For struggling homeowners in South Carolina facing the imminent threat of foreclosure, Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers a glimmer of hope. This legal debt repayment plan allows debtors to reorganize their finances and create a manageable payment plan over three to five years. However, the question remains: can Chapter 13 bankruptcy actually stop foreclosure proceedings in South Carolina? In this blog, we will explore the details of Chapter 13 bankruptcy and how it may provide a lifeline to homeowners facing foreclosure in the Palmetto State.
Understanding Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as a “wage earner’s plan,” allows individuals to restructure their debts and create a court-approved repayment plan. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which liquidates assets to discharge debts, Chapter 13 focuses on establishing an affordable repayment schedule. This allows homeowners to keep their properties while catching up on missed mortgage payments over time.
One of the most significant advantages of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the automatic stay. As soon as a debtor files for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect, preventing creditors, including mortgage lenders, from pursuing collection actions. This means that foreclosure proceedings must come to a halt temporarily, providing homeowners with breathing space to devise a plan to address their debts.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a viable option for homeowners who have a reliable source of income and are committed to fulfilling the repayment plan. The debtor can propose a repayment plan that includes missed mortgage payments, spreading them out over the duration of the bankruptcy. As long as the debtor adheres to the plan and continues to make regular mortgage payments, the lender cannot proceed with foreclosure.
Protection from Secondary Liens
Another advantage of Chapter 13 bankruptcy in South Carolina is that it allows homeowners to address secondary liens, such as home equity loans or second mortgages. Through a process called “lien stripping,” these junior liens can be reclassified as unsecured debts and potentially discharged upon successful completion of the repayment plan.
Cramdown of automobile loans.
Another advantage is that car loans that of atleast 910 days, can be valued down or crammed down to the current value of the collateral. This often can save a Debtor thousands of dollars.
Requirements and Eligibility
To qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in South Carolina, homeowners must meet specific criteria. These requirements include having a steady income that allows them to create a feasible repayment plan. Additionally, the total unsecured debts must not exceed a certain limit, currently around $419,275, and secured debts must not exceed approximately $1,257,850 (as of September 2021).
- Seeking an Attorney
Navigating bankruptcy laws can be complex, and Chapter 13 is no exception. To increase the likelihood of a successful bankruptcy case and foreclosure prevention, homeowners are strongly advised to seek the guidance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. A skilled attorney can help debtors understand their rights, negotiate with creditors, and develop a repayment plan tailored to their financial circumstances.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy can indeed offer struggling homeowners in South Carolina a lifeline to halt foreclosure proceedings and save their homes. By taking advantage of the automatic stay and creating a manageable repayment plan, individuals can work towards a more stable financial future. However, it is crucial to meet the eligibility criteria and seek professional legal advice to ensure the best possible outcome in these challenging times.
Please call to set up a free consultation if you would like to learn more about the benefits of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We have offices in Columbia, Greenville, and Florence but we can help all South Carolinians to include people from Charleston and Spartanburg.