Each year thousands of Georgia residents file for bankruptcy protection. If you are thinking about filing for a Georgia bankruptcy, it’s important for you to realize that this should be your last available option when deciding how to deal with your financial difficulties.
You should examine all of your options and look into alternatives that may be available to you before opting for a Georgia Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. There are a few different options that may be available to you, and you should understand all your alternatives so you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Georgia bankruptcy attorney Tyler Moffitt works with many clients to assist them in forming the best solution for their financial situation. He understands how stressful financial problems can be and can assist you in coming up with an effective financial solution and help you understand any and all alternatives to bankruptcy that may be available to you.
How Can I Stop the Harassment By My Creditors?
If you are upset because you are being harassed by your creditors, you should know that you don’t have to file for a Georgia bankruptcy protection to stop your creditors from harassing you. There are federal and state laws that have to deal with debt collection practices that you can use to your advantage.
For example, The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), was enacted to protect consumers from predatory, abusive, and wrongful debt collection tactics. You may choose to send your creditors a cease and desist letter that informs them that they can no longer contact you by telephone.
Your cease and desist letter must be in writing and sent by certified mail in order to confirm your letter was received by your creditors. If your creditor doesn’t abide by your request, they are breaking the law and may be able to recover $1,000 in damages.
Can I Negotiate With My Creditors?
If you have some form of income and assets that you can liquidate, you may be able to negotiate with some of your creditors. You may be able to get some additional time to pay the debt, or your creditors may agree to settle your debt for less than the amount you owe. For example, some creditors may deduct anywhere from 30-50% off the face value of your debt in order to receive some money.
In many cases, you may need help during the process of trying to negotiate with your creditors and may retain the services of an attorney or credit counselor to assist you.
Can I Work With A Credit Counseling Agency?
If you don’t feel comfortable or believe you may not have the skills necessary to negotiate with your creditors, you may opt to retain the services of a licensed Georgia credit counseling agency.
There are non-profit credit and debt counseling agencies in Georgia that can assist you in creating a plan to repay your debts, improve your overall financial situation, and negotiate with your creditors.
Before choosing a Georgia credit counseling agency, make sure they have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau, have the appropriate memberships, and is licensed.
What is the Difference Between Debt Counseling and Chapter 13 Repayment Plans in Georgia?
If you choose to file for a Georgia Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are going to be required to repay your debts through a monthly payment plan. The main difference between working with a debt counselor and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that the bankruptcy will show up on your credit report.
Bankruptcies are handled through the court system and stay on your credit report. For example, a Georgia Chapter 13 bankruptcy, once it is completed, can stay on your credit report for up to 7 years and a Chapter 7 bankruptcy could remain on your credit report for up to 10 years.
However, there is a downside to using a Georgia debt counseling agency as well. For example, in a Georgia Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you miss a payment, you are protected from your creditors who may want to immediately resume collection methods.
If you work with a Georgia debt collection agency, you don’t have that same protection. If you miss a payment, one creditor could be unhappy and stop your repayment plan.
Additionally, with a debt counseling agency, your debts normally must be repaid in full, while in a Georgia Chapter 1 bankruptcy you will only have to repay a small portion of your unsecured debts.
How Can I Get Back On the Right Track to Financial Freedom?
If you are having financial difficulties, you need to get yourself out of debt and rebuild your credit. There are several options available to you to re-prioritize your finances. Below are a few steps you can take to assist in getting yourself out of financial difficulties:
- Prioritize your debts
- Understand all your options
- Make a budget and stick to it
- Negotiate with any creditors
- Deal with any foreclosure, wage garnishments, and/or repossessions
- Decide on whether to file bankruptcy or if a different alternative is available to you
What Other Alternatives May Be Available to Me?
In addition to the above, you may choose to follow another alternative such as:
- Debt Consolidation Loan – this combines multiple debts into one loan with a single payment.
- Transfer Debt- Some credit card companies may offer a special deal that gives you a lower interest rate to entice you to transfer your debt.
- Home Equity Line – If you have equity in your home, you may be able to consolidate your debt into a lower interest rate by taking out a home equity line.
If you are worried about your financial situation and aren’t sure what is the best course of action for you and your family, Georgia bankruptcy lawyer Tyler Moffitt can assist you by evaluating your situation and help you make the best decision when it comes to your individual financial difficulties.