In bankruptcy Chapter 13 mortgage foreclosure is either stopped or at least temporarily avoided.
First, just in case you are not familiar with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is a bankruptcy court approved payment plan where the debtor (the person filing bankruptcy) pays a bankruptcy trustee each month and then the trustee pays the debtor’s creditors.
There are several aspects of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that work to help people facing mortgage foreclosure. The first aspect is actually applicable to all bankruptcies. It is called the “automatic
By law, whenever anyone files bankruptcy, regardless of the type of bankruptcy, there is an immediate “automatic stay” (automatic temporary stopping) of most civil proceedings against the person filing bankruptcy. What this means is that if someone is facing mortgage foreclosure and the person files bankruptcy, the mortgage lender has to immediately stop its’ foreclosure action until it gets permission for the bankruptcy court to proceed.
In a Chapter 13, the bankruptcy court will not lift the “automatic stay” and grant the mortgage lender permission to proceed with a foreclosure until the debtor (the person filing bankruptcy) fails to make his payments to the bankruptcy trustee. As long as the debtor pays the monthly payments to the trustee and pays his regular mortgage payments, the “automatic stay” will remain in force and the mortgage lender can not do anything.
The second aspect of a Chapter 13 that works in favor of people facing foreclosure is that it allows a debtor to pay mortgage arrearage over time, normally 3 to 5 years. In most foreclosure cases, a person has not paid his monthly mortgage payment for several months and the mortgage lender demands full payment of the delinquent monthly payments (arrearage) in lump sum before the lender will consider stopping foreclosure. Most people cannot pay the lump sum.
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor can pay the arrearage over time. He does not have to pay it all at one time. Spreading the lump sum over time means paying smaller monthly payments until the total arrearage is paid. A creditor can object to the amount to be paid each month towards the arrearage, but once the bankruptcy court approves the payment plan, the creditor can not do anything except take the payments.
A third aspect of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that helps people facing mortgage foreclosure is that unsecured creditors may be paid a portion or all of what is owed to them. What this is really doing is reducing the amount of debt that a person has to pay back each month. By paying unsecured creditors less each month, there is more money available with which to pay a secured creditor such as a mortgage lender. Therefore, it should be easier for a debtor to pay his monthly mortgage payment.
This is general information. If you need specific information or have any questions of any nature whatsoever, talk with a lawyer licensed in your state.
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