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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

ARM's and Conversions in Chapter 13

Here is a question I received the other day about conversions in relation to Adjustable rate mortgages.

Question

I am in Chapter 13 now and have a ARM that is going up, can I file Chapter 7 now?

Answer
Hi Gary.

A short answer is tricky. It would depend on the reason you filed chapter 13 in the first place. I assume also that your chapter case is still pending and are asking if you should convert to chapter 7. If you are in an asset driven chapter 13 (to protect an asset with a large value greater than your allowable exemption) the court would liquidate the asset. So, if you had a lot of equity in the home lets say, then the court would sell your home to pay the debt. If you filed ch7 less than 8 years before the chapter 13, you cannot convert. If you have disposable income or do not otherwise pass the means test, then you shouldn't convert the case. You should convert the case only if you have no equity in assets, you are current on the home, or were looking to surrender the home. You also have the option to modify your bankruptcy payments if your expenses have increased drastically. There are some limitations, so you should contact your lawyer about your intentions either way to help decide your best plan of attack. Sorry about the vague answer, but there are many scenarios to account for!
Thanks
Terry Leeders
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