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

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What’s my best option?

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  • What’s my best option?

    Here’s the break down. I have about $25,000 in credit card debt. I stopped paying last summer because it was either buy food or make the minimum payments. My husband has $12,000 in credit card debt and he has paid on time always. My debt is only in my name and his only in his name. We each have a car with both of our names on the loans or title. Mine is paid off and his has about $6k left to pay. In Nov. 2016 we sold our house that was titled to both of us. We made about $25k off the sale and $17k went for the down payment of our current home. The rest of the money went to credit card debt and expenses for repairs on new house. Our current house is only in my husbands name because that was the best way to qualify for a low interest rate and get approved. We have never missed a payment. We live in the state of Indiana and the exemption for real estate is $19,300. We can’t double the exemption since I’m not on the title (title company forgot to add me). We owe about $162k and paid $180k. Houses that are exactly like ours in our neighborhood have sold for $190k this past fall and I’m guessing that might rise this spring if not already. We don’t want to lose our house. This is the house we want to stay in and raise our children in.

    We have talked to two attorneys. First one said Chapter 13 to save the house. He said we’d only be in the 3 year plan because of our income. Payment could be around $150. He didn’t recommend Chapter 7 because we risk the house. He said I can’t file Chapter 7 alone because the money from the sale of our last house 1 year and 3 months ago. Half of the equity from the sale is mine and we used it for the new house. He said it’s 4 years until that would go away.

    Second lawyer said said she could put me on the deed of the house and the. We could both use the exemption but she’d have to look into it. She didn’t recommend Chapter 13 and said she rarely does them. She said we would have to pay for 5 years because our payment would be so low. She had me get a fair market analysis from our realtor to get an idea of how much equity we have. This is the email she came back with.

    “My research did not lead me cases specifically on point with your specific situation. I do believe you have an argument that there was no transfer and/or that there were not sufficient badges of fraud in any transfer, but I also understand that you don't want to put the equity in your home at risk whatsoever and I cannot tell you that there would be no risk in filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    I believe the safest option would be to focus on paying your husband's debts and not worry about yours. Keep in mind that if you are sued and there is a judgment entered any bank account with your name can be frozen. In addition, 25% of your net wages can be banished.”

    I have cc with Discover, 5/3, Citi, Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, PayPal, Amazon, Gap, Pottery Barn, Tire Plus. I’ve read Discover is aggressive. It seems very stressful to do nothing and wait. I just started a pt job and if they garnish my wages it would be about the same amount as Chapter 13. We do get a decent tax refund each year and that can be used to pay off my husbands debt but it will take 2-3 years.

    I’m going to ask the second lawyer if Ch 7 is not an option for me. She said I could at the meeting but the first lawyer said no.

    Advice? Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Also, my husband makes enough to pay mortgage, utilities, car payment, and his minimum credit card payments. I work part time and pay for groceries and other necessities.


    • #3
      If it was really an error by the title company, a correcting deed can probably be recorded that basically replaces the first deed so that it does not look like a current transfer. If I were you, I would call the title company and ask them to correct their error.

      I like that the Chap 7 attorney is looking for options, but I don't like the fact that she rarely recommends a Chap 13. It sounds like you need advice from attorneys with experience in both Chap 7 and 13. I suggest you go back to the other attorney and ask his opinion of the deed solution. Also, consult with another attorney or two.
      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!


      • #4
        I just reread your post and now doubt a correcting deed will work. It sounds like the problem is that the title company was supposed to record a new deed immediately after the close of the sale to transfer half the house to you. So it wouldn't be a correction of the original deed. But, I can see why the attorney thinks you might be able to argue that you have an equitable interest in the home since you allowed your share of the proceeds of the first home to be used to purchase the second home with the understanding that you would end up on title to the second home.

        You aren't likely to get any guarantees before filing on whether you can file a Chap 7 without losing the home. If it didn't work, you could probably convert to a Chap 13 as long as that transaction is disclosed. Again, go back to the attorney who recommended Chap 13 and also consult with more attorneys. If you file a Chap 7 but want the option of converting to Chap 13, you should start out with an attorney who regularly does both.
        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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