Filing for Bankruptcy in Georgia

You'll need some state-specific information to file for bankruptcy in Georgia. Here's where to find it.

When you’ve fallen behind on debt and don’t see a way out, bankruptcy can be the answer. But deciding to file is just the first step. To prepare your paperwork, you’ll need to know how to find the official bankruptcy forms, means testing amounts (for qualification purposes), mandatory education providers, exemption lists of the assets you’ll be able to keep (exempt), and your local Georgia bankruptcy court.

(To learn about your filing options, start with What Is the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?)

Official Bankruptcy Forms

Filing for bankruptcy involves disclosing all aspects of your financial situation on the official bankruptcy forms found on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court forms website. Each form includes basic instructions that explain how to fill out the bankruptcy form. The forms don’t tell you what will happen once you file, however. You’ll need to research the law about issues such as procedural requirements (what you’ll need to do) and bankruptcy’s effect on your property.

To start your bankruptcy case, you’ll file the completed paperwork in the local bankruptcy court (more below) along with a filing fee or a fee waiver request and a certificate demonstrating completion of the credit counseling requirement.

Georgia State-Specific Information

Before starting the paperwork, most people gather together financial documents. But you’ll need things that aren’t in your possession, too. Here are some resources that will help you prepare for your Georgia bankruptcy filing.

Georgia’s Bankruptcy Courts

Georgia has three bankruptcy districts—the Northern, Middle, and Southern district—with multiple locations serving various cities. Each court has a webpage with helpful information, such as:

  • location, mailing address, and phone number
  • operation hours
  • parking information, and
  • local forms.

Clicking on the district name will take you to the court’s homepage.

Northern District of Georgia

  • Division locations: Atlanta, Gainesville, Newnan, and Rome
  • Finding your division: Select “Court Information” from the top navbar.
  • Presiding judge: Chief Judge Wendy L. Hagenau

Middle District of Georgia

  • Division locations: Macon and Columbus
  • Finding your division: Select “Court Info” from the top navbar.
  • Presiding judge: Chief Judge James P. Smith

Southern District of Georgia

  • Division locations: Augusta, Brunswick, Dublin, Savannah, Waycross, and Statesboro
  • Finding your division: Go to the lower left portion of the home screen.
  • Presiding judge: Chief Judge Edward J. Coleman III

Local Forms

You’ll want to check the appropriate Georgia bankruptcy court website to find out if you’ll need to use a local form. Contact the court clerk for help.

Means Testing and Credit Counseling Information

Some of the figures and information you’ll need will be on the U.S. Trustee website:

  • Means testing charts. Passing the “means test” is a requirement of receiving a debt discharge (forgiveness) in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The income charts and expense guidelines you’ll need to reference are on the U.S. Trustee’s website (look for “Means Testing Information” in the left navbar). This same data is used when determining a Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment amount.
  • Education providers. Most filers must complete two education classes before receiving a discharge—one before filing and the other afterward. You’ll find approved providers by selecting “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education” from the left navbar on the U.S. Trustee’s site. Scroll down to your bankruptcy court.

Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions

Some people worry about giving up everything that they own in bankruptcy. You won’t lose it all, but you might not be able to keep unnecessary luxury items, either. You can find out what you’ll be allowed to protect by reviewing Georgia’s property exemption laws.

Nonexempt property (assets you can’t protect) get sold for the benefit of creditors in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. By contrast, filers can keep all property in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, as long as the filer can afford to pay the value of the nonexempt property in the three- to five-year repayment plan.

(Find more about protecting assets in Georgia Bankruptcy Exemptions.)

Getting Legal Advice

This overview doesn’t cover everything you’ll need to know before filing a Georgia bankruptcy case and making a mistake in bankruptcy can be costly. The bankruptcy court will expect you to educate yourself about bankruptcy law or to consult with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney.

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