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Vehicle Repossession and Chapter 13


Vehicle Repossession

If you have fallen behind on your car payments, then you are at risk for vehicle repossession. Even if you are just one day late making your monthly payment, the car loan company (your lender) has the legal right to repossess your vehicle. Lenders are not under any legal obligation to give you extra time to make your payment. Additionally, if you make a partial payment instead of the full amount owed in a particular month, you are also at risk for vehicle repossession. The unpaid portion is considered late.

Trying to Reach Out to Your Lender

Reaching out to your lender during a time of financial distress is a good idea, but may not always make a difference in regards to the lender repossessing your vehicle. Sometimes a lender will be willing to work with you to come up with a solution to your late payment(s) after you explain your situation. Approaching the lender before your situation spirals out of control is important. If you have recently lost your job, for example, it is best to contact the lender and explain what is going on when this first happens, rather than waiting until you miss several payments.

Consider a Chapter 13

If you are unable to make arrangements with your vehicle lender to catch up the payments, and do not want to risk the lender repossessing your vehicle, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an options for you. A Chapter 13 allows you to pay off the loan during the course of a three to five year plan.

In most circumstances, a Chapter 13 will also obligate your lender to return your vehicle to you if it has already been repossessed. Additionally, under some circumstances, Chapter 13 may allow you to pay back what the vehicle is worth, at a reduced interest rate vs. what you actually owe on the loan. This can oftentimes result in a significant savings.

How is My Credit Score Affected After a Bankruptcy Filing?

Many people who file for bankruptcy already have a low credit score and/or are unable to obtain credit cards or a mortgage. With unpaid bills piling up and possible lawsuits from creditors,  a person’s credit score continues to go down as time goes on.

After filing for bankruptcy, your credit score will lower at first

It is important to know that this is not in any way a permanent situation, and your bankruptcy attorney will advise you on how best to rebuild your credit and increase your score.  Ultimately for the majority of people in a tough financial predicament, filing for bankruptcy will be the better choice than ignoring bills and missing more payments.  

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing will remain on your credit report for 10 years. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing will remain on your credit report for 7 years.

Given the fact that a credit score can go up quickly once the proper steps are taken, you can begin to rebuild and repair your credit immediately.  

Some ways to quickly and positively impact your credit (once you have filed bankruptcy) include:

  • continuing to make monthly mortgage payments on time (if a Chapter 13 was filed),
  • continuing to make all car payments on time (if you are keeping your car), and
  • paying off any credit cards in full every month (for credit cards obtained after your bankruptcy filing). 

Many credit card companies will offer credit cards to people with a bankruptcy filing because you have either reorganized your debt (Chapter 13) or had your debt discharged (Chapter 7). Therefore, you have less debt than many credit card holders. These credit card companies are more willing to take a risk on you because you have shown that you will be able to make your monthly payments.  

If you file for bankruptcy and then rebuild your credit, you will ultimately have better credit in the long term versus continuing down the path of unpaid bills and getting deeper into debt.  Mortgage lenders and credit card companies are much more willing to approve someone for a loan or a credit card if you have taken positive steps toward improving your situation in a proactive manner.

IF MY HOME IS CURRENTLY IN FORECLOSURE AND I WANT TO KEEP MY HOME, WHICH IS A BETTER OPTION: CHAPTER 7 OR CHAPTER 13

  • November 8, 2019
  • Bankruptcy,Chapter 13,Chapter 7
  • Comments : Comments Off on IF MY HOME IS CURRENTLY IN FORECLOSURE AND I WANT TO KEEP MY HOME, WHICH IS A BETTER OPTION: CHAPTER 7 OR CHAPTER 13

Make sure you have all the bankruptcy information

As a debtor filing for bankruptcy, you are entitled by law to a court-ordered rule of protection known as the automatic stay. This applies in a Chapter 7 and in a Chapter 13 filing. There are several creditor activities that the automatic stay protects and/or prohibits. One of the prohibited acts involves any creditor continuing a foreclosure sale that has begun prior to the bankruptcy filing, or starting a foreclosure proceeding during the length of the bankruptcy case. If you want to file for bankruptcy and keep your home, there are certain requirements that must be met. A qualified attorney will look at your situation in detail to determine whether you meet the requirements.

See Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13

In a Chapter 7 filing, a debtor can buy some time for him/herself with the automatic stay by preventing immediate foreclosure on a debt secured by real estate. If there is a scheduled foreclosure sale, this sale gets cancelled. It is very important to note: the debt that is allowed to be wiped out in a Chapter 7 does not include missed mortgage payments. Once the debtor in a Chapter 7 receives a discharge at the resolution of his/her case, then the automatic stay is lifted. At this time, the creditor can resume or begin foreclosure proceedings against a debtor who has missed mortgage payments prior to filing the Chapter 7. The creditor can also seek relief from the automatic stay prior to your Chapter 7 discharge. Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not allow a debtor to “catch up” overdue mortgage payments within his/her case. Additionally, there is no requirement for the bankruptcy court to work out any repayment plan with the lender. Lenders are not required to modify a mortgage if you file a Chapter 7.

