Bankruptcy in the Southern District of Georgia During Covid
The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the US and Georgia economy, including job loss, business capacity restrictions as well as the countless types of costly accommodations necessary for many companies to stay in business. Unfortunately, this has lead many businesses and individuals to file for bankruptcy. The pandemic fallout continues to affect those companies in various stages of bankruptcy.
How Covid Affects Georgia Bankruptcy Filers Before Covid
The CARES Act, declared early in the pandemic in the US, provided emergency payments to individuals and even more to families per child. Current bankruptcy debtors may wonder if those funds need to go toward chapter 13 debt. Debtors may use the funds freely as needed for expenses without filing a “motion to disburse” beforehand.
Federal accommodations in the act also provided for those with confirmed bankruptcy cases on or before March 26, 2020, to extend their payment plans for an additional 7 years if they experienced financial hardship due to the coronavirus. The window to claim the extension ended a year after it opened. For those who missed that window, judges may consider up to two motions to suspend for up to three months if debtors show proof of economic hardship due to coronavirus. This may change.
Bankruptcy Filing as a Result of the Pandemic
During the height of the pandemic in the past year, courts and legal offices have been closed, creating more challenging circumstances when attempting to file for bankruptcy. As of June 1, 2021, the Southern District of Georgia began in-person bankruptcy court hearings, though social distancing and mask precautions were still in place. For those currently interested in filing for bankruptcy, note that some courts have allowed filing attorneys to waive the requirement for presenting an original signature from their clients to accommodate virtual paperwork availability. This might be helpful to Georgia filers outside of the Southern District. Additionally, for some courts, Section 341 meetings with creditors for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing may still be allowed to happen over the phone or via other remote means.
As the United States and the state of Georgia emerge from the fog of the pandemic, the questions regarding procedures, accommodations and expectations surrounding bankruptcy and the pandemic will continue to evolve and change. Gingold & Gingold stays up to date with current practices regarding bankruptcy law in the many Georgia courts and districts. If you have questions about your current or future Georgia bankruptcy, don’t wait to get real answers. Call us to schedule your free consultation today.
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