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Might be filing Chapter 13...

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  • Might be filing Chapter 13...

    I'm so angry today. I will most likely be filing for bankruptcy.

    In 2013, we had a foreclosure and starting not paying bills. We considered bankruptcy at the time, but decided against it. We bought a house just months before the housing market crashed. We wanted, out, but the house was worth less than 50% of what we paid, and there were 8 other foreclosures in our subdivision. That house was cursed...in the 5 years we lived there, we had to replace the water heater, the air conditioner, the furnace, and deal with a roof leak that damaged the roof and a wall. We were going to stop paying, but then my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer - and my parents also provided our child care, which we could not afford. There were a lot of mistakes made - bad decisions, or making no decisions. Our heads were not in the right place as my mother passed away that December.I would I could just erase 2013 because it was mistake after mistake, and bad event after bad event.

    Up until last year, we were selectively paying some of those. The plan was to pay off a few creditors, then select a few more to pay, and repeat until done. Then Discover sued for a judgement, and we added them to the creditors we were paying. We were on a payment plan with them. Last year, I checked my bank account to find it was -$10,000. Weltman, Weinberg & Reis, the collection agency for Discover, had frozen the account. Apparently my automatic payment had stopped two months earlier. Checking out other stories, it appears their practice is to set people up on auto payment, then stop them after 6 months and see if the debtor notices. I know that when I set up the payment, I had the option of automatic payments for 6 months or 12 months. I chose 12, but forgot about that, and they ended it after 6 anyway. It is my fault that I did not notice, but I can't help but think they do this on purpose to bring about this situation.

    After that was cleared up, I called a non-profit credit counseling agency and got on a DMP to start repaying all of my debts. That was going smoothly, or so I though. Since December of last year, nine payments have been made to Weltman, Weinberg & Reis (Discover). Last week, I got a citation in the mail for wage garnishment. They won't talk to me without the credit counseling agency I am using, and when we called together, they said the $134 payment we have been sending was not enough. They never replied to the offer from the credit counseling agency. They state they sent a demand letter back in May. I remember a settlement offer...I don't recall there being any demand on it. I would have done something if I had known or had any guess this might happen. In any case, they will not negotiate. Payment in full or settle, and I can do neither.

    If I let the garnishment go, I have about 11 other creditors I cannot pay for about 6 months. On one of them, my dad is a co-signer on.

    This is very frustrating. I have been making payments in good faith for roughly two years. If they would work with me here, they would be paid off in roughly 2 years. The estimate for a chapter 13 for me would be about 40 months with $1588 going towards the trustee payment. This entire situation is a lose/lose for all of my creditors and for my family.

    I met with a couple lawyers. Chapter 13 might be filed today. I had a bit of a head start as I had done a ton of research previously. I just didn't think I'd have to actually use it. it sounds to me like the garnishment is going to happen. We can object to how much and probably get it lowered, but not likely to be stopped. Even if it's lowered to 10%, that doesn't help. I still can't pay anyone else.

    Even if, by some miracle, I could stop the garnishment...I can't help but think it's time to file Chapter 13. While the amount I pay towards debt today and the trustee payment are not actually very far off, we do have spending issues that contributed to getting to this point, and we have failed to stick to a budget over and over again. I think there are things to learn from it. I just wish there was a better way. I worry about future employment. I worry about credit. That foreclosure would come off my credit report in 3 years and I feel like I need to start all over again.

  • #2
    Welcome to bkforum! Your story is like many others and is a perfect example of why when somebody asks "should I try a DMP or file Chap 13?", members of this forum will almost always recommend a Chap 13. In a Chap 13, you take control of the situation from creditors and avoid the kind of surprises you have experienced during the DMP.

    It sounds like it is past time for you to file a Chap 13. Your credit should be the last thing you are worried about. But, your credit is already ruined at this point. You will probably have a better credit rating at the end of a Chap 13 than you do today. I am two years post discharge and my FICO 8 scores are in the upper 700s to mid 800s. In the first year after discharge, I received 2 new credit cards with $20K limits on top of the one that survived BK with a $20K limit. Others have reported similar experiences. Some take a little more time to rebuild their credit. It really is amazing how quickly the CC companies are willing to give you the opportunity to get back into trouble. A Chap 13 will help you learn to stick to a budget and so that you will hopefully develope good habits to keep you out of future trouble.

    It is also rare for bankruptcy to keep people from finding employment unless you are in the financial industry. You are a higher risk to an employer now than you will be after all of that debt is discharged.

    Yes, you are starting over, but it will be a fresh start this time.
    LadyInTheRed is in the black!
    Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
    $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

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    • #3
      Good luck, chris. It sounds like you are doing the right thing by finally filing and having that legal protection. I know all of this creates a boatload of stress & anxiety ~ but look at what you have already been living with.

      Your last paragraph stood out to me re: spending and not being able to stick to a budget. Yes, there are certainly big lessons to be learned. We had reached that point also, where we needed outside forces to put a stop to the vicious cycle. I don't WANT to have credit available to us -- we've proven time and time again that we don't make good decisions with it. We've had no real boundaries and that has allowed way too many stupid emotional decisions to be made.

      I wish you & your family all the best as you get your new beginning.

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