Question: I need to declare bankruptcy because I’m getting sued and I have a lot of other debts. I got divorced and that set in motion a bunch of things that aren’t good financially. I started living on credit cards and I took out some personal loans. Now I can’t repay those because my ex-husband is not paying me alimony on time and his child support is often late.
But my question has to do with my car, and that's why I'm writing to a local bankruptcy lawyer. I need transportation and I want to know if I can keep my car if I go bankrupt. I mean I need to get to work and I need to buy food and I need to take my daughter to school.
I really need a car. I drive everywhere. Especially here in Johns Creek, you need a vehicle for everything. I don’t own an expensive car, but it’s a good quality Toyota. It’s 8 years old and it definitely needs repairs, but it’s still running and I use it every day. Before I file bankruptcy I need to know if I can keep a car, or do they take it from me.
I wouldn’t be in this position but for my divorce. My husband was having an affair and I caught him. It was kind of weird because it was affair with another man; it was a homosexual affair. So we got divorced and I uncovered that he ran up the credit cards and actually got some loans in my name.
I never would have guessed that he was gay. We were married for 17 years and he seemed straight. We had kids; he liked football. I never thought that a guy who worked at a theater known for avant garde plays, read “Men’s Health Magazine” all the time and used to wear a feathered boa around the house could ever be gay.
I know my personal life isn’t that important to you, but I do want to keep my car when I go bankrupt.
T.P. in Cumming, GA
Answer: As Fulton County bankruptcy attorneys, we field a lot of automobile-related questions. Most people have no problem keeping their car when they file for a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 bankruptcy. Everyone needs transportation, particularly people who live in the suburbs. Again, when you file for bankruptcy, most people are able to retain their vehicles.
The best way to ensure that you keep your car is to keep making the payments on it. As long as the payments are made on the car note, you can keep your car.
Some people file bankruptcy so that they can keep their car. Some people get behind on their payments and they will file a chapter 13 bankruptcy so the car does not get repossessed. With a chapter 13, you can pay off the amount of money that you are behind over 5 years. So, for example, if you are 4 months behind on your car note, you can pay off those 4 months over 5 years of payments.