Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 10:08PM
I recently had a friend send me an email sharing her post-chapter 7 frustration with her mortgage company. The mortgage lender ("Lender") sent her a "reaffirmation agreement" during her bankruptcy case. Just fyi, this is fine; they are not violating the automatic stay by sending such a request. Her attorney did not explain the reaffirmation request to her and months after her discharge she found herself still unable to use the Lender's online/automatic bill payment program. When she inquired why she was still blocked, even though her bankruptcy case had been closed for months, the Lender's representative told her it was because her attorney had not filed the reaffirmation agreement. … The Lender was totally misleading her! The fact is 95% of bankruptcy judges, at least in New Jersey, will not enter or approve reaffirmation agreements anymore - at all - because they believe they are wholly contrary to the purpose of a bankruptcy filing and the relief granted thereby. The Lender can refuse to give you the accommodation of online/automated payments, but that is just them making your life uncomfortable. There are ways around that anyway; like setting up automatic bill pay directly through your checking account, for example, rather than through the Lender's system. If the Lender crosses the line and stops accepting payments in other methods– – then you have the right to sue them for violating the bankruptcy order for relief. Your counsel fees will be paid by the Lender if you prevail. I have to say, the one huge, glaring mistake my friend's attorney made (and it's an unfortunately very common mistake) was failing to explain this to his client during the bankruptcy case. So, I thought I would post this story in the hopes that it may help someone else as well. My goal is to help everyone I meet - make it a great day! Cheers!