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Reaffirmation Hearing (Auto) - what to expect???

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  • Reaffirmation Hearing (Auto) - what to expect???

    Hey everyone - I have my reaffirmation hearing tomorrow at 10 am for my car. I know that many of the threads recommend against reaffirming car loans but for me, I can't afford to get a new car and, while my car was overpriced to begin with, I love it and only have 12 more months of payments on it.

    My question is what can I expect from the hearing? I'm a pro se filer and my re-aff paperwork shows that I can definitely afford my payments on the car. I have not been late on a payment since Sept '09 and have paid early the last three months. Just wondering what to expect from the hearing, what info I should bring along (if any) and what your experiences were?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    I wanted you to have a reply before your hearing! Good luck to you!

    It should be a piece of cake. The judge will ask you if you can afford the car - you tell him (short & sweet) why you can reiterating the fact that you only have 12 months to go on the contract. He will then let you know what he thinks. Personally, if I were doing this today, I would bring the latest statement you have from your lender - oh, and some photo ID.

    If you are rejected for reaffirmation by the judge, most lenders will let you keep the car and keep on paying for it. I hear Ford Motor Credit is evil and will only let you keep your car if you reaffirm it.

    Let us know how it goes!!

    ~~ Filed Over Median Income Chapter 7: 12/17/2010 ~~ 341 Held: 1/12/2011 ~~ Discharged: 03/16/2011 ~~
    Not an attorney - just an opinionated woman.


    • #3
      Hey thank you for your response - I had my hearing and phew! it was easy as anything! I'll post the long version here, too, in case there's anyone else like me who was wondering:

      I got to the courthouse at 8:55 a.m. ( . . . so like an hour early!) and waited outside until 9:00 a.m. when a woman I'm guessing was the judge's assistant (sorry - I'm blanking out on the technical term) opened the doors. I went in along with several lawyers who seemed awfully self-important. Through my eves-dropping I learned that in the vestibule between the courtroom entrance and the waiting area there was the docket so I could've gone to see the order of cases. Wish I would have so I didn't sweat the whole first hour! From 9:15 - 9:45, the judge called Chp. 7 cases for a variety of issues: refiling of schedules, conversions, addressing how to split a joint bankruptcy after a divorce, etc. I was shocked at how much money was being discussed. A pair of lawyers sitting in front of me were whispering about a client who owed $1.4 million plus had three upside properties and several luxury vehicles! Made my $9,000 of credit card debt sound like daisies and butterflies! At 9:45, the judge called recess until the 10 am cases would be heard. I was nervous because no one had gone up for a reaff in the first 1/2 hour and I didn't know where to go, what to say, or who to say it to. Luckily, when the judge came back at 10 am, he opened with a 15 minute speech on how everyone in the next hour was there for reaffirmation agreements. Sounding much like a civics teacher, he explained what a reaffirmation agreement meant and how it was supposed to be used (for things that are secured) and how people attempting to use them incorrectly (for things like furniture or property that you owe more than the worth on) would likely be turned down for their reaffirmation requests. Then the re-aff's began being called.

      I was probably third or fourth after a series of pro se'ers who were upside down in their cars. The judge questioned them pretty tough when they said they were okay with accepting the debt. He wanted to make certain they understood what they were doing. It seemed like none of them had their reaffirmation agreements with them, which I thought was pretty foolish. The woman right before me bought a 2011 Mercedes FOUR DAYS before filing for bankruptcy and was trying to reaffirm $45,000. The judge was pretty annoyed with her. Then he called my name and I walked up to the podium.

      Judge: "State your name"
      Me: "<my name>"
      Judge: "You are the debtor?"
      Me: "Yes, sir,"
      Judge: "You're hear to reaffirm your 2005 Dodge Durango, is that correct?"
      Me: "Yes, sir,"
      Judge: "How much do you think you owe?"
      Me: "On July 19th, I owed $6,725. Since then I have made the required monthly payments and presently owe $5,792."
      Judge: "And how much do you think the car is worth?"
      Me: "As stated on the reaffirmation documents, TD Auto Finance lists the car as being worth $10,400,"
      Judge: "You understand this means you owe LESS than the car is worth, correct?"
      Me: (slightly confused) " . . .Yes, sir?"
      Judge: (to the courtroom) "THIS is what reaffirmation agreements are meant to be used for," (to me) "Do you wish to re-affirm the debt?"
      Me: "Yes, please,"
      Judge: "Motion is hereby granted. Court will note in the case file that reaffirmation agreement is accepted. You are free to leave,"
      Me: "Thank you, sir,"

      I high-tailed it out of there happy as a clam! I stopped by the Clerk of Court to officially file my post-341 credit counseling form and headed back to work.

