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Feels Like I'm Playing Russian Routette With Only 1 Chamber Empty.

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  • Feels Like I'm Playing Russian Routette With Only 1 Chamber Empty.

    Hi I new to the forum.

    I live in North Carolina. My wife and I are separated and will divorce in April of 2018. I have had to file for Emergency Custody of our 7 year old daughter, which I was granted Sole Custody, with supervised visitation from my wife. Currently I owe approx. $32,000 in unsecured debt. I have talked to an attorney and he states that I am a candidate for bankruptcy. I have approx. $7000 in the bank. I'm not behind, but I'm struggling to maintain. I also have a home loan of approx. $128,000. My attorney is advising that we can file Dec.1, for me to spend the $7000.00 by then, to not cash my paychecks, stop making payments including the home loan and relax. Looking at my budget is takes approx. $2400 a month for my household expenses, which includes my home loan. That isn't including fuel, groceries, dining and such. I would guess around $3000 for the month total. The attorney fees are going to be around $2400, so that would leave me with $4600 to get to Dec. 1, which is about 45 days, at this point. He's saying don't make the house payment, so that drops the monthly to approx. $2000. He also keeps saying "Relax", I don't know if I can!!! I'm trying to save my house. Having the unsecured debt is depressing, but what is about to happen is stressful. Is there anybody, in NC, that can talk me through this? I feel like I playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun.

  • #2
    Welcome to BKforum! We can talk you through some of this virtually. If you need somebody to talk to about managing your anxiety, find a referral to a therapist. If you don't know where to look, trying calling a local crises hotline for some immediate telephone counseling and for a referral.

    Some anxiety at this point is normal. Bankruptcy can be stressful, but most of the stress comes from fear. If you are honest in your bankruptcy filing and have a good attorney, there is nothing to be afraid of. Learn more about the process by reading here and elsewhere and asking questions about anything you don't understand. One thing I suggest you focus on is reading about NC Bankruptcy Exemptions so you can determine how much cash you can actually have on the day you file if you file a Chap 7. If you file Chap 13, you can keep your assets as long as your plan pays at least the value of non-exempt assets to unsecured creditors during the 3 to 5 year plan. You can read about NC exemptions at

    I suggest you consult with another bankruptcy attorney or two and discuss what this attorney has advised. Maybe he has something else in mind, but it sounds like the attorney is telling you to hold on to your pay checks and not report them as an asset when you file BK. Then he wants you to not pay your mortgage in order to make the $7,000 last until you file. It makes sense to stop paying your unsecured debt if you know you will file BK, but, if you want to keep your home and file Chap 7, missing a mortgage payment doesn't usually make sense. I guess his plan is that you will cash the paychecks after you file BK and get the mortgage caught up. Not reporting uncashed checks as assets in your BK petition is fraud. It is not worth committing fraud to save assets in a Chap 7 or avoid a Chap 13 in which you can keep your non exempt assets. If you hide assets and get caught, you would probably be forever barred from getting a bankruptcy discharge on your current debt.

    Fortunately, it sounds like you have plenty of time to make sure you get good advice before moving forward.

    We might be able to give you some perspective on your situation with a little more detail. What is your gross annual income? Are you and your daughter the only current members of your household? How much equity do you have in your home? Do you have a car? What is it worth and how much if anything do you owe on it? Do you have any other significant assets. Is the attorney you spoke to a bankruptcy attorney and is he recommending a Chap 7?
    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

      He says that I can protect up to 2 months of salary. He will be reporting my pay checks. I guess he is telling me not to cash them in order to keep me from using them. As for the not paying the mortgage, he says that I can protect up to $35,000 in value of the home. I owe $128,000 and the quick sale value is $157,000, so I'm in that window. I guess I would catch back up on the loan when I file on Dec. 1, which will only be 1 month behind and I would have the cash in hand cause I would be able to cash the checks. I think I'm filing Chpt. 7 cause he isn't mentioning making structured payments, which would be Chpt. 13, right?

      My gross annual income should be around $60,000. Yes, my daughter and I are the only members of our household. According to the data I have about $25,000 in equity, which gets me within the $35,000 protection window. I own a car and it's paid for. It is valued at $3500, which is also protected according to the attorney. He is a bankruptcy attorney.


      • #4
        In that case, it sounds like you are in good hands. I am glad my assumptions were incorrect!

        Yes, it does sound like you would be a Chap 7 since your attorney says your assets can be exempted once you spend that $7,000 and your income is under the median income for for a family of 2 in NC, which is $57,573.69.

        Try not to worry too much. You are going through a lot of changes in your life right now, so I know that is easier said than done. Use some of that $7,000 for a session or two with a therapist. It can't hurt to talk through some of these emotions you are having. Maybe you will discover that those chambers are actually all empty.

        You are also always welcome to vent here.

        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!


        • #5
          Since I would be filing so fast, would I have to spend all the $7000? He is saying Dec.1, which is about 45 days. I wouldn't have 60 days worth of payroll checks. So would I have to spend all of that?

          And according to the Means Test, I do qualify for Chpt. 7.


          • #6
            I am not familiar with NC exemptions, but if it is a payroll exemption, it probably doesn't apply to money you already have in savings. Ask your attorney if you have to spend the entire $7,000 or whether some of it can be exempted.

            Keep in mind that the consequences of not spending all of the $7,000 is that you may have to turn over what you don't spend to the trustee. If you can't wait to file until you can spend it all, it will be a small price to pay for a discharge of your debt. But, I can't imagine not being able to find something to spend it on!
            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!


            • #7
              I don't think I will have that much trouble. The way I'm figuring it is that I'll have to spend about $3000 on things that isn't household bills. I concerned about being view a frivolous spending. Can I double up on my house hold bills? In other words can I pay some of my utilities twice? I meet with my attorney tomorrow and plan on asking him the same questions.
              Last edited by BRK1442; 10-19-2017, 02:43 PM.


              • #8
                Well it has started. I file on Dec. 1. Now just to spend about $80 to $90 a day until then.


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