One of the first questions that anyone thinking about bankruptcy asks is “Can I keep my home?” This is a concern for anyone facing foreclosure, and even more of a concern for those with school-age children who might be worried about moving into a different school district.
Fortunately, bankruptcy law has a number of provisions that are designed to keep people in their existing homes. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy, in particular, is a good choice for many people seeking to stay in their home. Under Chapter 13, the person in bankruptcy, with the help of a bankruptcy trustee and the approval of the bankruptcy court, sets up a payment plan, typically lasting three to five years, during which time the person pays what he or she can to all creditors. This lower payment may leave enough in the person’s budget to get caught up on late mortgage payments (which are said to be “in arrears” until paid off).
Another advantage of bankruptcy is that upon filing a bankruptcy petition, any foreclosure action by a bank is automatically stayed (suspended) until the bankruptcy process is completed (or until the bank gets permission from the bankruptcy court).
As with any legal action, it is possible to represent yourself in court without a lawyer, but because of the complexities of the bankruptcy process, this is not a wise choice. The process is so complex, in fact, that the U.S. court system has dedicated bankruptcy judges which handle no other types of cases. There are attorneys for bankruptcy located in Loveland that one can get help from.
Chapter 13 relief is available to anyone with less than $360,475 in unsecured debts (such as credit cards) and less than $1,081,400 in secured debts (such as houses and cars). There are a number of other requirements, such as having not recently gone through bankruptcy or recently filing for bankruptcy but having the petition dismissed by the court.
Bankruptcy is not for everyone who is facing financial hardship, and Chapter 13 might not be the best bankruptcy choice, depending on an individual’s situation. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can fully assess a person’s debts and overall financial situation and help determine what approach is best-as well as navigating the complex bankruptcy process.