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“No-Asset” Case

A Chapter 7 case in which the Chapter 7 Trustee does not intend to sell any of the property that you own because there is no equity in the property that could be sold to pay unsecured creditors.


For clarification, a Chapter 7 Trustee would not normally sell property just to pay creditors who have claims secured by collateral; since those creditors already have rights in collateral, they can act for themselves.  

Non-dischargeable debt


Certain types of debt that are not barred by a bankruptcy discharge.  The list is slightly different depending on whether you are receiving a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 discharge. 


Some of these nondischargeable debts (like tax and domestic support claims) are given priority treatment, but others (such as student loans) are not given any special repayment treatment in the bankruptcy case. 

Some types of debts are not automatically nondischargeable, but a creditor can bring a lawsuit in Bankruptcy Court (called an adversary proceeding) to seek a determination that the debt should not be discharged, for example, due to fraud or willful and malicious conduct.  


The filing of a bankruptcy petition will nevertheless stop certain types of creditor activity while the bankruptcy case is pending, even if the claim is not discharged.  (One notable exception to this rule is the collection of certain types of domestic support.)

Objection to plan


A document filed with the Court by a creditor, Trustee or other party in interest.  A Chapter 13 plan cannot be approved (“confirmed”) by the Court until the objection is resolved, withdrawn, or overruled by the Court.  Objections can list problems with the plan as proposed, or request different treatment for creditors. 

Personal property


Personal property is all property except real property (such as land or real estate).  Personal property includes things like motor vehicles, cash, jewelry, electronics, household goods and clothing.

Plan payment


This is the payment required to be made monthly to the Chapter 13 Trustee according to the Chapter 13 plan.




Referring to the time after a bankruptcy case is filed. 




Referring to the time before a bankruptcy case is filed.


Proof of claim


The document that creditors file with the Clerk of Court (on the “claims register”) listing the amount of the creditor’s claim and providing detail and documentation about the claim. 


Real property


Land or real estate.  (All other types of property are called “personal property.)  A/K/A "dirt."  


Redeem / redemption


The ability to pay off a debt to a secured creditor in a Chapter 7 case using the value of the property as the payoff amount.  Redemption can be useful for bankruptcy debtors when the value of the property is less than the amount owed.  The full amount must be paid as a lump sum.


Relief from stay


When you file your bankruptcy case the “automatic stay” applies.  Creditors have the right to ask the Court to “lift” or grant relief from the stay to allow them to take certain actions against you or your property.  The Court will decide whether relief from stay is appropriate. 

Creditors will seek relief from stay if you fall behind in payments to them after you file your bankruptcy case.  It is sometimes possible even then to negotiate with creditors and agree to cure missed payments. 




A type of bankruptcy filing where you keep your belongings and adjust your relationship with creditors, according to a plan that you file. 

In the Bankruptcy Code Chapter 11 (businesses) and Chapter 13 (individuals) are types of reorganizations.  By contrast, Chapter 7 is a “liquidation” proceeding. 


Request to incur debt


While you are in a Chapter 13 case, you cannot obtain new loans or credit unless you receive permission from either the Court or Trustee. 


The Trustee is able to approve most types of loans by submitting a written request and documentation. 


Salary deduction


When your employer withholds your Chapter 13 bankruptcy payments from your paycheck and sends the funds to the Trustee.  The Trustee now sends the notice when you file your case and indicate willingness and ability to have the deduction from your pay.  Previously, and in some other jurisdictions, the Court will enter an order directing the employer to withhold the bankruptcy payments, often called a "salary deduction order" or SDO. 


Secured creditors


Whenever your property serves as collateral to repay a creditor, these types of creditors are referred to as “secured.” 


A secured creditor may hold a mortgage, deed to secure debt, a motor vehicle title, security interest, or a judgment lien against your property. 

Statement of Financial Affairs


Also referred to as "the SoFA."  A series of questions that you must answer when you file a bankruptcy petition.  Some of the questions are about prior addresses, past income, whether you have recently repaid or given away property to someone, information about any businesses you have operated, and whether you are involved in any lawsuits. 


Title pawn


Georgia’s Pawnbrokers statute allows the title to motor vehicles to be pawned.  The ability to recover the title to the vehicle or “redeem” the title is extremely time sensitive, and recent decisions by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals severely restricts the ability to deal with title pawn issues in a bankruptcy case once the statutory redemption period has expired. 

United States Trustee


The United States Trustee Program or “UST” is part of the U.S. Department of Justice.  It oversees bankruptcy cases and the Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 trustees involved in those cases.  The UST has the right to appear and be heard on any issue in any bankruptcy case.  The UST’s mission is to uphold the integrity and efficiency of the bankruptcy system and make sure that it fairly benefits everyone. 

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