Retrieving Your Repossessed Car in Bankruptcy Skip to main content

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Retrieving Your Repossessed Car in Bankruptcy


In an era of extreme economic downturns and rising unemployment, having a car at your disposal has never been more necessary for work, job interviews and providing other basic fiscal needs…even as you consider a personal bankruptcy.

Yet, if you’re on the road to bankruptcy, these same economic issues and employment woes can mean you may have fallen behind on your most recent car payments, leaving your precious vehicle as a prime target for repossession by your car’s creditors. And while your bankruptcy filing’s “automatic stay” suspends a creditor’s ability to repossess most assets, you may be wondering what happens when your car is taken prior to your filing.

As with most things in bankruptcy, whether you can get your car back from your creditors largely depends on your ability to act quickly, diligently and with a purpose.

Once your vehicle has been repossessed, it is absolutely vital that you immediately seek the assistance of a qualified bankruptcy attorney, informing the attorney of the status of your car and that you need to file bankruptcy right away. While the repossession was likely caused by an inability to afford your car payment, this first, best step to get your car back through bankruptcy will require that you have enough funds to pay your attorney, the bankruptcy court filing costs, as well as the requisite credit counseling fees.

Another potential challenge, comes in the form of one word: paperwork. As time is of the essence to save your car, you must be able to provide instant information about your current financial situation so that you can file quickly and without any hidden loopholes. Typically, you will have ten days between the date of your car’s repossession to the time that the creditor actually sells the car. As a result, you and your lawyer will need to move fast.

Once you file for bankruptcy, it’s important to note that any further creditor action is stopped by the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay.  While the automatic stay also means that the creditor cannot sell the car once you file, it does not assure the return of your vehicle. But take heart: for a pre-petition repossession, most bankruptcy courts have procedures by which a debtor whose car was repossessed may be allowed to get the vehicle back once the bankruptcy case is filed, including the potential that the debtor will be required to pay back possession and storage fees accrued in the interim, provide proof of car insurance, and have money on-hand to pay the various court and repossession fees.  In all cases, though, the process is neither cheap, nor easy: something the bankruptcy bound individual may always want to avoid.

So, to avoid any headaches, hassles or hardships the best rule of thumb is, if you are going to file bankruptcy, do so before your car gets repossessed.  In short, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you not only conquer your creditors and face your financial fears, but also keep a much-needed car, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— to keep you moving (literally and figuratively) in your fiscally-viable future.  The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to +1-919-646-2654, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button and let these experts take the wheel to so you can start down the road to your next best financial steps.

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