How Do I Avoid Foreclosure When a Co-Owner Files Bankruptcy?
A reaffirmation agreement is used to pay any specific debt(s) that otherwise would be discharged in the bankruptcy. After filing the bankruptcy petition, a petitioner may sign a reaffirmation agreement to repay a particular debt, such as an automobile to drive to a place of employment, or may be asked by a creditor to pay a debt. It is a legally enforceable document promising to pay all or a portion of the debt which is filed with the court. Also, it is possible that yourself or the lender may file a motion with the bankruptcy court as a creditor seeking relief from the automatic stay imposed by the bankruptcy filing.
The filing of a bankruptcy case, under any chapter of the Bankruptcy Code, triggers an injunction against the continuance of any action by any creditor against the debtor or the debtor's property. An automatic stay in bankruptcy proceedings immediately stops any lawsuit filed against the debtor and virtually all actions against their property by a creditor, collection agency or government entity. The automatic stay may be a reason for persons to file bankruptcy when they are being evicted or foreclosed on, being found in contempt for failure to pay child support or losing such utility services, welfare or unemployment benefits, their driver's license or job, etc.
Abandonment is also used in bankruptcy law to define what property constitutes the estate of the debtor to be administered by the trustee. Property of the estate may be abandoned at the instigation of the trustee if it is of inconsequential value and benefit to the estate. This method of abandonment has been referred to as "proposed abandonment." Property of the estate may be abandoned pursuant to a request by a party in interest for an order of the Bankruptcy Court directing the trustee to abandon property when such property is burdensome to the estate or that is of inconsequential value and benefit to the estate. This method of abandonment has been referred to as "compelled abandonment." Also, all scheduled property which remains unadministered upon closing of the case is deemed abandoned from the estate and regarded as administered for purposes of closing and reopening the case. This final method of abandonment has been referred to as "deemed abandonment."
An oral contract may be enforced through a breach of contract action, but oral contracts present evidentiary problems and often become a matter of one's person's word against the other's. If possible, it is best to get the agreement in writing. Please see the links to the promissory notes below.
A promissory note may be secured or unsecured. When it is secured, it means that property, called collateral, may be taken by the lender if the borrower fails to pay the loan payment. If the debtor files bankruptcy, the lender may be able to recover the value of the loan by taking possession of the specified collateral instead of receiving only a portion of the borrowers property after it is divided among all creditors. Collateral may be many different types of property, such as shares of stock of a company, inventory, accounts receivable, etc.
The parties to the loan must sign it and the notary must witness the signatures. The contract may contain a choice of law clause as to where it will be litigated if a dispute arises. Choice of law refers to what jurisdiction's law is to be applied when there is a dispute in a transaction. The loan document may then be recorded in the county recorder's office where the property is located.
A promissory note may provide for payments to be made in installments or in a lump sum. The terms may provide for a series of smaller payments at the beginning of the loan period and a larger balloon payment at the end of the loan period. The option for a confessed judgment agreement, also called a cognovit note, may also be included. A confessed judgment agreement requires the debtor not to claim defenses and agree to have a judgment entered against him if he fails to pay and the matter is taken to court.
Promissory Note: A promissory note is a written promise to pay a debt and is typically signed at the time of the loan. It is an unconditional promise to pay on demand or at a fixed or determined future time a particular sum of money to or to the order of a specified person or to the bearer.
Cognovit Note: A cognovit note is a note in which the maker acknowledges the debt and authorizes the entry of judgment against him or her without notice or a hearing : a note containing a confession of judgment. This type of note is not valid in many States.
Collateral Note: A collateral note is a note secured by collateral. Same as a secured note.
Demand Note: A demand note is a note payable on demand from the person who is owed the money.
Floating Note: A floating rate note (or adjustable rate note) is a note where interest varies.
Recourse Note: A recourse note is a note where the default may result in loss of collateral and also personal suit and judgment. Most notes are recourse notes.
Renewal Note: A renewal note is a note that renews a previous note due date.
Unsecured Note: An unsecured note is a note that is not secured by any collateral but only the promise to pay (i.e. signature only is required to loan the money).