      Day 60 is FRIDAY!!


      • #4
        This reaffirmation thing is new to me.... I bought a 2010 vehicle in May after my old car took a dump. I owe about 21K, but KBB says the trade in value is 14K. Im filing Ch13.

        My initial petition said I would be reaffirming the debt. I havent questioned it yet, but I will. Will I be reaffirming the 21K or the 14K? My car is purchased too recently to qualify for a cram down. Can I just keep paying the payment without reaffirming? So confused!
        10/27/11 - Filed Ch13 ------ 2/27/12 - Conversion to Non-Consumer Ch7 ----6/11/12 - Discharged!


        • #5
          Whoever you have you car loan through should provide the terms & details of the reaffirmation agreement. Either they will or their lawyers, I should say. You reaffirm the amount you owe. The judge I met with today was pretty critical of people with brand new cars and/or people who were upside down (owing more than the value). If you have an attorney, he or she is responsible for certifying the agreement then submitting it to the court. Since I filed pro se, I had to attend the hearing. The judge has the option to request a hearing if he or she has an issue with the attorney-approved agreement. Be prepared for some grilling - the judge today was not sugar coating it for anyone

          You are required to reaffirm if you want to keep your vehicle - new bankruptcy laws as of '05. Even if your attorney does not certify and the judge denies your request to reaffirm, I'ce heard of people keeping their cars by working one-on-one with their creditors.

          Hope that answers some of your questions. Good luck!
          Last edited by worldgirl28; 10-18-2011, 06:19 PM.


          • #6
            Awesome post, worldgirl28!! So glad it went smoothly for you!!
            ~~ Filed Over Median Income Chapter 7: 12/17/2010 ~~ 341 Held: 1/12/2011 ~~ Discharged: 03/16/2011 ~~
            Not an attorney - just an opinionated woman.


            • #7
              The old car had 100K+ miles and transmission issues. New car is used, 48K miles. Nothing super fancy about it. Bought it for roughly what it was worth, but BK wants trade-in value, so of course its going to be underwater, haha. I bought in May, before my lawsuit. Pmt is under 400 a month. I have no problem justifying it. It will be interesting to hear what happens...
              10/27/11 - Filed Ch13 ------ 2/27/12 - Conversion to Non-Consumer Ch7 ----6/11/12 - Discharged!


              • #8
                THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!
                I have my reaffirmation hearing at 8:30 tomorrow morning and I am about to crawl out of my skin and vomit!! I'm going pro se and used the Nolo book. Other than this forum, which I am beyond grateful for, I have zero support or help. I'm married and filing alone thanks to a crazy previous employer that got away with firing me for a medical emergency 3 years ago this month. Haven't been able to find a job for 3 years thanks to her and her infamous slander!! Anyways..... I spent two months researching Chapter 7 and getting all the necessary info together and filed in December. Made it through my 341, barely thanks to anxiety, and everything is paid and approved just have to wait now!! Then I got the letter requesting a reaffirmation of my husband's car. Apparently the awesome dealer put the car in MY name instead of being the cosigner, paperwork says I'm the cosigner but according to Wells Fargo I'm the owner. It's the only car we have, mine was surrendered a year ago, it's worth $27,000 and he owes $15,000. Wells Fargo is fine with the agreement but since I'm pro se I have to go to the hearing. I'm scared to death that due to the equity in the vehicle they will turn the agreement down and take it to pay off my debt. Which I'm sure is really not a concern but since i'm walking into the unknown I assume the worst! I have no clue what's going to happen or what I may need and frantically searching for some kind of idea when I saw your post. HUGE sigh of momentary relief, thank you!!


