Live in Wilson, North Carolina and behind on your bills?
Wilson has struggled for the past few years, but the unemployment rate is showing a big drop in recent months. However, rather than this being an indicator that more people are finally finding jobs, it's a sign that many have given up and have dropped out of the market or settled for a part-time job. If you've suffered a bout of long-term unemployment or have been forced into underemployment because you can't find a full-time job or one in your field of expertise, you may be behind on your bills, and this can be a scary feeling.
Are You Behind on Your Mortgage Payments?
Naturally, your mortgage payment is a priority, but if you are struggling financially, you have to pay the utility bills and other non-optional costs first. You can't go without electricity, heat, gas for your car or food on the table, even if this means you can't pay your mortgage. If you've been struggling for a while, you may have even taken out a second mortgage on your home to try and cover costs while you regain your financial footing. Not being able to pay your mortgage payment or second mortgage/home equity line of credit (HELOC) installment puts your home at risk.
There are bankruptcy solutions that can help you keep your home and get back on your feet. With a Chapter 7, if you are behind on house notes, you may have to give up your home. But if you can't afford to move or don't want to, a Chapter 13 filing can keep you in your home and give you the chance to get your head above water. If your home value has dropped, your first mortgage exceeds your property value and you have a second mortgage, you can request “lien stripping”.
In a Chapter 13 petition, you can convert your second mortgage to an unsecured debt and remove the risk that your home could be foreclosed on for this debt. If you are behind on your primary mortgage payments, this type of bankruptcy can allow you to make a payment arrangement with your lender that will allow you to get caught up and keep your home. You'll be able to make payments to your Trustee that are then apportioned out to your creditors on a plan that lasts from three to five years and can keep you in your house.
Is Your Vehicle at Risk?
If you're working, you need your car to get to your job and if you're job searching, a vehicle is essential. No matter what, you need your ride. If you are behind on your car payments, bankruptcy can help you keep your vehicle and pay less on it. If you've got unfavorable loan terms like a high interest rate or a loan balance that exceeds the value of the car, Chapter 13 can help. By contrast, in a Chapter 7, you can only keep your car if you're current on your payments, but they can't be altered.
In Chapter 13, you can get what's known as a “cramdown.” This reduces the amount you owe on your car down to the fair market value of the vehicle. The caveat is that you have to have owned the car for at least two and a half years prior to your petition being filed. Not only can the balance owed be reduced, but also the interest rate and the number of payments can be extended to lower what you pay each month. This can make an unmanageable loan into one that you can afford, and it can keep you on the road for less.
Struggling and Need Some Breathing Room to Catch Up?
Currently, North Carolina's average unemployment rate is 6.9%, but in Wilson, it's a whopping 9%, which is making life hard on many. In addition, average salaries in this area of NC are lower, creating a lot of financial pressure. Not being able to pay bills is stressful and can make family life tense. It's also hard to focus on work or a job hunt if you're overwhelmed with debt anxiety. That's no way to live and it’s not a path you have to continue down. But there are solutions.
For many people, Chapter 13 bankruptcy acts as a time-out on debt that can give you breathing room to de-stress and catch up on your finances so life can be better. At the end of a debt repayment plan, unpaid unsecured debts, including credit cards, medical bills or second mortgages, will be discharged. Only student loans, taxes, alimony, child support and any court debts (like fines, DUI fees, etc.) will survive the bankruptcy. For many people, this is enough of a break to allow you to get your finances sorted once and for all.
Let the Professionals at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt Help You
When you come in for a free consultation at our office on Ward Boulevard in Wilson, we'll discuss all of your debts, your income, assets and figure out what you can afford to pay. If you're employed and earning a steady wage, a Chapter 13 debt reorganization plan may be the best solution to get your financial fresh start. But if you have persistent unemployment problems, a Chapter 7 plan may be preferable.
We will give you advice that's custom tailored to your unique circumstances and will give you the best chance at the financial fresh start you need and deserve. Contact us for a free appointment at our Wilson location, or any of our other convenient NC offices. Let us help you.