will pursue every available option in an effort to ensure compliance with the automatic stay.

The Right Attorneys To Stop Creditor Calls — Offices In Augusta, Dublin And Statesboro

Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation about your creditor harassment concerns with a respected Georgia lawyer. We have offices in Augusta, Dublin and Statesboro as well as a mobile office to serve you. We are available during regular business hours and by appointment evenings and weekends.

Call One Of Our Three Convenient Georgia Offices

Contact Us for a free consultation

Augusta: 706-724-6000

Dublin: 478-275-8311

Statesboro: 912-764-7000

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.