Bankruptcy court acts as a shield between you and your creditors to provide you breathing space and a fresh financial start. Though the law is designed to provide respite to you, it does not do so at the cost of your creditors. You need to pay for your secured loans like mortgages. One of the best aspects of bankruptcy filing is the automatic stay which prohibits all sorts of collection actions against you. Thanks to it, your home and car cannot be foreclosed or repossessed. In case repossession is done, they have to return it. Moreover, any liens cannot be placed on your home, no wage garnishments, etc. can be done.
For mortgages, you need to ensure that you file for bankruptcy before the home is sold. The sale can be stopped, even if an auction is scheduled if you timely file for bankruptcy. Despite the power automatic stay has, Dallas based bankruptcy law firm Recovery Law Group enlighten, that creditors can have the stay lifted if you default on making mortgage payments. In case the creditors get their say in court, the bank can continue with foreclosure proceedings.
While filing for bankruptcy you need to be sure whether you wish to keep your home or let it go. In case you decide on leaving your home, you can stop making mortgage payments. In this case, the automatic stay will be lifted and banks can sell your home. In case your home was foreclosed without bankruptcy and sold for less than what you owe, you might have to pay the difference (also known as the deficiency). Opting for bankruptcy saves you from paying the deficiency. If you wish to keep your home, you need to choose the bankruptcy chapter carefully (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13).
Mortgages in Chapter 7
Your assets are classified into an exempt and non-exempt category. The non-exempt assets are surrendered which are subsequently sold to pay off the creditors. Any unsecured debts which remain after the process are discharged. Different states have different sets of exemption. In California, under Set 1 exemption, you can protect home equity between $75,000 and $175,000, while in Set 2 exemption, home equity up to $26,800 can be exempted. The equity is calculated as the amount borrowed for the purchase minus what you owe for the property. In case your home equity is not covered under the exemptions, you will find it difficult to keep it. If the equity is covered under exemptions, you might be able to keep your home as long as you make regular payments for it. You are also required to “reaffirm” your mortgage debt. Once you reaffirm the debt, it cannot be discharged even after bankruptcy.
Mortgages in Chapter 13
This chapter of bankruptcy involves a repayment plan which lasts for 3-5 years. Any unsecured debts which remain are discharged after the end of that period. If you wish to keep your home, you can include your mortgage payments in your repayment plan. Similar to chapter 7 bankruptcy, you might need to reaffirm your debts in this case too.
In case your financial situation was worse and you had to take other mortgages on your home, you won’t be able to discharge second or third mortgages on your home or any home equity loan in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you want to keep your home. In the case of chapter 13, if your home is underwater, you might get a second mortgage or home equity line of credit discharged. The circumstances of discharge of the second mortgage depend on your circumstances and the judge.
While struggling with debt, it is important for people to make a conscious decision whether they wish to keep their home and if they do so, can they afford to make payments for it? In case of bankruptcy, any liability for deficiency in case of foreclosure is stricken, especially if your home is underwater. Though the prospect of losing your home is overwhelming, you need to make a decision with your income and assets in mind. An adept bankruptcy lawyer can help you make aware of the various options available when you file for bankruptcy. In case you wish to have a consultation regarding your debts, you can contact 888-297-6203.