Archive for September, 2015

Tampa Highest Foreclosure Rate in Nation

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

According to the Tampa Bay Times: September 17, 2015


The Tampa Bay area posted the highest foreclosure rate among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas in August, although local foreclosure activity continues to decline.

According to RealtyTrac, one in every 527 bay area homes was in some stage of foreclosure — more than twice the national average. However, that was down 23 percent from a year earlier, the third-biggest decrease of any major metro area.

Only Miami, San Francisco and Atlanta had larger declines.

Nationally, foreclosure activity in August decreased 6 percent following five consecutive months of year-over-year increases.

That shows that the “housing recovery of the past three years is built on a solid financing foundation,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac’s vice president. “But the continued rise in bank repossessions indicates more batches of bank-owned homes will be rippling through the housing market over the next three to 12 months as lenders list these properties for sale.”

In August, lenders took back 45,702 U.S. homes. Repossessions increased in 36 states, with Florida leading the way with a 23 percent year-over-year increase.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.

Divorce – file Bankruptcy Before or After

Friday, September 25th, 2015

It has been said that the leading cause of divorce is money troubles. It is very common that bankruptcy and divorce go hand in hand.

Should you file bankruptcy first, or wait until the divorce is filed or concluded?  A good question.  The answer depends entirely on where you live and what issues need to be resolved.

A married couple, even if they aren’t living together, can file  together.  After the divorce, they can no longer do that, so two cases might need to be filed. Thus, you can save a filing fee if you file before the divorce. But, and this is a big but, you can’t expect to maintain a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you are divorced.  So, it’s best to talk to a competent bankruptcy attorney and be completely honest about the domestic situation before filing.  And, you might find that the attorney, upon learning that a split up is imminent, won’t represent both of you, because of the potential conflict of interest.

Additionally, if you are still living together, the income of both spouses, at least to some extent, will need to be included in the calculation of the means test to determine if a Chapter 7  is a viable alternative. So, if the combined income is too much, it might be better to wait until you have separated before filing.

Generally, there are three things that get sorted out in a divorce: property division; child custody; and spousal and child support.   The automatic stay in bankruptcy will stop any property division but won’t stop the determination of child custody or the payment of  support.  Thus, if you file for bankruptcy before the property is fully divided up, that process will go on hold for a while.  Since the determination of property rights includes the payment of debts, the bankruptcy will often help resolve some of those issues.

If your marriage is breaking up, it might be nice to clean up your debts too and get a true fresh start.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.

Automobile Repossession and Bankruptcy

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

If your car has been possessed, and you are about to file bankruptcy, it may make it difficult to get another one. Under Florida law, your lender can repossess your car without a court order even if you only miss one payment. Usually the details of this arrangement are spelled out in the contract that you signed. Once they repossess the car, they can sell it and apply the proceeds to your loan. Once they have sold the car, there is nothing you can do.

If you have the money to get your car back and you have the money to file for bankruptcy, you should do so as soon as possible.

Once your vehicle has been repossessed, the lender must notify you and tell you how much you have to pay to get the car back.  The lender must also provide you will notice of the date and time of the sale and information on whether the sale is public or private. Under Florida law, the lender can sell the vehicle at a private sale, without competing bids. If you have made less than 60% of the payments due, the lender can elect to keep the vehicle in exchange for the debt if you don’t object. If you object, the lender is required to sell the vehicle but can still hold a private sale with no competitive bidding as long as it is commercially reasonable, which generally means it was done fairly and in accordance with commonly accepted business practices. It does not require the lender to use its best efforts or to hold a public sale.

The lender, at its sole discretion, can allow you to bring the payments current (including paying the repossession costs) and reinstate the contract, but most will not. In most cases, the lender will require that you redeem the vehicle, or pay off the contract entirely, along with costs of the repossession. To be sure you will get the vehicle back, you need to pay the redemption amount before the sale.  If the sale is public, you can attend the sale and bid, but if you try to recover the car by bidding at the sale, there is no guaranty that you will not be outbid.

If you don’t have enough money to redeem the car and you need it to get to work or for family transportation, you may be able to recover it if you file for bankruptcy before the sale. A Chapter 7 will stop the sale, and if the lender is cooperative, you may be able to work out a reaffirmation agreement, similar to reinstatement, where you agree to make the payments and exclude the debt from discharge. More than likely, though, you will have to file for Chapter 13 and provide for the car payments in your Chapter 13 plan. If the lender still won’t give the vehicle back, the court can order it returned to you.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.