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The Initial Steps to Take When Considering Filing for Bankruptcy

Interviewer: What are the initial steps or the process?  I mean where exactly does one start?

Brad Weil: You have to determine the amount of your debt, you have to determine the nature of your debt, you have to determine your income and you have to determine your expenses.  Now, like I said, if you don’t have disposable income, if your expenses exceed your income, you won’t qualify for Chapter 13 because you won’t be able to afford the plan payments, you probably have to do a Chapter 7.  And if you exceed the debt limits, then you aren’t going to be able to do a Chapter 13 because you don’t qualify, so you probably going to have to do a Chapter 11 and that gets expensive.

Can I Use My Certificate of Counseling to Stop My Hearing?

Is my Certificate of Counseling before I file my actual petition for bankruptcy something I can use to STOP MY HEARING?

I am scheduled to have a hearing tomorrow as a defendant in a civil action In my case, the plaintiffs seek money to collect a debt and obtain a judgment. Is the certificate able to prevent the hearing or do I need to file the petition to do this?


In order to qualify as a debtor in bankruptcy you must take a credit counseling class and file a credit counseling certificate with the court at the beginning of the case.  This requirement has no bearing on your relationship with your creditors and the fact that you took the class will not stop any legal action against you.  The filing of the bankruptcy stops all legal action against you and your property due to the automatic stay.  In order to be eligible to file bankruptcy you must first take the credit counseling class and file the credit counseling certificate.  You must also take a 2nd class called debtor education (or financial management) before you are eligible for a discharge (which is a permanent injunction to paying back a debt)

Can We Refinance Before 7 Years After a Foreclosure

Question:  Is it true that we can’t refinance our home until seven years after a foreclosure?

We lost a rental property six years ago. Our credit scores now are in the 740 range, and we are anxious to take advantage of lower rates since our mortgage rate is 5.75%. Other than the foreclosure, our credit is perfect.

Answer: As foreclosures surged, the agencies that buy most mortgages increased the amount of time troubled borrowers had to spend in the “penalty box” before being allowed another mortgage.  

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still have a seven-year waiting period after foreclosures. But that has been shortened to three years when borrowers can prove “extenuating circumstances,” such as a prolonged job loss or big medical expenses. Waiting times for other negative events, such as bankruptcy or short sale, have been reduced to two years with extenuating circumstances. Otherwise, it’s four years.

There are other loan programs that are even more forgiving. For example, the FHA has a three-year waiting period that can be shortened to one year if borrowers participate in its “Back to Work” program, which requires they document a significant loss of household income, that their finances have fully recovered from the event and that they’ve completed housing counseling. The Veterans Administration, meanwhile, makes loans available one