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How long after claiming bankrutpcy can you get credit again and will I have to repay my debt? Can they put a lien on my home?

Coral Springs, FL |

I have many creditors that have recently sent me notices to appear in court for nonpayment of my debt.I did not got to court as I didn't have any money to pay them at the time.
I own a condo and just recently started getting back on my feet fiancially. My husband has been unemployed for over 1 1/2 years. I am also on SSDI but starting to work again. I was very fortunate to be able to restructure my mortgage so it is now much more affortable for us. Although now I want to try to fix my credit and I am not sure that Bankruptcy would be the best option and I keep hearing debt consolidation is even worse on your credit score. We eventually want to be able to buy a house and move out of our too small condo. How long does it take to be credit worthy enough to buy a house after Bankrutcy?

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Attorney answers 2


First and most important, a judgment lien can NOT attach to your homestead. No matter what. As long as you live in the condo, it is untouchable.

Second, your credit has most likely been thoroughly trashed--missed payments on credit cards, judgments either already or soon to be entered. Judgments remain on your credit report for 10 years. So does a bankruptcy filing. Either way you decide to go, you will have to contend with that.

Third, these are very, very different times than June, 2008. In June, 2008 I could tell my clients that all things being equal with non-bankruptcy applicants--job stability, same income, same down payment, etc.--that a person would be able to get a mortgage about 2 years after the bankruptcy discharge. Then, as you know, all heck broke loose in the financial world and there are plenty of people with wonderful credit scores who still can not get a mortgage or loan. The financial marketplace is still unsteady and unstable. Who knows if anyone will ever get a loan again, as we are not out of the woods. See the situation in Europe, the expected foreclosure rate for commercial properties, continued high unemployment--these are not times that anyone can predict or anticipate.

If a judgment is entered against you, it does not touch the house, but it could still affect your ability to sell it. That is because the title insurance companies may not want to issue title insurance unless you pay the judgments off. There are procedures in place for you to deal with that, but you must implement them early on in the process, or even before you sign a contract to sell. The procedures are not complicated but they take time, which can impact a sale. If you don't go into bankruptcy, take a look on-line at Chapter 222 Florida Statutes and see...I am home so forgive me if I do not get the # correct, but I believe it is 222.11 or so, how you can do what it takes to get the title insurance companies happy.

A bankruptcy discharge is an order that relieves you from having to pay a debt--ever.

In theory, bankruptcy should be a last resort, but....when you look at the cost of paying off the debts vs. the cost of a bankruptcy, far less $$ will be spent getting the bankruptcy. And, you may not need an attorney--there are "bankruptcy petition preparers" [think paralegals but without attorney supervision] who do excellent work preparing your paperwork for you. They are not lawyers, can not go to court with you, speak for you, but they can prepare the paperwork, and the cost runs $250.00 - $400.00 for their services.

There are many, many factors which go into a decision too seek bankruptcy relief, including the fact that if something else comes up in your life that you would not be able to file again for many years. You really need to sit down with an attorney to go into all the details of your financial situation. Most attorneys do not charge a consultation fee, and the discussion would be much more focused than an answer on a website.

Good luck to you.


Once you get a discharge in a bankruptcy case you will immediately get credit card offers in the mail. You should be able to purchase a home within 2 to 4 years after your discharge. Of course there are many other considerations besides the bankruptcy filing such as income and the credit scores of those signing for the mortgage. Whether or not you must repay some or all of your debt really depends on your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. You should see a bankruptcy attorney to evaluate the situation. I don't know the answer to the question about putting a lien on your home because I'm not a Florida attorney. I would recommend that you use an attorney to file a bankruptcy case rather than doing it yourself or hiring a petition preparer. A petition preparer will only fill out the forms for you. She will not be able to advise you on any issues or even tell you which type of bankruptcy to file. If you can't afford an attorney contact your local bar association. I do not think bankruptcy is a last resort. I think it is a great option for many people given that they meet certain criteria. Good luck.

Alon Nager
Russack Associates, LLC
100 Severn Ave., Ste. 101, Annapolis, MD 21403

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.