One important thing to consider regarding Chapter 7 is that money may be freed up for you once all allowable debts are consolidated into a Chapter 7 plan. This can, in some circumstances, allow a debtor to pay the lender all of the missed payments owed. Then the debtor must continue to keep the mortgage current and pay the monthly mortgage, both during the Chapter 7 proceeding and after the discharge.

Usually, the better option if you want to keep your home is to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is a reorganization of your debts, which is a 3-5 year repayment plan on debt owed. Missed mortgage payments do qualify to be part of this repayment plan. This means that you can “catch up” on all overdue mortgage payments, and also not have to pay them all at once. Through a Chapter 13 plan, monthly payments are made to a Chapter 13 Trustee who oversees the case. The debtor must continue to make all ongoing mortgage payments during the entirety of the Chapter 13 case. At the end of the Chapter 13 case (the 3-5 year period), the debtor receives a discharge on all debts that were part of this plan. The debtor keeps his/her home and continues to pay the monthly mortgage payment.

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Law

WHAT IF I AM OVER THE DEBT LIMIT IN ORDER TO FILE FOR A CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY?

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy allows individuals to pay all or a portion of their secured and unsecured debts through a U.S. Trustee-approved plan, totaling 3-5 years. After the payment plan is finished, the debtor receives a discharge of all remaining debt that was part of the plan.

As of 2019, the debt limit for an individual to file for a Chapter 13 is $419,275.00 for secured debts and $1,257,850 for secured debts.

What Happens if My Debt Exceeds the Current Limit?

If your debts exceed the current limits, then you may have the option of filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy under a newly created law in October of 2019. This new law allows a debtor to be treated as a small business. The total debt to be repaid must not exceed $2.75 million. This is a 3-5 year repayment plan, similar to a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Speak with bankruptcy attorney Matthew Cherney to see if this new subchapter of Chapter 11 bankruptcy would apply in your situation.

Obtaining a Mortgage After a Chapter 13 Discharge

In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing, payments are made to a Trustee for a set amount of time. Once all the payments have been made, the person who filed the bankruptcy is “discharged,” or released, from all debts that were part of the Chapter 13 repayment plan.

Many people believe that they may never be able to obtain a mortgage after a bankruptcy filing.

This is not the case. In fact, it is often easier to be approved for a mortgage with a bankruptcy filing on one’s credit report than continuing to incur financial distress. For example,:

if a person is unable to pay bills, is sued by a credit card company, and continues on a downward financial spiral, this will make it extremely difficult to be approved for a mortgage.

By putting a stop to this with a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing with an attorney, the outlook for a owning a future home is bright. Lenders often look at a bankruptcy filing as proof of an effort to try and repay some of the debts owed, rather than continue to drown in debt and avoid creditors for long periods of time. The long-term result of a bankruptcy filing is positive, not negative, for the person looking to be approved for a mortgage.

Waiting Periods After a Bankruptcy

Once a filer is discharged from the debts stemming from their bankruptcy filing, there are different waiting periods depending on which type of mortgage loan you are looking for.

  • For an FHA loan, the waiting period is generally 1 year from the date of discharge.
  • For a VA loan, the waiting period is generally 1 year from the date of discharge.
  • For a conventional loan, which has stricter requirements since they are not guaranteed by the government, the waiting period is generally 2 years from the date of discharge.

Owning a home after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge is definitely a possible goal for anyone who has filed Chapter 13.

Is Debt Consolidation Right for You?

There are many reasons why people are struggling with debt and seek options that will help them get out of it. Your Marietta Debt Consolidation attorney Matthew Cherney can help lower and pay off any current unsecured debts that you have. If you are looking for a way to get out of debt, debt consolidation may be the best option.

Reasons Behind Debt

You will need to figure out when you started accumulating debts so that a solution can be found. There are several reasons why people experience debt such as:

  • Unemployment
  • Emergencies
  • Medical bills
  • Student loans
  • Auto loans/Repossession
  • Overdue mortgages/Foreclosure
  •  Bankruptcy
  • Among many other reasons

The best thing to do while going through the process of debt consolidation loan is to make a budget plan so that your bills and creditors will be paid on time. It is also important to remember that you should not spend more than what is within your means.

What is Debt Consolidation?

One of the first things to understand is knowing what debt consolidation is and learning how it will help to clear your debts. Debt consolidation is a legal opportunity that allows debts to be lowered, grouped together, and paid with a consolidation loan. You will be able to pay off debts by paying a fixed amount every month until your credit is cleared. Debt consolidation is an option that is open to everyone, and this even includes those with secured debt with collateral or unsecured debt.

