Personal bankruptcy can mean many things. Our attempt is to bring out client’s goals, challenges, resources and opportunities all together so that the best possible result is attained.

Additional advantages to filing a Chapter 13 (in addition to preventing a home foreclosure)

  • Stop creditor attempts to repossess your car, and even force a recently repossessed car to be returned to you (generally a 10 day window).


  • Stop your wages, bank accounts and tax refunds from being garnished, and even force the return of previously garnished funds to you (if over $600 taken within 90 days).


  • Stop harassment by your creditors. No more phone calls or letters.  Kerry Hettinger, PLC is happy to help you take care of everything.


  • Pay off your credit cards, medical debts and other unsecured debts  “in part” or “in full” (with no interest).  It all depends on what you can actually afford to pay, not on what the creditors want.


  • Stop further obligations to creditors whose services you have not yet fully received, such as health clubs, dance studios, time share fees, leases, etc.


  • Void certain liens against your possessions and other personal items.  In some cases we can even void out second mortgages.


  • Manage tax bills and repayment.  Older income taxes are actually dischargeable.  Recent taxes can be managed through stretching out the payment, as well as applying only reasonable interest and no more penalties.


  • Student loan obligations- while not generally dischargeable- are managed through getting back on track with affordable payments and then resetting when the ch 13 is complete.


  • No need to wait 8 years from an earlier chapter 7 bankruptcy filing (can file and obtain a new discharge after only 4 years).


  • Call to schedule a free consultation to see which of these benefits, and possibly even others, will apply in your situation.

New Michigan Redemption Laws

Last month, Michigan law experienced a major change threatening a Debtor’s redemption period rights after a foreclosure sale.  The new laws were signed by the Governor on July 3, 2013.  While there is still some legislation coming that should help clarify the new rules, homeowners need to be aware these new laws become effective January 10, 2014. Read more

Save Your Home in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Saves a Lot of Homes- It could Save Yours


When you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, all foreclosure proceedings must stop regardless of what stage of foreclosure you home or real property may face.   This is my hands down my favorite type of bankruptcy to file.

This rule is true right up to the date and time of the Sheriff’s Sale (which is the foreclosure event).  The case must be filed before the Sheriff’s Sale as you lose title to the home after that event.

The halting of the foreclosure and any collection activity is a result of what’s known as the “automatic stay,” which arises from section 362 of the bankruptcy code.

In Chapter 13, we will prepare a “repayment plan” for your unique situation.  The plan is sort of like a trust agreement.  It lays out what you intend to do in the case.

The foreclosure is halted at the filing of your case (the petition) and that “stay of proceedings” becomes permanent if  the repayment plan we prepare for you promises that you will now begin making regular payments as well as for pay off the mortgage arrears within 36 to 60 months.   There are generally a few tweaks we need to make with that, but most of our cases confirm (are signed by the judge) if you can meet these few basic requirements.


As an example, if your mortgage payment is $800 and you are $5000 behind in your payments, the plan will offer to pay $800 a month plus about $100 extra so that it can pay those arrears over 60 months with a little interest (60 x $100 = $6,000).  So that’s about $900 a month.  Attorney fees and trustee fees will take that payment to about $1000 a month.  You will need to pay at least a little to your other creditors as well (this depends on whether your budget is tight).


About the only exception to the rules stated above is when you’ve filed prior bankruptcies in recent years.  If so, then be sure to discuss with us so we can take the appropriate steps so that you also get to enjoy the automatic stay.


In many cases, we find a huge benefit in Chapter 13 for those homeowners whose homes are now worth less than owed on the primary mortgage.  Any second or third mortgages and liens can be crammed down and treated the same as credit cards or medical bills (meaning it may be possible to pay them very little).


The options may be even better with non-residential real property (vacant land, business property, rental property).  If you own such property we may even be able to modify the primary mortgage.


The good news is that the Court sets the basic attorney fee in a chapter 13 case.  In most situations that fee simply lowers what your various unsecured creditors would otherwise receive (so they in effect pay your attorney fee).  Because of this we can file your case for very little money down.


Don’t wait any longer, call us today at (269) 344-0700 for a free consultation.   We assist people with all forms of debt concerns.

Although based in Kalamazoo, the local bankruptcy court operates on the federal system and we serve clients living throughout Southwestern Michigan, including Van Buren, Berrien, Cass, Allegan, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Calhoun, Branch, and Hillsdale counties.