Try hiring a consumer attorney, especially one familiar with your type of situation. You should have hired one earlier and you might have been in a better position now, but better late than never.
At this point, your choices of attorneys seem to be bankruptcy attorney or consumer rights attorney. It may be too late to change the outcome of the court case, but a consumer debt defense attorney may find a way to challenge the judgment and strengthen your negotiating position. Try www.naca.net to locate a consumer attorney near you.
Skaar & Feagle, LLP maintains offices in Marietta (770 427 5600) and Decatur (404 373 1970), Georgia. The information ("the answer") provided above is for general information and educational purposes only. The answer should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Posting the question and reviewing the answer does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. My firm will ask you to sign a written contract prior to the commencement of representation in any attorney-client relationship. Please contact 770 427 5600 or 404 373 1970, if you wish to discuss your situation further. Skaar & Feagle, LLP accepts select consumer rights cases. These cases include, but are not limited to, cases of abusive and unlawful collection activity, debt defense, credit reporting of false or obsolete (old) information, high interest lenders (title pawns, payday loans), debt management plans, and fraud or unfair practices in the sale and financing of automobiles.
I am assuming that a personal deficiency judgment was entered against you as part of the foreclosure. Under Illinois law, the only way a plaintiff can properly get such a judgment is if there is personal service (unless an appearance is on file in the foreclosure action). Our appellate court has interpreted the phrase “personal service” in this context to include substituted service as well (which occurs when the sheriff or process server leaves a copy of the complaint and summons at the defendant's usual place of abode with a person of the family or a person residing there who is at least 13 and apprises that person of the contents and also mails a copy to the defendant). Here’s a link to some helpful information as to exemption rights: http://www.illinoisprobono.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_content&contentID=297. You may want to sit down with an attorney and all relevant documents to discuss. Hope this helps. Good luck!
Robert T. Kuehl
Kuehl Law, P.C.