Bankruptcy Levels The Playing Field for Consumers
When I was in kindergarten, there was this fat kid who would sit defiantly on the see saw and challenge everyone to make him move. Foolishly, I took up the challenge. Since I was the smallest kid in the class, I could not make him budge. No matter how much I jumped up and down on my side of the see saw, I could not move him. Then, I recruited two friends who joined me in my quest. After three of us climbed onto the see saw, we leveled things out.
The fat kid is a lot like creditors. Under Georgia law, things are heavily weighted in their favor. In Georgia, a creditor can garnish up to 25 percent of your net paycheck. They can clean out your checking account if you let them get a judgment against you. A mortgage company can foreclose on a house in just a little over four weeks in Georgia.
The good news is that Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy level the playing field. Chapter 13 bankruptcy stops garnishments, creditor lawsuits, and foreclosures. Many people like to refer to Chapter 13 as the “catch your breath” provision of the Bankruptcy Code because it allows you step back and get some court protection from creditors who demand that they be paid in full tomorrow. Chapter 13 allows you to legally stop them and repay your debt over a reasonable period of time. In contrast, Chapter 7 allows you to eliminate your debts and get a new start. Many people refer to Chapter 7 as the “fresh start” provision of the Bankruptcy Code.
How long can a person live with a creditor taking 25 percent of their paycheck? How can a person keep a job if their only source of transportation gets repossessed? Where would you live if your house got foreclosed?
Sometimes, we all need a little help in leveling the see saw of life. Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy are not always the solution to every debt problem. However, as a bankruptcy attorney, I have been told by many former clients, that bankruptcy was the life line that saved them.
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