W. Cornwallis Dr., Suite 101
Greensboro, NC 27408
will be retiring at the end of 2015, except for a few Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases that should be completed in 2016.
If you are one of John Boddie's current clients (or if you have been a client in the past) please call John
at 379-0079 in Greensboro or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're not a client and want a free
consultation to discuss whether bankruptcy is right for you, please call Ling and Farran at 272-2157. For answers to questions that John's former clients sometimes have,
keep reading below for John's answers to some common questions.
Why did I not reaffirm my mortgage?
Sometimes my clients' mortgage company
will tell them that they should have done what is called a "reaffirmation" in their Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
In fact, people can keep their homes and continue paying their mortgages after bankruptcy whether the mortgage is reaffirmed
or not. A reaffirmation is a procedure that benefits the mortgage company and is rarely in the homeowner's interest.
What it does is reinstate the mortgage so that the homeowner becomes liable for the mortgage debt in spite of the bankruptcy
even if they lose the home in foreclosure. Because reaffirmation is almost never a good idea for the homeowner, the
bankruptcy judges in the Middle District of North Carolina will hold a court hearing if someone tries to reaffirm a mortgage.
In most cases the judges here would disallow the reaffirmation. In some other bankruptcy courts outside North Carolina,
it is more common for judges to allow a reaffirmation even if it is not in the homeowner's interest, and some mortgage companies
in these other states mistakenly think that reaffirmation of the mortgage is required. In fact, reaffirmation is not
required and is not even allowed by our local bankruptcy judges, except in extremely rare cases. I can recall only two
cases of mine where we reaffirmed a mortgage in the last 20 years. In these cases the mortgage company drastically reduced
the interest rate and the outstanding balance, and so it made sense for those two clients to reaffirm the new deal.
For everyone else I represented, the mortgage companies refused to offer a better deal and so there was no reason to reaffirm.
The chief judge of the Middle District Bankruptcy Court published an opinion in 2006 explaining why our court does
not approve mortgage reaffirmations. The case is In re Bennett (Case No. 06-80241) 05/26/2006 and can be found by going to the Middle District website, www.ncmb.uscourts.gov and clicking on "Opinions."
Why doesn't my mortgage show on my credit
Because mortgages are not reaffirmed in bankruptcy cases filed in Greensboro or Winston-Salem,
the banks or mortgage companies are not required to report the mortgage to the credit bureau. If you filed Chapter 7
bankruptcy, your personal obligation to pay the mortgage debt is discharged in bankruptcy just like your credit cards and
other debt. The reason you are paying the mortgage is to keep the house.
Were my student loans affected by my
Before 1990 people
could file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, pay as much as they could afford toward their student loans in a five-year plan and get
a discharge of the remaining balance at the end of the case. Since 1990 it has been almost impossible to relieve government-guaranteed
student loan obligations through bankruptcy. The judges in the Middle District of North Carolina use the so-called Brunner
test. Between 1990 and 2005 only one of my clients was able to get a discharge of his student loan. After the
law was made even worse in 2005 I had no clients who were able to discharge their student loans using the Brunner test.
However, there are some indications that this harsh state of affairs may be changing.
What can I do about my student loans?
The US Department of Education has several options for repaying or even forgiving student loans. Go to the department's
website, studentaid.ed.gov, for information about Income Driven Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
What if a creditor tries to collect
a debt included in my Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
If you get a collection
letter, fax it to John at (336) 447-1957 or scan it and email to email@example.com. If someone calls you, give them
your bankruptcy case number and try to get their name and address. If they call repeatedly, send the information to
Some companies buy bad debt and try to collect it. If the debt was included
in your bankruptcy, it is still discharged even if a debt buyer now owns the right to collect it.
Can I file bankruptcy again?
Yes, you can file bankruptcy more than once. For example, you can file a second Chapter 7 bankruptcy and get
a discharge if the second case is filed more than eight years after the first one. However, the rules are complicated,
so be sure to consult a bankruptcy lawyer if you have new debts you cannot afford to pay.
Is there life after bankruptcy?
While no one should file bankruptcy expecting to have good credit afterward, The Wall Street Journal says that many
individuals obtain credit shortly after completing their bankruptcy proceeding. In fact, the Consumer Reports Money Book says
that only one-third of the people they interviewed found credit harder to get after their bankruptcy than before. Since
the late 1990's most lenders use credit scores from companies such as Fair Isaac & Co. in deciding whether to give someone
credit. We have found that our clients' credit scores improve dramatically two years after their bankruptcy discharge
(for Chapter 7, usually four or five months after the bankruptcy is filed). For this reason, most people find that they
can finance a car at a reasonable interest rate about two and 1/2 years after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy (financing a car
immediately after the discharge means a high interest rate). Until the 2008 financial crisis most people could get a
home mortgage two years after their bankruptcy discharge; today it usually takes three years.
What if a debt listed in my bankruptcy
shows up on my credit report?
For 10 years after you file bankruptcy, your
credit reports should show each included creditor with a zero balance and a note that the debt was "included in bankruptcy."
If the entry shows a balance or late payments, follow the instructions on the credit report to file a dispute. If the
debt isn't corrected on your report, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and attach a copy of your credit report and your correspondence.
In some cases it is necessary to reopen the bankruptcy to deal with this. After 10 years (and sometimes before) the
debts should drop off entirely.
Has bankruptcy law changed recently?
The U.S. Congress passed a new bankruptcy
law on April 14, 2005, which took effect October 17, 2005. The law passed after intensive lobbying by the credit card
industry, and it was intended to make it harder for consumers to file bankruptcy. There have been no major changes in
federal bankruptcy law since 2005.
How can I find out if bankruptcy can
If you want a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney, call Ling
& Farran at 272-2157. At your first
consultation your bankruptcy lawyer will discuss all of your options, including bankruptcy. If bankruptcy is the right
option for you, he will help you obtain bankruptcy relief
by filing for protection under the United States Bankruptcy Code.
Where is your office located?
The Ling and Farran office is on Cornwallis Drive, just
east of Lawndale Drive and Battleground Avenue in Greensboro.