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We have just filed Bankruptcy. Would like to file Divorce. Then refinance my home. Is that possible?

Fredericksburg, VA |

I want to stay in my home. I am afriad I will not be able to live. I have a job x 35 years make $65,000.00. House apraisal $214,000.00. Owe $299,000.00. I don't have a typical mortgage - it's a Equilty Line Mortgage with Wachovia now Wells Fargo. In my husbands drunken state he signed us up for it. I have no idea what that is. Can you steer me in the right direction ?

I also want to file for Divorce.

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Attorney answers 4


Filing bankruptcy won't prevent you from filing for divorce but I am afraid applying for a new mortgage immediately after your bankruptcy ends might not get you the result you desire. The criteria for obtaining mortgages has tightened and you owe more against the property than it is worth. You may want to have a conversation with Wells Fargo to provide you with more information about your mortgage terms and to see if you can qualify for a modification to reduce your interest rate or to increase the term of this loan. If it were me, I would be considering walking away from a situation where you are this underwater, but you must make your own decisions. Hope this perspective helps!


Attorney Bunce gave you an outstanding answer, one has nothing to do with the other absent the refinance issue. Please chat wtih a local attny and they will help with the specifics. take care.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


Getting a desirable refinance on a home that is that far underwater would likely be difficult, especially just after you file bankruptcy. You might speak with Wells Fargo about a loan modification. Although loan mods are often tricky and time consuming (both in time it takes to fill out the necessary paperwork and documents and the length of the process) to maneuver through, your attorney and the bank should be able to guide you. You can "stay and pay" now that you have filed bankruptcy: continue making mortgage payments, stay current, and not formally reaffirm the debt. With the stay and pay arrangement you would be able to walk away from your underwater house at any time since the debt would have been discharged in the bankruptcy. This is certainly something that you should be discussing with your attorney.


An attorney will require more information from you to answer your question in detail: What kind of bankruptcy case did you file? Joint or individual? How is title to the property held? Where are you procedurally in the bankruptcy case? Has the real property been abandoned by the bankruptcy trustee in a chapter 7 case? Are you trying to cure a default on the loan in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case? Did your husband forge your signature to the equity line documents?

The big picture questions are whether you are able to deal with your real property while your bankruptcy case is pending, without obtaining court approval or relief from the automatic stay, and whether you first need to seek relief from the automatic stay in bankruptcy to proceed with your divorce case.

I refer you to my blawg, "The Interplay Between Bankruptcy and Divorce Law in Virginia" for the answers to more specific questions:

I also encourage you to seek out a consultation with a divorce lawyer of your choice to discuss your situation in detail.

The foregoing is intended to be general legal information. You should consult with a Virginia attorney to discuss all your options in light of your particular circumstances.

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