                • #9
                  No vomiting allowed! LOL

                  Joking aside,I am glad this made you feel better. If you have that much equity, I would hope it would not be an issue for you - just like the OP had no issue. Good luck!
                  ~~ Filed Over Median Income Chapter 7: 12/17/2010 ~~ 341 Held: 1/12/2011 ~~ Discharged: 03/16/2011 ~~
                  Not an attorney - just an opinionated woman.


                  • #10
                    The reaffirmation agreement should not have anything to do with the trustee wanting the vehicle.

                    Were you able to exempt the equity? If so - that should not be an issue.

                    Originally posted by HateThis View Post
                    I'm scared to death that due to the equity in the vehicle they will turn the agreement down and take it to pay off my debt. Which I'm sure is really not a concern but since i'm walking into the unknown I assume the worst! I have no clue what's going to happen or what I may need and frantically searching for some kind of idea when I saw your post. HUGE sigh of momentary relief, thank you!!
                    Not an attorney, and never played one on tv. My responses are based on my own experiences & personal opinions.)


                    • #11
                      I got lucky. My Judge denied the re-affirmation agreement but issued an order forbidding Ally from reposessing the car as long as I made timely payments and maintained insurance. He called it a "Chimm" order.


                      • #12
                        Any "great" judge will deny your reaffirmation agreement -- especially in cases where State law preempts the repossession for merely filing bankruptcy (the so-called constructive default clause). However, there are circumstances where it is necessary. I will always suggest Redemption first, and then reaffirmation if that's the only way to preserve your transportation.
                        Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
                        Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
                        Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

                        I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ValleYum View Post
                          No vomiting allowed! LOL

                          Joking aside,I am glad this made you feel better. If you have that much equity, I would hope it would not be an issue for you - just like the OP had no issue. Good luck!
                          Thanks! No vomiting occurred luckily! Side note: ValleYum you have been the MOST helpful and encouraging person on this forum. Can't thank you enough for your help, tips, wisdom and most of all encouragement, but THANK YOU!!

                          But the most frustrating 'conclusion' to the hearing ever!! You have the option to do it by phone or in person, I'm a paranoid person so I showed up, just in case. I almost had a heart attack once I walked up and saw it was a full on Law and Order style court room! Construction moved the bankruptcy related hearings to the big central courthouse here, not cool! There were two of us that showed on a 30 person docket. They were working on getting the huge conference call going and couldn't get the phones to come up, apparently the construction knocked the phones out. So after morning rush hour, nightmare drive, $5 for 1 hour to park, sitting in the court room for over an hour (not to mention the anxiety for the past month leading up to this point) and losing a day of pay.....the paralegal came out and said our judge cancelled the hearing. The judge said it would 'be too hard' to spend an hour with the two of us there so we have to reschedule. Ok...since you have to treat all of this the same way you should treat a person that handles your food...all I could do was smile and walk out. But my brain was screaming and wondering what would be so hard about continuing with what you were going to do with 30 people, but with just 2 people?!?!?!?! After all the hard times and frustration this was about my final straw. I just wanted to throw myself on the floor and have a DEFCON level 1 tantrum!! So now I get to wait for the reschedule, yay!

                          Since I'm already word vomiting I'm going to add that I figured out why honesty is so rare these days. I have been making payments on the filing fee once a month. Last week was my third of four and the clerk said it was my last payment. I said I have one more and she refused to listen and just kept saying it's paid off. I called them the next day and literally had to argue with two clerks that I still owed one more payment. They barely listened to what I was saying and each tried to hang up after saying it's paid in full. I finally got one to read the dates of payments from their computer to me. One payment wasn't mine and I finally got their attention. After too much time and arguing they pulled the money orders and realized their cash clerk messed up and put another person's payment on my account. They were astonished that I was being so honest...I was astonished with how much I had to fight with them to be honest!! No way was I going to take or allow another person's payment. We're all there for being broke and I know how devastating it would be if my payment went to someone else. Good thing I'm stubborn, but I finally get why people aren't always honest!! Sorry for word vomiting but these two 'joyful bankruptcy moments' belong together to show the sheer frustration!!!!


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