Applying for Debt Consolidation

Having the option to pay off accumulated debt by applying for a loan can seem easy at first, but not everyone is eligible. Lenders require a certain credit score before they will approve an application. A low credit score is considered a risk to lenders, so there is a chance you may not be approved. The higher your credit score is, the more likely a consolidation lender will approve your application.

Another factor that is considered by lenders is the total amount of debt you have. If your debt is too low and does not reach the minimum threshold for a consolidation loan, a lender is less likely to approve the loan. A debt consolidation lender will also consider the amount of the loan to be paid back, monthly fees, and how long it will take for you to pay back the loan.

How does Debt Consolidation work? 

It is important to keep in mind that a debt consolidation loan can help relieve debt, but it is not an overall solution. You will still have to pay back the loan through a debt consolidation lender in addition to paying any recurring monthly bills such as a mortgage, rent, electricity, water, or cable bills. It is necessary to know if you can afford to pay off the loan and still live fairly comfortably; you should not have to struggle unbearably while paying off your debts.

Debt consolidation can be a perfect option if you are well organized and can follow a budget plan that will help avoid overspending. This alternative solution to clear your debt should be considered as a temporary aid. It is designed to provide a better start for managing your financial difficulties.

Making A Budget Plan

Having a budget plan will help keep financial transactions well organized so that creditors will be paid on time. It is also a good idea to consult a professional financial lawyer or advisor for help. An attorney can help you devise an effective plan to remove debts as quickly as possible.

By assessing all of your spending habits, it will be much easier to determine the crucial spending necessities. Once a spending pattern has been observed, a financial plan can be made so that you can pay off the consolidation loan as soon as possible.

Learn More About Debt Consolidation

By understanding what debt consolidation is and how it works, the better the chances to get out of debt. It is not a good idea to wait until you are almost bankrupt to apply for a consolidation loan, but instead, identify the problem at an earlier stage where debts are more manageable. Take the time to decide if this type of loan is right for you and consult a professional Marietta debt consolidation attorney to find out what steps you need to take to start your path towards financial recovery.

Don’t Fall Victim To Illegal Debt Settlement Companies!

Anyone who is in deep debt could be especially vulnerable, which is one reason why they may seek aid at the end of his or her wits. Most of the time it is debt adjusters who answer and provide assistance.

It would be nice to say debt adjusters were always honest, but that is not always the case. Some of the companies do not pay on time and violate the Debt Adjustment Act that says creditors must be paid within 30 days after receiving the money.

Of course, the consumer now has the right and should definitely pursue legal action against the debt adjuster for blatant violation of the Act.

The company may be forced to return all fees that you ended up paying or charges that resulted from their negligence. The violation itself could also award you a restitution, which could be as high as $5,000, and that is a helpful amount no matter what.

How Debt Collecting Companies Lure Customers In?

The debt adjustment industry is growing dramatically, which is making room for illegal debt settlement companies. It is no secret that many Americans are suffering and looking for solutions, which is what these companies take advantage of.

Most people who are having trouble paying their debts often consider bankruptcy as an option. However because of many misconceptions of bankruptcy, debt collecting agencies can play upon that fear. Debt adjusters often times advertise themselves as an alternative solution, claiming that they could clean up your credit in a short period of time.

Debt settlement companies have been know to tell clients to stop paying all unsecured creditors. The client is then told to send all the money owed to debtors to the debt settlement company itself. The fees for the company’s services are collected upfront before any debtors are paid.

Most of the unscrupulous actions taken by debt settlement companies were declared illegal by the Federal Trade Commission since October 27 back in 2010. This was probably done because many of these solutions are riddled with discrepancies that are withheld from the client.

The Part that is Withheld From You

What makes debt settlement companies potentially bad for you is that working with them does not guarantee that the credit cards companies that you owe money to won’t file a debt collection lawsuit to get their money from you.

Some credit card companies do not go after you and decide to bundle up all the money you owe into a portfolio that is labeled uncollectable. This does not mean your debt is gone. In fact, sometimes, it is sold off to junk debt buyers for a fraction of what is owed. These junk debt buyers are a shady bunch who make it their business to collect what is owed. They do this by filing derogatory credit entries against you or by making harassing calls to you. These calls are so bad that they usually violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Of course, it is possible that the debt settlement company you hired ends up paying off your bills, but this also means you may be issued an IRS 1099-C. Consumers have to report any debt that has been forgiven if that debt exceeds $600, which may end up hurting you.

Furthermore, at least in the state of Georgia, these debt settlement companies have been made illegal. So, the first lie they are telling you is that they are still a viable option in this state. Those who have fallen victim to these companies should consider fighting with your Marietta Debt Relief attorney at Cherney Law Firm. Do not fret, the free consultation offered comes with no strings attached.

