Can I expedite the foreclosure so I can file for chapter 7 before Christmas, wait for the house foreclosure is over and stop paying the mortgage? 16 Answers as of June 12, 2013

I am married. My wife has no job. She has a spinal-condition that is getting very expensive. We're $10,000+ in medical bills, two months behind on our mortgage and with three kids we're flat on our faces broke. We've come to realize that a chapter 7 may be our best bet. I want to start fresh and give my kids a good life. I make half the means test average for my county. I think a chapter7 would be open-shut. What should I do about the house? Will they really be interested in my personal possessions in a chapter 7? I don't own much but my kids have some high dollar items that I'd rather not see them lose. Would my trustee really want to take what little I own? Can I have any idea on the cost of a chapter 7?

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Law Offices of J. L. Haddock, PLLC
Law Offices of J. L. Haddock, PLLC | Jared L. Haddock
You are asking a few questions here, so I will attempt to answer each one in turn: "Can I expedite the foreclosure so I can file for Chapter 7 before Christmas, wait for the house foreclosure and stop paying the mortgage?" While you can offer the mortgage company a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, you cannot really "expedite the foreclosure" and probably would not want to, anyway (for reasons you may not have considered yet). Besides, the foreclosure does not have to have occurred in order for you to file for Chapter 7, anyway. You can file for Chapter 7, indicating in your Statement of Intention your intent to ultimately surrender the property to the mortgage company, stop paying the mortgage, discharge the entire mortgage amount, and then let the mortgage company foreclose. "What should I do about the house?" See the above answer to the first question. "Will they really be interested in my personal possessions in a Chapter 7?" Will the Court and Trustee be interested in them? Yes. Will the Trustee liquidate them? Probably not. By this, I mean that you must legally list all of your possessions and their values. Most (if not all) of these assets can likely be exempted from liquidation - meaning that you could legally keep them. However, the exemption and protection of one's assets in Chapter 7 is critical and should not be taken lightly. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to do this properly with the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. "Would my trustee really want to take what little I own?" It is not a matter of them wanting to. The Trustee is legally obligated to liquidate any non-exempt assets of the bankruptcy estate for the benefit of creditors. In order to protect your assets from this obligatory process, you must ensure that they are properly exempted from liquidation. "Can I have any idea on the cost of a Chapter 7?" Total costs for representation by a qualified attorney for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can vary widely, depending on the complexity of the case, your location, and, of course, the attorney. The Court charges $306.00 for a filing fee. There is a mandatory credit counseling session that can range in cost from $19.00 to around $50 and a financial management course that can range in cost from $15 to around $25, both depending on which service is used. So, at least in Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, and Macomb counties (in which I practice), the total costs typically amount to a range between $1,000 and $1,700. While you may find outliers that will charge more of less from this range, use your best judgment. If you are located in either Oakland, Livingston, or Macomb county, I offer free initial consultations in which we can confirm your eligibility, the protection of your assets, and the entire process in more detail. I hope this information helps and that your wife has better health ahead!
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/28/2012
Law Office of Norman Moore
Law Office of Norman Moore | Norman P Moore Jr
You do not need to wait for foreclosure, you can even surrender the house in a 7 and the bank only gets what they sell it for. As for your possession, the trustee is looking for things that are valuable and unprotected. There are many exemptions that you can use to protect your stuff.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 9/28/2012
Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
Every BK case is different and this is not legal advice on your particular case. One strategy I use is have client stop making mortgage payments. Then file BK. Done correctly this can buy you a year rent free. Then the BK discharges your debt on the house. Medical bills are dis chargeable. In any circumstance a foreclosure will not take place by Christmas. Unlikely trustee will take your children's possessions.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 9/26/2012
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
Bankruptcy is a very complicated process. It is wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney before deciding to take this important step.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 9/26/2012
Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
You may want to explore a short sale or a regular sale if their is equity first. You can claim a number of exemptions in bankruptcy so you may be able to protect everything. The value is not the new value, but essentially garage sale value.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/26/2012
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    You do not have have a completed foreclosure to file chapter 7. You can stop paying the mortgage, file for bankruptcy and wait until you are evicted after a foreclosure sale. Which could be quite long ways out. The medical bills are a possible issue. If your wife is still incurring medical bills, maybe it would be best to wait until that stops or she qualifies for assistance. You can only discharge the debts you owe on the date of filing. Assets are subject to exemptions, meaning you get to keep them. You should see a lawyer about this. I cant speak for all lawyers but I charge $900.00 plus the filing fee for a chapter 7. The filing fee is $306.00.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Its sounds as if you would benefit from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy would delay the foreclosure and allow you to remain in your home a little while longer. As for your personal possessions, California has a generous exemption policy and I like to tell my clients that "I have never lost anything my client did not want to lose."
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    A chapter 7 usually costs anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 in legal fees depending on the case. And you and your wife will get a wildcard exemption that should protect all or most of your property so you can keep it. The chapter 7 will stop any foreclosure action and you will no longer be liable for the note on your home but they can still foreclose on the property.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    Knute Rife
    Knute Rife | Knute Rife
    Things are rarely as open and shut as appear at first. You need to sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney such as me and come up with a plan that can set you on the road you want to be on.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    Talk with a bankruptcy attorney and discuss the exemptions allowed for personal property and the value of what your kids have. I can't see it being a problem.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    Please read the pamphlet at my website about chapter 7. It will answer most of your questions. You already seem to know a lot, but it will help you understand the process. The filing fee went up to $306 for a chapter 7 and attorneys fees range from way too cheap to do it right to way to expensive, mine being in the middle, at about $1200, but I will negotiate.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    Law Office of Michael Johnson
    Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
    The cost is between 1500 and 2500.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/12/2013
    Weber & Phillips, P.A.
    Weber & Phillips, P.A. | John G. Phillips
    Bankruptcy exemptions that govern what you are allowed to keep vary greatly from State to State as do the fees to retain counsel to assist you. My gut instinct from what you stated is that you are likely to be fine. Depending on the age of your children and who gave them the "valuable" items, they may not even be considered as your property for bankruptcy. As to timing, I'm sure the attorney can advise you well on exactly what to do to best achieve your goals and I won't step on their toes except to say I think you should be able to accomplish your goals.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    In most states you cannot expedite foreclosure unless the bank will take a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Statutes required that banks follow certain steps to foreclose. As to assets, particularly your children's assets, you should discuss this with a bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/25/2012
    R. Steven Chambers PLLC | R. Steven Chambers PLLC
    You cannot "expedite" a foreclosure, since the commencement and completion of foreclosure is entirely within the bank's power. If you have decided that you cannot keep the house and are definitely going to file bankruptcy you should stop making payments. With your wife's medical condition even though you qualify for Chapter 7 and it sounds like it would be an open and shut case, you should discuss whether that is in your best interests long term with a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 11/9/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    You can file Chapter 7 before foreclosure is completed. You can surrender your house in Chapter 7 but continue to live there until the foreclosure process is complete. You are able to keep your household goods. I suggest that you consult with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss the specific details of your situation.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 9/25/2012
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