If a mortgage already exists on the property, the lender most likely has a prior lien recorded on the property. A mortgage loan will typically create a lien on a home and if filed before another debtor, the mortgage lien will be entitled to be paid first before the remaining proceeds, if any, can be paid to junior creditors.
If you wish to use the legal system to resolve your dispute, you may want to review the following general information regarding contract law and breach of contract actions:
Contracts are agreements that are legally enforceable. A contract is an agreement between two parties that creates an obligation to do or refrain from doing a particular thing. The purpose of a contract is to establish the terms of the agreement by which the parties have fixed their rights and duties. An oral contract is an agreement made with spoken words and either no writing or only partially written. An oral contract may generally be enforced the same as a written agreement. However, it is much more difficult with an oral contract to prove its existence or the terms. Oral contracts also usually have a shorter time period within which a person seeking to enforce their contract right must sue. A written contract generally provides a longer time to sue than for breach of an oral contract. Contracts are mainly governed by state statutory and common (judge-made) law and private law. Private law generally refers to the terms of the agreement between the parties, as parties have freedom to override many state law requirements regarding formalities of contracts. Each state has developed its own common law of contracts, which consists of a body of jurisprudence developed over time by trial and appellate courts on a case-by-case basis.
An unjustifiable failure to perform all or some part of a contractual duty is a breach of contract. A legal action for breach of contract arises when at least one party's performance does not live up to the terms of the contract and causes the other party to suffer economic damage or other types of measurable injury. A lawsuit for breach of contract is a civil action and the remedies awarded are designed to place the injured party in the position they would be in if not for the breach. Remedies for contractual breaches are not designed to punish the breaching party. The five basic remedies for breach of contract include the following: money damages, restitution, rescission, reformation, and specific performance. A money damage award includes a sum of money that is given as compensation for financial losses caused by a breach of contract. Parties injured by a breach are entitled to the benefit of the bargain they entered, or the net gain that would have accrued but for the breach. The type of breach governs the extent of damages that may be recovered.
Restitution is a remedy designed to restore the injured party to the position occupied prior to the formation of the contract. Parties seeking restitution may not request to be compensated for lost profits or other earnings caused by a breach. Instead, restitution aims at returning to the plaintiff any money or property given to the defendant under the contract. Plaintiffs typically seek restitution when contracts they have entered are voided by courts due to a defendant's incompetence or incapacity.
Rescission is the name for the remedy that terminates the contractual duties of both parties, while reformation is the name for the remedy that allows courts to change the substance of a contract to correct inequities that were suffered. In order to have a rescission, both parties to the contract must be placed in the position they occupied before the contract was made. Courts have held that a party may rescind a contract for fraud, incapacity, duress, undue influence, material breach in performance of a promise, or mistake, among other grounds.
Specific performance is an equitable remedy that compels one party to perform, as nearly as practicable, his or her duties specified by the contract. Specific performance is available only when money damages are inadequate to compensate the plaintiff for the breach.
Promissory estoppel is a term used in contract law that applies where, although there may not otherwise be an enforceable contract, because one party has relied on the promise of the other, it would be unfair not to enforce the agreement. Promissory estoppel arises from a promise which the promisor should reasonably expect to induce action or forebearance of a definite and substantial character on the part of the promisee and which does induce such action or forebearance in binding if injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise. Detrimental reliance is a term commonly used to force another to perform their obligations under a contract, using the theory of promissory estoppel. Promissory estoppel may apply when a promise was made; reliance on the promise was reasonable or foreseeable; there was actual and reasonable reliance on the promise; the reliance was detrimental; and injustice can only be prevented by enforcing the promise. Detrimental reliance must be shown to involve reliance that is reasonable, which is a determination made on an individual case-by-case basis, taking all factors into consideration. Detrimental means that some type of harm is suffered.
Reasonable reliance is usually referred to as a theory of recovery in contract law. It was what a prudent person might believe and act upon based on something told by another. Sometimes a person acts in reliance on the promise of a profit or other benefit, only to learn that the statements or promises were either incorrect or were exaggerated. The one who acted to their detriment in reasonable reliance may recover damages for the costs of his/her actions or demand performance. Reasonable reliance connotes the use of the standard of an ordinary and average person.