Augusta GA Bankruptcy Lawyer
Georgia bankruptcy attorney Matthew James Duncan serves the Augusta area including Evans, Richmond County, Columbia County and the CSRA.
Bankruptcy Lawyer serving the Augusta GA area
Attorney Matthew James Duncan handles Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases in the Augusta Georgia Evans area.
At Matthew James Duncan, Attorney at Law, P.C., we understand the stress of overwhelming debt and the apprehension many feel about the prospect of filing for bankruptcy. In this time of rebuilding, we can help make sure that you get the relief you deserve. Bankruptcy is not the end. It is the beginning of a new and better life! CALL TODAY to schedule your FREE CONSULTATION
Matthew James Duncan
Matthew James Duncan practices exclusively consumer bankruptcy law in Augusta, Georgia. Mr. Duncan is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the Augusta Bar Association, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Georgia.
Is Bankruptcy Right for You?
To learn whether filing bankruptcy is your best option, please read the information on our web site and call for an appointment with an experienced Augusta Georgia – Evans GA Bankruptcy lawyer. Attorney Matthew James Duncan can guide you through the process.
Our debt relief law firm handles cases in the following Georgia locations:
Lincolnton Lincoln County
North Augusta SC
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 cases are also called Liquidation cases. In these cases, the debts are discharged in an orderly fashion by a court-appointed trustee, who takes over and sells the debtor’s assets and pays creditors from the proceeds of the sale. In many Chapter 7 cases, there are no assets to sell. In so-called No Asset cases, the bankruptcy may be discharged in just a few months. Chapter 7 is most commonly used by individuals who have few if any assets of value. There are income thresholds to be eligible for Chapter 7 and some individuals may make too much money to declare Chapter 7.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 cases are also called Adjustment of Debts cases and are designed for individuals with a verifiable source of income. In Chapter 13 cases, a payment plan is worked out to pay the debts over a period of time, often between three and five years. Chapter 13 cases are different from Chapter 7 cases because the debtor keeps some or all of his or her assets and because creditors are repaid in part of in full by the time of discharge.
Pre-Bankruptcy: Frequently Asked Questions for anyone considering filing.
I’m afraid I’ll never pay off all these bills. Can bankruptcy help me?
In many cases, yes. Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 can give you the opportunity to clean the slate and start over. There are downsides to it, but for many people who feel they are simply unable to pay all of their debts, bankruptcy can provide immediate relief, and also a long-term strategy to revive their financial health. It is a way for an honest debtor who made a mistake, or who suffered an unforeseen setback like the loss of a job, to clear his or her debts legally.
Don’t only deadbeats file?
No. This is a common misconception. Most of the people who file for bankruptcy have suffered some sort of unforeseen financial set-back, like the loss of a job or a major medical crisis. Often they struggle for months or even years trying to pay their bills before asking a bankruptcy court for relief. While bankruptcy is not appropriate for everyone, it can provide relief if you can’t find a way to pay your bills and find yourself getting deeper in debt. An experienced attorney can help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you.
Is it hard to file?
No, thousands of people do it every year. But you will want to consider alternatives before declaring bankruptcy.
Can I file for if I’ve done it before?
Yes, but there are restrictions. You have to wait six years from your last Chapter 7 case to file for bankruptcy again. After your debts are discharged in a Chapter 13 case, you can file for bankruptcy again.
If one spouse files does the other one have to as well?
Not necessarily. If one spouse has significant debt in his or her name alone, he or she can file without the other spouse filing. However, if the couple has significant debt or assets together, both husband and wife should file bankruptcy together.
Why shouldn’t I go buy a lot on my credit cards right before I file?
That’s considered fraud and the courts go to great lengths to make sure fraud isn’t committed. The trustee will look at your purchases right before the bankruptcy filing. Trustees are trained to detect fraud.
What debts should I include in my petition?
You should include all the debts you owe, including money owed to anyone who might make a claim against you. Don’t leave out anyone.
Your credit card companies, the government if you owe back taxes, your mortgage company, utility companies if you’re behind on those bills and your ex-spouse if you owe alimony should all be included.
You should also include any student loans or medical bills you owe. Some debts may not be covered by the bankruptcy and won’t be discharged, but the fact that you owe them is important for the judge or trustee to know.
Can I deal with the back taxes I owe in bankruptcy court?
Generally, no. There is something called tax bankruptcy, but there are very specific legal requirements to file it, including that your back taxes are from more than three years ago. You should still include any back taxes you owe in your list of debts, however. A bankruptcy attorney can help you decide if tax bankruptcy makes sense in your case.
Can I get rid of all of my debts in bankruptcy?
Probably not. There are certain types of debts that are not eligible for bankruptcy. Chapters 7 and 13 have different restrictions. Generally, debts incurred because of bad conduct, such as fines and fees imposed by a criminal court, cannot be discharged.
Chapter 13 allows more types of debts to be cleared than Chapter 7 does, but generally bankruptcy filers can’t discharge alimony and child support debts, long-term debts like home mortgages and certain debts owed to the government, like guaranteed student loans. If a debtor owed money that was overpaid by a government benefit program, that debt is also exempt from discharge.
Any debts that legally can’t be discharged are still owed after the case concludes.
Will I have an automatic right to a discharge?
Not necessarily. In Chapter 7 cases, the creditors can file an objection to a discharge. There are specific deadlines before which any objection must be filed. After that, the debts can be discharged. In Chapter 13, the debts are discharged after the debtor has paid them according to the plan.
How much does it cost to file?
While there are many costs that are hard to calculate, like damage to your credit, the cost to file the paperwork in court is $335 for Chapter 7 and $310 for Chapter 13.
How do I pay an attorney if I don’t have any money?
Skilled attorneys are accustomed to facing this problem. Many offer installment plans and some or all of the fees can be discharged as part of a Chapter 13.