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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different “chapters” in bankruptcy?
The different chapters are Chapter 7 (liquidation), Chapter 13 (individual debt adjustment), Chapter 9 (municipalities), Chapter 11 (reorganization), and Chapter 12 (family farmer or fisherman). The different bankruptcy chapters are discussed on the Bankruptcy Basics website.
What chapter is right for me?
Deciding whether to file bankruptcy and under which chapter is an extremely important decision and should be made only after a review of all the facts. Anyone considering filing for bankruptcy protection should investigate all possible options and should speak with an attorney familiar with bankruptcy for an explanation of the law specific to their circumstances.
What happens after I file bankruptcy?
Notice of Bankruptcy - Approximately 3-10 days after you file your petition for bankruptcy, you will receive a Notice of Bankruptcy Case at the address you provide to the Court. This is the same notice that your creditors will receive informing them you have filed bankruptcy. This notice lists important deadlines and information about your case including the trustee assigned to your case and meeting of creditors information. Please bring a copy of the notice with you to the meeting of creditors.
341 Meeting of Creditors - The meeting of creditors is the meeting required by section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code at which the debtor is questioned under oath by creditors, a trustee, examiner, or the U.S. trustee about his/her financial affairs. This meeting is also called the creditors' meeting.
Tax Returns - Individuals who file bankruptcy must provide the trustee (whose name appears on the Notice of Bankruptcy) with a copy of their most recently filed income tax return. This should be provided to the trustee at least 7 days before the meeting of creditors. Do not file your tax return with the court.
Chapter 13 Plan Payments - Monthly Chapter 13 plan payments should be paid to the Chapter 13 Trustee, not the Court or Clerk's Office. If the debtor cannot make a Chapter 13 payment on time according to the terms of the confirmed plan, the debtor should contact their attorney or the appropriate Chapter 13 Trustee.
What is the Meeting of Creditors? What can I expect will happen at the meeting?
The Meeting of Creditors is held approximately thirty days after the bankruptcy petition is filed. The Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Trustee or U.S. Trustee for Chapter 11 presides over the Meeting of Creditors. The debtor and everyone listed on the creditor mailing list filed by the debtor will receive written notice of the day, time, and location of this meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to give the Trustee and creditors an opportunity to question the debtor under oath.
Individuals who file bankruptcy must bring two forms of original documentation to their meeting of creditors: 1.) photo identification (driver's license, government ID, state photo ID, student ID, U.S. passport, military ID, resident alien card or Mexican consulate card) and 2.) confirmation of their social security number (social security card, a medical insurance card that includes the debtor’s SSN, a pay stub, W-2 form, IRS form 1099, or a Social Security Administration report).
Must I attend the meeting of creditors?
The debtor (both spouses in a joint case) must be present at the meeting to be questioned under oath by the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Trustee and by creditors. Creditors are welcome to attend but are not required to do so.
Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy?
While it is possible to file an individual or joint (spouses) bankruptcy case "pro se," that is, without the assistance of an attorney, it can be difficult. Hiring a competent attorney is highly recommended. For information about referral programs, contact the Georgia Bar Association at 800-334-6865 or visit on-line at www.gabar.org.
Do I need to provide a copy of the petition to anyone?
Without the benefit of an attorney, a debtor will be responsible for ensuring all persons entitled to notice of case proceedings are included on the mailing list. The Clerk’s Office will notify the creditors with a notice, provided you have listed complete street addresses, city, state and zip code for all creditors.
What if I need to change my address?
Complete a Change of Address form available at the above link and mail or hand deliver to the Clerk’s Office.
What can I do if a creditor keeps trying to collect money after I have filed bankruptcy?
The Clerk’s Office is prohibited from providing legal advice per 28 U.S.C. 955. If you have an attorney, consult with your attorney. If you have no attorney, consider retaining one. You may contact your lender to advise that you have filed for bankruptcy protection. You will need your case number and filing date. If it is necessary to initiate any legal action, neither the Trustee, the Clerk, nor Court personnel may represent you in such legal action. It is solely your responsibility.
What should I do if I cannot make my Chapter 13 payment?
If the debtor cannot make a Chapter 13 payment on time according to the terms of the confirmed plan, the debtor should contact their attorney or the appropriate Chapter 13 Trustee. Contact should be made before a payment is missed.
The contact information and website location for each Chapter 13 Trustee's offices in the Northern District of Georgia is:
Chapter 13 Trustees Judges Drake, Baisier and Ritchey Craig Judges Bonapfel, Ellis-Monro, and Sigler Chief Judge Hagenau, Judges Sacca and Cavender Melissa J. Davey
260 Peachtree St NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Mary Ida Townson
285 Peachtree Center Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
Nancy J. Whaley
303 Peachtree Center Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30303