Top Reasons Why You Should Consider Bankruptcy

Whether you’re upside down in debt because of being unemployed, too much spending, medical bills, college tuition or anything else, you should know that you’re not alone!

Last year, almost 773,000 individuals found themselves in the same situation.

You at one point or another might have considered filing for bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy can help those in financial distress get a fresh start and start over again.

Does Bankruptcy Really Work and is it the Right Fit for You?  Here is what you need to know

When is a Good Time to Consider Bankruptcy?

Anytime your income is insufficient to pay your debt while also maintaining your household expenses, bankruptcy is an option worth looking into. Matthew C. Cherney, a bankruptcy attorney, says that a good rule of thumb is to take a good look at the total amount of debt that you owe.  If the monthly expenses associated with servicing the debt comes close to, or exceeds your monthly income, then you may be an ideal candidate for filing for bankruptcy.

Some debts such as child support, income taxes and student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, so one should really consider monthly figure as an expense, rather than a debt.

In Georgia and other states, the bankruptcy laws require many different forms and schedules to be filed with a bankruptcy .  These forms also depend on the chapter of bankruptcy.  Some of these forms are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  Let’s explore these in detail.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 is commonly referred to as a “liquidation” bankruptcy.  Chapter 7 is oftentimes associated with what people think of when they think of bankruptcy.  A business bankruptcy would be a Chapter 11.

After your bankruptcy attorney files your paperwork, the judge will appoint a “trustee.”  The trustee’s job  is to investigate your financial affairs search for any assets, and, if appropriate, sell, or liquidate these assets, and pay any monies to your creditors.

You are allowed certain exemptions to protect your property, and this situation only becomes relevant when the value of your assets exceed your exemptions.  If that is the case, you may want to consider a chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to protect your assets.

Did you know?

Abraham Lincoln filed for bankruptcy in 1838.  Prior to the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had considerable debt associated with the purchase of several general stores.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you do not qualify for chapter 7, or are attempting to protect your assets and have regular income, chapter 13 may be a better solution for you.  In chapter 13 one can propose a plan to pay back their debt (or a portion thereof) over three to five years.

Another benefit is that Chapter 13 can treat certain debts that are not dischargeable in chapter 7.

What is the Immediate Benefit of Bankruptcy?

The one thing that ALL forms of bankruptcy have in common is the wonderful feature known as the “Automatic Stay.”

Immediately upon filing bankruptcy,  the automatic stay prevents most creditors from collecting any outstanding debts.

This means:

  • No more lawsuits;
  • No more harassing phone calls;
  • No more “Final Demand” letters sent to your home;

Instantly all of these things that keep you up at night, as well as any outstanding debt- are all washed away, or “discharged,” in legal terms.

Read more about Automatic Stay

What is the Negative Impact of Filing for Bankruptcy?

After filing, your credit score will be impacted.  However, if your credit score is already rather low, the impact will be nominal.  Bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for a period of years (depending on the chapter); however, this time frame may pale in comparison to the length of time necessary to pay back your debt.  You will also be surprised at the amount of credit card offers you’ll receive after your bankruptcy is discharged.  When used responsibly, a credit card is an excellent way of building your credit back up.

So is Filing For Bankruptcy a Good Thing?

The thought of bankruptcy may be unpleasant, but you will not believe the relief you feel after filing.  Filing with a trusting attorney should make it a pleasant experience.  Nobody ever wants to end up filing bankruptcy, but it can be a better alternative to harassing phone calls, intrusive letters, lawsuits and garnishments.

If you or someone you know is going through hardships due to outstanding debt, give our office a call today and speak with attorney Matthew Cherney of Cherney Law Firm, LLC.

Vehicle Repossession and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

One reason for the overwhelming increase in vehicle repossessions is the rise of sub-prime vehicle loans. Sub-prime borrowers account for nearly 1/3 of the new car loans. Sub-prime borrowers are sure to be saddled with the highest interest rates (15% – 20%), and the longest loan terms (60 months – 72 months). Inability to maintain payments may result in repossession. A chapter 13 bankruptcy will stop a repossession, and allow the borrower an opportunity to pay the loan back over a period of 3-5 years, oftentimes at a significantly reduced interest rate.

Is Fear Holding You Back from Filing for Bankruptcy?

  • May 29, 2013
  • Bankruptcy
  • Comments : Comments Off on Is Fear Holding You Back from Filing for Bankruptcy?

People often hold out for a hopeful solution, even while their debt is mounting fast. They cling to other solutions besides bankruptcy- getting a raise, selling their house, and so forth. Why is bankruptcy the “worst case scenario” and something that causes individuals to drag their feet in trepidation? Continue Reading