Motion for Relief – Behind on Mortgage Payments while in a Chapter 13
What happens if I get behind on mortgage payments while I am in a Chapter 13?
You made the decision to file a bankruptcy and decided to keep you home. You file a Chapter 13 and are making your mortgage payments and your Chapter 13 plan payments as scheduled. Something comes up and you get several months behind on the post-petition mortgage payments. Now what? Several things will happen…
First is that the attorney for the mortgage company will likely contact your attorney let you know that payments are delinquent. If this happens, the attorney should contact you advising you that payments needs to be brought current. However, this step of a “warning” from the mortgage company is not required and does not always happen.
The next step (often times the first step), is that the mortgage company’s attorney will file a Motion for Relief with the court in your bankruptcy case. Essentially this is the mortgage company bringing notice to the court that you are delinquent on post-petition payments on your mortgage. They are also asking the court to grant the mortgage company relief from the automatic stay. In short, the mortgage company wants permission to be able to continue with a foreclosure process even though you are in a bankruptcy due to being delinquent.
The motion for relief will set out a hearing date. 7 days prior to that hearing date a response must be filed by you or your attorney (if you are represented) stating your intentions, whether you intend to become current on the mortgage, etc. If not response is filed, the motion for relief will automatically be granted to the mortgage company 7 days before the hearing.
1. Become Current: Respond to the motion and become current on post-petition mortgage payments before the hearing
2. Stipulation Agreement: Depending on how far behind you are on your mortgage, you can ask the mortgage company to allow you to enter into a stipulation agreement. This stipulation agreement usually requires some sort of down payment and spread the delinquent post-petition mortgage payments out over 6 months. This may sound like a great option, however, be aware that you now have 1) ongoing mortgage payments, 2) chapter 13 plan payments, and 3) a stipulation payment.
3. Surrender the home: If at this point you realize you cannot maintain payments on the mortgage, you can allow the Motion for Relief to be granted and surrender the home through the bankruptcy.
The decision to file bankruptcy and the decisions related to any motion for relief in a bankruptcy are important and should not be made based on this article. You should seek legal advice before making a decision.