Missed Mortgage Payments – Avoiding Foreclosure

Mary Stewart, a contract attorney for the Foreclosure Relief Project at the NH Bar Association, explains what to do when you fall behind on your mortgage payments.
 
 

 

First off, New Hampshire is a non-judicial foreclosure state.  This means that if you fall behind on your payments, your mortgage company can foreclose without having to go to court, and it can happen quickly! If you fall behind on your monthly payments or even if you anticipate that you may fall behind, it is important to seek out help sooner rather than later.  Ignoring the problem most definitely will not make it go away.  The sooner you act, the more options will be available to you.

Second, don’t go it alone.  In New Hampshire, there are free Home Ownership Counselors available throughout the state.   Home Ownership Counselors are familiar with all the options that may be available to you, including modification and forbearance. They will help you assemble the vast amounts of paperwork needed when working with your lender and take care of transmitting the paperwork to the right person at your mortgage company for review.  Best of all, this service is completely free.

Home Ownership Counselors work all day, every day with people who are in the same situation that you are facing.

Third, if you already have a foreclosure scheduled, it is not too late to get help. However, it is important to act before the foreclosure auction.  The first step is to stop the foreclosure from happening.  This can be done by either filing a complaint in the NH Superior Court or by filing for personal bankruptcy protection.  There are private attorneys throughout the state as part of the Foreclosure Relief Project who will help you with this process. You can meet with an attorney FOR FREE at a Home Retention Clinic, and you may qualify for additional free or reduced fee legal services, depending on your income.

Lastly, no matter what, please don’t be afraid to get help.   Everyone has financial ups and downs.  You are not alone!  For information and guidance on the next step for you, please call the NH Bar Association Foreclosure Relief Project at 603-715-3255.

The NH Bar Association’s Foreclosure Relief Project is supported by funding from the National Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement.

The Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association partners with the Foreclosure Relief Project by providing referrals for distressed homeowners to attorneys who are specifically trained in foreclosure-related legal matters.  Call 603-229-0002 or request a referral online.

What Bankruptcy Can and Cannot Do

What Can Bankruptcy Do for Me?

Bankruptcy may make it possible for you to:

  • Eliminate the legal obligation to pay most or all of your debts. This is called a “discharge” of debts. It is designed to give you a fresh financial start.
  • Stop or substantially delay foreclosure on your house or mobile home and allow you an opportunity to catch up on missed payments.
  • In some cases, “strip off” a second mortgage if the value of your home exceeds the balance on the first mortgage.
  • Prevent repossession of a car or other property, or force the creditor to return property even after it has been repossessed.
  • Stop debt collection calls, harassment, lawsuits, and similar creditor actions.
  • Restore or prevent termination of utility service.
  • Challenge the claims of creditors who have committed fraud or who are otherwise trying to collect more than you really owe.
  • Actually improve your credit score, as your old debts, defaulted debts, and bad debts are discharged.

What Bankruptcy Cannot Do

Bankruptcy cannot, however, cure every financial problem. Nor is it the right step for every individual. In bankruptcy, it is usually not possible to:

  • Eliminate child support, alimony, other debts related to divorce, most student loans, court restitution orders, criminal fines, and some taxes.
  • Protect cosigners on your debts. When a relative or friend has co-signed a loan, even though the debt is discharges as to the debtor in bankruptcy, the cosigner may still have to repay all or part of the loan.
  • Discharge debts that arise after bankruptcy has been filed.

Bankruptcy cannot solve all money problems. If your income is insufficient to pay your mortgage and other regular bills you may need to consider making significant and painful choices, which may well include a bankruptcy filing. In addition, there are restrictions upon filing another bankruptcy proceeding after receiving a discharge.

For more information regarding bankruptcy, read the entire pamphlet entitled “Bankruptcy” from the New Hampshire Bar Association.

Remember, the law often changes and each case is different.  This information was meant to give general information and should not be considered a substitute for legal advice.

A decision to file bankruptcy should be made only after determining that bankruptcy is the best way to deal with your financial situation.  A consultation with an experience bankruptcy attorney can help.  Call the Lawyer Referral Service of the New Hampshire Bar Association today for a referral at 603-229-0002 or request a referral online.

Requesting Child Support Orders from the Court

Provided by the Domestic Violence Emergency (DOVE) Project of the NH Bar Association, this is a video presentation to assist pro se litigants (people representing themselves) with requesting child support orders within divorce, parenting rights or domestic violence restraining order cases. The presenters provide a “nuts and bolts” review of the court forms utilized to obtain child support orders.

•Financial Affidavit
•Child Support Guidelines Worksheet
•Uniform Support Order.
The video is a component to the Resource Handbook for Victims of Domestic Abuse, a compilation of resources for library patrons who are navigating the legal system in ongoing family law cases. This program is for informational use only and does not constitute legal advice. To review a copy of this handbook please visit your local library. If you are a victim of domestic abuse you may want to contact a local domestic and sexual violence crisis center at 1-866-644-3574 (24-hour service) for help. If you are in immediate danger you should dial 911 for emergency response.

 


 
Presented by Cathy Shanelaris, Chanelaris and Schirch, PLLC, Nashua, NH & Mary Krueger, NH Legal Assistance, Claremont, NH.

Representing yourself in court can be quite overwhelming. Hiring an attorney to assist you on a limited basis is an option. The Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association can make referrals to competent and insured attorneys who may provide “unbundled” or “limited scope representation” for child support and other family law matters.  Call 603-229-0002 or request a referral online.