Committee considers bankruptcy exemptions

  • Follow Metro

ATLANTA --- State legislators could soon consider a bill boosting the amount of home equity Georgians can keep when they enter bankruptcy.

Debtors retain $10,000 in home equity in bankruptcy, less than half of what federal bankruptcy law permits in exemptions.

But a Senate committee on Tuesday talked about increasing the state's exemption, possibly by $40,000.

They heard testimony from debtors who said an increase could help them keep their home, and from creditors who warned any larger exemptions could make credit more costly and harder to obtain.

Joanne Brigdon, of Augusta, told senators a higher exemption would allow her to enter Chapter 7 bankruptcy and discharge the $11,000 in credit card and medical debts. Ms. Brigdon, who is over 65 and cannot walk, said she receives $1,300 a month in Social Security.

The number of Georgians filing for bankruptcy reached 14,396 in the second quarter of this year, a two-and-a-half-year high, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Joe Brannen, the president and CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association, said creditors would probably see a higher exemption as increased risk in loaning money. That could drive up the cost of loans, which would penalize all borrowers and make credit harder to find.

The amount of the exemption can determine which type of bankruptcy a debtor can declare -- Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 -- and how much home equity they can protect.

Committee Chairman Sen. Ed Tarver, D-Augusta, said the review could lead to the resurrection of his bill increasing the exemption to $50,000 for one person and $100,000 for a couple.

Reach Jake Armstrong at (404) 589-8424 or

Comments (2) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
dickworth1 11/26/08 - 05:06 am
Why is everyone concerned

Why is everyone concerned about making it harder to secure
credit? This may make our country stronger by paying as you go
and not paying all this interest to these banks and lending institutions that we have to bail out when they do bad investing.
It is time for the the government to explain to the business
world that you take risk when you are in business and if you
choose wrong your company takes the hit not the taxpayers.
I'm waiting for all the changes our president-elect said is going to happen if he was elected....okay let's see them.

MyOpinion2 11/26/08 - 10:57 am
There should be a law that if

There should be a law that if you File Chapter 11 or 13, ONCE you DIE all your assets go back to pay off you creditors, until they are paid. Someone has to pay for your bad decisions, debt, I dont believe people that pay their own bills should be penalized with higher fees to pay for yours. I know people that have claimed chapter 11 4 and 5 times. What is up with that? Who is lending these people money? It is no wonder our country is in the state it is in.

reader54 11/26/08 - 12:14 pm
dick:George W. Bush is our

dick:George W. Bush is our President. President Elect Obama will inherit his mess.Seems that you can't wait for failure.Grow up!!

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs