I filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and in my statement of intent I stated that I intended to keep and reaffirm my car debt. My car lender never gave me a reaffirmation agreement during the bankruptcy. And now the bankruptcy has closed. Now they are trying to repossess the car unless I pay it off completely. I want to continue the payments. What can I do?
It's too late to file a reaffirmation agreement. Whether your state's law allows a lender to declare a default simply because of a bankruptcy is something that only a CA lawyer can answer. Since you aren't mentioning an attorney, I have to assume you didn't have one. I wish everyone who contemplates filing bankruptcy pro-se could read the COUNTLESS questions on this forum where people end up with massive problems from treating this complex process as a DIY project. [I've got to check and see whether any of surgeons who answer questions on AVVO are giving instructions for DIY appendectomies. I kind of doubt it.] An experienced attorney would have known whether reaffirmation was really necessary with your particular lender in your particular state and would have found a way to make it happen if it was necessary.
If the car lender is agreeable, it is still possible to enter into a reaffirmation agreement. You will have to reopen the case for the purpose of filing a reaffirmation agreement. Then you will have to move to vacate the Chapter 7 discharge. Once that is done, it is possible to file the reaffirmation agreement. The Court can thereafter enter a new Chapter 7 discharge for you.
Contrary to what Mr. Oney has stated, you can reopen your case and file a reaffirmation. The Bankruptcy code says the reaffirmation agreement maybe filed if you waive certain rights.
I have done this multiple times.
As a side note, if your case is closed, the court may ask you to pay the full filing fee. We ask the fee to be waived and it usually works when you are reopening for the sole purpose of filing a reaffirmation agreement.
Move quickly. They have the right to repossess whether you missed payments or not.
I suggest an attorney who has done this and can help you through the process.
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Please contact me directly with document for a free 30 minute consultation to get more concrete advice. This is not legal advice. I don't have enough information to give actual legal advice. I can only take the limited information presented and provide a framework to know how your situation may turn out. I may have questions that bring up issues you did not think were important but make a big difference.
I'm seeing this happen more and more in BK situations, as banks are desperate to get any assets they can from anyone at any time. If the vehicle is not "under water" it's probably best to sell it right away before bank repossesses it. While there may be other options, they may be too risky, as the bank may well have the definition of "default" in your contract as filing BK. Have your documents looked at by your BK counsel or some other consumer protection atty quickly and make a move before the bank does.
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