I am in a financial mess and it is getting worse. I left NJ and moved to NC in 2008. I have been unable to get a job, had health issues, my dad passed and I now have care for my 88 year old mother and 83 year old aunt. I stopped paying my bills and have fallen WAY behind in my mortgage. Today the sherriff left a note on the door regarding a writ of execution from a creditor and a foreclosure notice is probably just days away. I am so frightened. I was wondering if I could declare bankruptcy and get put on a payment plan. I have a house with mortgage in arrears and a car that is paid for an old bedroom set but that is about it. All the furniture and appliances in the house have been bought and paid for by my parents and aunt. What should I do? I want to jump off a bridge but that isn't an option. Any advice?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Jumping off a bridge is not a solution. Absolutely - you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney. I do not file bankruptcies, but you should see if a bankruptcy attorney in the area offers a free consult. Many do. Educate yourself about bankruptcy and the different chapters. If you want to save your home, you are going to have to find a way to get current on your mortgage within 30 days after you file the bankruptcy petition if you want to file a chapter 7. If you cannot get current that quickly, then you can do a chapter 13 and repay the amount you are behind over a 3-5 year period under a payment arrangement through the bankruptcy court. However, you need a steady income stream to do that.
It is important that you do not ignore the Notice of Exemptions that is sent out by a judgment creditor prior to issuance of a Writ of Execution. North Carolina, as well as all other states, allow for exemptions from seizure, but they must be claimed. Bankruptcy could be a viable solution both to discharge debt, but also to allow time to cure default in payments to a secured creditor. Of course, your whole situation must be considered before charting a course of action. Many bankruptcy lawyers will consult with you at no charge and undertake such an evaluation, others may charge a nominal fee. Make the call and go in with your paperwork, if for no other reason, but to know what the creditors can and cannot do.
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