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SHOULD I FILE MY CASE
IN TENNESSEE OR GEORGIA?
THE DANGERS OF FILING
BANKRUPTCY ACROSS STATE LINES
Many people who live on the Georgia-Tennessee line file their cases in Chattanooga, Tennessee out of convenience. However, little do they know that they have just added an unnecessary and serious potential problem to their case!
The problem with most cases filed across state lines is that they have "improper venue", which means that they are simply filed in the wrong district. If no one complains then the Court can allow the case to continue uninterrupted. However, if even one creditor (or a Trustee) objects then the case HAS to be moved to the proper district.
I have seen quite a few cases filed in Chattanooga,TN that had to be moved to Rome, GA after a creditor objected. There is even one very active creditor's attorney who objects every time he gets a chance simply because he thinks that the rules should be enforced!
So what are some of the possible dangers of filing bankruptcy in the wrong venue?
(1) You may have to attend court up to twice as many times
(2) You may have to take extra time off work and lose money
(3) You may have to submit multiple plans and other paperwork
(4) You may need to switch attorneys and therefore incur more attorneys fees
(5) Future house payments are added to the chapter 13 payment in the Chattanooga court, but you pay them separately in the Rome court. If the case gets transferred you suddenly may be scrambling to catch up the missing house payments! (I have personally seen this happen).
(6) The case could be dismissed and you have to repay the $310.00 filing fee to the court, not to mention having to pay attorney's fees for the old case and the new case too.
(7) Checking the box on your forms saying that venue is proper (when you actually know that it is not) could be perjury!
(8) Worst case scenario - The case could be dismissed and you lose your house, cars, or other property.