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Early Bird Gets the Worm, or Keeps Their Home in Bankruptcy

We have all heard someone — most likely our parents — tell us at some point in our lives that “the early bird gets the worm.” When we heard that phrase, it was most likely in relation to getting up with adequate time for school, showing up at an interview a little early or simply because our parents were sick of us sleeping away our Saturdays.

As we grow up, that saying still has meaning. In fact, in some situations it is even more important to follow. When it comes to debt, foreclosure and bankruptcy it rings as true as parents hoped it would. Bankruptcy court judges remind us that acting fast can help increase our chance of keeping our home when we can’t make payments, because there are some decisions they won’t undo.

When a homeowner defaults on their mortgage or knows that they will, seeking the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible can mean everything. Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code there are protections in place for homeowners. One is through Chapter 13 involving debt adjustments that are made in contemplation of the debtor’s entire financial picture.

If an individual chooses to file for bankruptcy in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, there are two programs that specifically address delinquent mortgages. The first is one that involves a mediator to help facilitate a residential mortgage modification. The second program is a loss mitigation conference that does not involve a mediator.

The one situation in which the foreclosure will most likely not be stayed, is one in which a judge has already entered a judgment of foreclosure. Remember that the foreclosure process is a court process and a judge is reluctant to undo a decision and in some cases do not even have the authority to make that call.

The lesson here is that in order to facilitate the best possible outcome in a debt situation is to seek experienced counsel and to seek it early. It goes hand in hand that the sooner advice is sought, the more options individuals will have available to them.

Source:tbo, “In bankruptcy court, unrealistic expectations,” Catherine Peek McEwen, Dec. 19, 2012

If you want to learn more about the bankruptcy process in Florida, our Tampa website provides more information.

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