Posted By: Scott B. Riddle, Esq. (Ph: 404-815-0164)

Note: The following is a reprint (retyping) of a Guide for Consumer Bankruptcy in Georgia.  There are several sections, and I hope to get them all posted over the next couple of weeks as I review them and note any changes because of the new law or recent court decisions.  I also hope to make the entire document available in .pdf form.  Questions and comments welcome. 



I. Introduction

The purpose of this Guide is to provide practical information about consumer Bankruptcy, and more specifically, consumer Bankruptcy cases filed in the State of Georgia. This includes Bankruptcy cases filed under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Although individuals may also filed under Chapter 11, those cases are relatively infrequent and require specialized advice from a Bankruptcy lawyer. While much of the information contained in this Guide is relevant to a Chapter 11 individual Debtor, we do not separately discuss Chapter 11 cases.

We have tried to use a minimum of legal-ease, but it is important to identify and define many of the common terms unique to Bankruptcy cases. 

Although this Guide is written primarily for those individuals who may be contemplating filing for Bankruptcy, it is not a substitute for advice from a qualified Bankruptcy lawyer who has reviewed the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Rather, this Guide should be used as basic information or as a primer for preparing for a meeting with a lawyer. 

II.        What is Bankruptcy?

The term “Bankruptcy” has its origins in Latin: “Bancus,” meaning bench or table, and “ruptus,” meaning broken. In ancient times, many businesses were conducted from benches or tables. If the business failed, the bench was broken.  Thus, the two terms were combined to form the modern word “bankruptcy,” or “broken bench.” The word has since been used to refer to the absence of a quality or resource – “financially bankrupt,” “morally and ethically bankrupt,” etc.

For purposes of this Guide, the term “Bankruptcy” will refer to the process under federal law designed to help consumers and businesses eliminate their debts or repay them under the protection of the United States Bankruptcy Court, which is a federal court. For individuals, the process is initiated by the filing of a Bankruptcy Petition under Title 11 of the United States Code. The Petition is filed under either Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13 of the Code, and each of these chapters are discussed below. The term “debtor” will refer to an individual who has filed a Bankruptcy Petition.

You may hear the term “fresh start” used as describing the goal of Bankruptcy.

Scott B. Riddle, Esq.