Bankruptcy is a federal law. As such, when someone files bankruptcy, they do so in federal court. That being said, there are plenty of elements of state law incorporated into a bankruptcy case. For instance, which court you file your bankruptcy case is determined by where you live in your state. Venue is appropriate in Georgia if you have been a resident of Georgia for at least three months.

In Georgia, one can file bankruptcy in either the Northern District, Middle District, or Southern District. Within each district, there are several different divisions where you could wind up. For instance, the Northern District of Georgia Bankruptcy Court has locations in Atlanta, Rome, Newnan or Gainesville. The Middle District of Georgia Bankruptcy Court is headquartered in Macon and encompasses 70 counties. It has courts in Albany, Athens, Columbus, Macon and Valdosta. The Southern District of Georgia Bankruptcy Court has locations in Augusta, Brunswick, Dublin, Savannah, Waycross and Statesboro.

If you are not sure which court is assigned to your county, visit the courts websites and there will be a section which will provide your answer.

Metro Atlanta residents will file bankruptcy in the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta division. This division encompasses residents of the following counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton and Rockdale.

There are 10 judges in the Northern District and they generally take cases in all the divisions, although some only work certain divisions. Your judge is randomly assigned, and you cannot hand pick your judge. Additionally, you get assigned a case trustee, which is also randomly assigned. It is possible that judges or trustees can be removed in rare cases, but barring strange circumstances, the judge and trustee you are assigned will be the one you will have for the duration of your case.

It is recommended that you file your bankruptcy case with an attorney; however, if you elect to file pro se (meaning, without an attorney), there is information on the courts websites that can guide you through the process. There is also a section on the courts website to download the forms that you need to complete. There are plenty of reasons to not file a case pro se, one of which is that the court will not allow you to file your documents electronically if you file pro se, meaning you will always have to stop by the court to file any documents.

By Peter Bricks, P.C.

With offices conveniently located in Atlanta, Cumming, Dunwoody, Jonesboro, and Woodstock.