What you may have heard is that in Cook County, IL, few lenders seek deficiency judgments against the homeowner if the foreclosed property was the homeowner's principal residence. This is generally true for now. Note, however, that the law provides for deficiency judgments. A deficiency, is fought, would be sought after the judicial sale, when the amount of the deficiency is known. Please note that this is not the case for the surrounding IL counties.
With regard to the home equity...
I agree that you should consult a bankruptcy lawyer as soon as possible, so that you can determine if Chapter 13 is an option. Aside from the divorce issues, there are considerations such as whether a viable Chapter 13 plan can be made. Generally speaking, the debtor must have enough income to pay for the mortgage arrearage and current payments.
Both of the previous answers are correct. And of course, regardless of what you stated as your intention on your bankruptcy petition (surrender or reaffirm), you can defend your foreclosure.
If your second question relates to how long you can stay in the property, it depends on the court case load in your area. You likely have 9 months or more before you'd have to move.
Creditors can be liable for damage to debtors for violations of the stay. If the creditor willfully repossesses your furniture despite the stay, that action would be void and the court can order the creditor to return it. You may seek actual damages, punitive damages, attorney's fees and costs, and return of the property for stay violations.
The issue of the creditor's motion is a separate issue. It sounds as if the furniture is secured (like a car when you have a car note), meaning that...
Yes, you can. You'd need to prepare and record a quitclaim deed. Still, I recommend using an attorney just to make sure that it's done correctly. I doubt that it would be very expensive, and it would be worth it for your peace of mind.
(I am an inactive member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia. This answer is not intended as legal advice, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship.)
Employers are not required to give paid vacation, but if you had vacation that was available to you to use on your last day of employment had you not left the company (and it sounds as if you did), you are entitled to be paid for your unused vacation. The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act specifies that an employee who leaves without having taken all vacation time (as well as personal holidays) must be paid the dollar equivalent of the vacation time.
You should contact the IL Dept....
I agree with the previous answer. If you are having no trouble paying the mortgage and you have good credit, you may be able to refinance with another company. The people that you know who stopped paying their mortgage may not have gotten a refinance, but some sort of loan workout as an alternative to foreclosure.
If you are thinking about walking away from the home, you may want to try for a short sale. If you find a willing buyer, perhaps you can sell the home for less than what you owe.
I agree that a real estate lawyer could be helpful to you. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to inquire if the attorney has experience and knowledge in loss mitigation and/or foreclosure as well. Good luck!