Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

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Preparing for BK after recent new vehicle purchase

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  • Question: Preparing for BK after recent new vehicle purchase

    First post here. After many years of attempting to dig out of debt, I've faced the realization that I cannot possibly do this any longer. Our struggles started in 2004 after my husband had a terrible accident. Through multiple surgeries and rehab, he was out of work for almost 2 years. During that time we had a 2 year old and my income was less than $40k. We relied heavily on credit to get through those years. We also had about $50k in student loans to pay off (we did, took almost 10 years!). Even with insurance, medical bills piled up. When we were short, I'd open a new card or loan and transfer them. That's how it started. In recent years we've had more medical problems and bills and along with the ever increasing credit card debt we just cannot afford to make the payments anymore. My first late payment for a CC was last month.

    Because of our money situation, I drove a 2002 Honda for the past 14 years. This past May it failed inspection and could not be repaired. After searching for used vehicles, I decided that I was going to buy something new and enjoy it for a change. I ended up with a new Honda Pilot that cost almost 40k. My husbands car is not reliable and we needed a reliable vehicle. We are a family of five that has to travel a lot! My life is spent shuttling kids everywhere and my commute for work is about 40 minutes. It just didn't make sense to me to buy another unreliable used car to sink money into.

    Fast forward a few months and I find myself considering bk. This really didn't enter my mind when I bought the car. I planned to pay and juggle as usual. Only after more recent unplanned issues (my husband losing hours at work) have I been realizing that it's time. Our combined income is over 11k per month but we owe about $130k of debt. Our monthly cc and loan debt payments without the car payment is about $3300. We also owe about 9k in new medical bills.

    I met with one lawyer and plan to meet with at least one more. I was told that in MA the new car will have to be included in the bk but that I can continue to make payments and keep the Pilot. He said the car cannot be taken as long as I continue to pay on time. Can anyone here verify this to be true?

    We have no other luxuries, properties, etc. Our home and the new Pilot are all that I'm concerned about.

    Will the fact that I have a new vehicle be held against me in any way? The first lawyer made me feel bad about buying the Pilot. He asked why I didn't buy a reliable used car for $10k.

    Thank you in advance for any help. I'm sure to have more questions as I move forward.

    Cheryl T.

  • #2

    Yes, you can keep the car if you keep the payments current, if an attorney in your state said you can. My understanding is that in some states, if you don't reaffirm the debt, the lender can repo even if you do keep payments current, but I don't think I have ever heard of that happening. The lender would rather have you pay the loan off than repo the car.

    The fact that you have a new vehicle will not be a problem. It is very common to buy a new car before filing bankruptcy. I bought one a month before I filed Chap 13 and then most of my plan payment went to pay off the car instead of to unsecured creditors. Nobody said a word.

    If you are current on payments, the car might be an issue if you file Chap 7 and have non exempt equity in the car on the date you file, or if you file Chap 13 and the car payment somehow makes it impossible for you to present a feasible plan that you can afford. If you could comfortably make the car payment if not for your credit card payments, that's not likely to be an issue.
    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!


    • #3
      Thank you! I was told that Massachusetts law prevents a creditor from taking a vehicle that's being paid for. From what I'm finding online it seems to be true. It just seems TOO good to be true. I'm not sure if we'll pass the means test for chapter 7 but the first lawyer said that it may be possible. If the credit card and loan payments are taken away, we can afford it easily. As I said, we're paying about $3,300 per month to the credit accounts. The car payment is almost $600.

      I also know that I have to stop paying the credit accounts now. This is the most difficult part I'm struggling with! I missed the first payment on one and it's only 7 days past due. I'm canceling all my my automatic payments and it's terrifying. I need to come to terms with this quickly. It does help reading about the experiences of others here! Thank you again for taking the time to reply!


      • #4
        There are somethings in BK that seem too good to be true, just like there are things that seem unfair.

        Paying on credit card debt after you have decided to file BK is throwing away money. There is nothing to be afraid of. The worse thing that will happen is your phone ringing.
        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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