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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditors may seek relief from some or all their debts. Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases. This means that a bankruptcy case cannot be filed in a state court.
Bankruptcy laws help people who can no longer pay their creditors get a fresh start by liquidating their assets to pay their debts, or by creating a repayment plan. Bankruptcy laws also protect troubled businesses and provide for orderly distributions to business creditors through reorganization or liquidation. These procedures are covered under Title 11 of the United States Code (the “Bankruptcy Code”). The majority of cases are filed under the three main chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, which are Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13.
Who can file a bankruptcy?
Almost anyone can file a bankruptcy case, though there are restrictions. It is always advisable to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in making this decision, so you understand your rights and obligations.
What is a Voluntary Petition?
What is a Joint Petition?
A joint petition is one bankruptcy petition filed by spouses, requiring the signatures of both people. Only people married on the date they file may file a joint petition. All their property and their debt will be handled together in this one joint case. Spouses seeking bankruptcy relief do not have to file a joint petition. Again, experienced legal counsel should be consulted to evaluate the legal consequences for each potential course of action.
How Do I file a document with the Court?
Documents may be filed with the Court via hand-delivery or by mailing the document to the Clerk’s Office of the division where the case was filed.
http://www.ganb.uscourts.gov/court-info/court-locations - Division links at the top.
What does it mean if the case is dismissed?
A dismissal order ends the case. In bankruptcy, a dismissal is an order removing a case from the court’s docket, thereby also removing any protection of the law that the pending case might have occasioned, e.g., the automatic stay. A complete explanation of the effect of dismissal may be found in the Bankruptcy Code at 11 U.S.C. § 349.
What does the Clerk’s Office do?
The Clerk’s Office of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Georgia provides many services to the bankruptcy judges, attorneys and the public. The Clerk’s Office Staff provides clerical and administrative support to the court by filing and maintaining case-related papers, issuing process and writs, signing ministerial orders, collecting authorized fees, sending notices, entering judgments and orders, and settling hearings. The services provided by the Clerk’s Office to attorneys and the public include responding to requests for information and making copies of papers in bankruptcy court files.
Although Clerk’s Office staff cannot provide legal advice per 28 U.S.C. § 955, the Clerk’s Office and the Court’s website at www.ganb.uscourts.gov are sources for many forms, local rules, and other information.
What are the Bankruptcy Rules? Where can I get a copy of the Rules?
The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Bankruptcy Rules) and Official Forms govern procedure in cases filed under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The Bankruptcy Rules are available for review at the Clerk’s Office public intake counters, at any public library, or at the Court’s website. They can also be ordered from a publisher such as West or Collier’s or may be purchased at most bookstores.
What are the Local Rules? Where can I get a copy of the Local Rules?
The Local Rules are a set of additional procedural rules developed by the judges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia and are applicable to all bankruptcy cases filed in The Northern District of Georgia. They supplement the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and are construed to be consistent with those Rules. The Local Rules are available for review on the Court’s website, see Local Rules & General Orders.
What is the Bankruptcy Code? Where can I find a copy of the Code?
The Bankruptcy Code is the informal name for Title 11 of the United States Code (11 U.S.C. §§ 101-1330), the federal bankruptcy law. Legislation in Title 11 contains both substantive and procedural law for bankruptcy liquidation and rehabilitation cases. A copy of the Bankruptcy Code is available for review at the Clerk’s Office public counters, at any public library, or at the Court’s website. It can also be ordered from a publisher such as West or Collier’s or may be purchased at most bookstores.