Bankruptcy Law

Timing is Important When It Comes to Filing for Bankruptcy

When it comes to filing for bankruptcy, it is not always a matter of “if” but rather a matter of “when.” Depending on a person’s financial situation, it can pay to properly time out a bankruptcy filing. Whether it is the right time to file for bankruptcy can depend on several factors including whether someone is facing foreclosure, vehicle repossession, wage garnishment, or any of the following.

Mortgage Modification

When someone is facing foreclosure, a few different steps can be taken to delay or even prevent the process. One of these solutions is through a mortgage modification. Homeowners facing foreclosure should try this approach first before filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Fines Bank of America $45 Million

Judge Christopher Klein of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento issued a $45 million fine against Bank of America Corp., calling the treatment of a California couple who fought to save their home “brazen” and “heartless.” According to Judge Klein, the bank’s mortgage modification process and mistaken foreclosure on Erik and Renee Sundquist’s home left them in a “state of battle-fatigued demoralization.”

“It is apparent that the engine of Bank of America’s problem in this case is one of corporate culture… not rogue employees betraying an upstanding employer,” Judge Klein said. He added that he hopes the fine is large enough that it will not be “laughed off in the boardroom as petty cash or ‘chump change’.” Most of the money from the fine will go to law schools and consumer advocacy organizations.

The Sundquists’ financial troubles started in 2008 after their construction business closed down due to the economic downturn. The couple later bought a cheaper home outside of Sacramento and borrowed approximately $590,000 from a lender that was later taken over by Bank of America. After which, the bank promised them that they could request lower monthly payments. However, in 2009 when the couple stopped making payments, Bank of America officials said they would not consider a loan modification. Over the next few years, the couple requested loan modifications approximately 20 times. Each time their requests were “routinely either lost or declared insufficient, or incomplete or stale or in need of resubmission or denied without comprehensible explanation,” the ruling said.

In 2010 the couple filed for bankruptcy which halts foreclosure sales. However, the bank still improperly took over the home and gave them a three-day eviction notice. A few weeks after the couple moved out, Ms. Sundquist was hospitalized with stress-related heart attack symptoms.

Bank of America later reversed the sale but never formally notified the couple of the change. According to the ruling, they moved back in several months later.

Click here to read more on this story.

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at

Foreclosures, Timothy Kingcade Posts


To financially distressed homeowners, the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Plan – HAMP – can sound like a dream come true. The promise of a significantly reduced mortgage, accompanied by considerably lower monthly mortgage payments, raises homeowner hopes. However, recent reports show the program delivering on its promise for only a third of participating homeowners.
An analysis from Amherst Securities reveals HAMP’s success rate: just 32 percent of trial mortgage modifications begun will be converted to permanent modifications without defaults.
In other words, two-thirds of homeowners who enter the program either don’t get a permanent modification or they default on their modified loan.
Problems With the Program:
The Financial Times reports that one problem with HAMP is that it doesn’t reduce debt-to-income (DTI) ratios enough. Of the permanent HAMP modifications, the borrower’s DTI (including factors such as mortgages, credit card payments, taxes, insurance, car loans, etc.) dropped from 80 percent to 65 percent. Generally, anything above a 50 percent DTI level is considered unsustainable. (The government requires anyone applying for HAMP with a DTI at 55 percent or above to get credit counseling.)
Another HAMP problem: the principal reduction portion of the plan is voluntary and few lenders are willing to voluntarily reduce principals on houses. The Financial Times speculates that unless this portion of the program is at some point made mandatory – at least for especially distressed homeowners and mortgages – it appears unlikely to do much to stave off a second dip in the housing market and perhaps a second recession as well.
Mortgage Modification can Hurt Credit
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that mortgage modifications link to the complex credit reporting system, causing long-term financial damage to homeowners. The credit code used when the three-month HAMP trial modification begins signifies to the credit industry that a borrower is making reduced payments, even if the homeowner isn’t delinquent when beginning the HAMP process.
Many financial professionals tell clients that bankruptcy can be a safer route to fiscal stability than a mortgage modification; The Wall Street Journal points out that some consumers will even see a rise in their credit scores after declaring bankruptcy.
Protecting Assets in Bankruptcy
Consumers saddled with large credit card debts or medical debt often find that Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides a way out from under the debt. Florida bankruptcy law provides exemptions for a number of assets, enabling many borrowers deeply in debt to protect the following:
Their home
401k savings
Pension plans
Social Security benefits
Workers’ compensation
Supplemental Security Income
Prepaid school tuition
To learn more about whether a mortgage modification is right for you or if bankruptcy might be the better solution, contact a Miami bankruptcy attorney for an assessment of your bankruptcy eligibility.