Many Americans unfortunately find themselves having difficulty paying their mortgages. When a family falls behind on their mortgage payments, there are a number of ways to deal with the situation. Houses go into foreclosure for a variety of reasons. Loss of employment, divorce, injuries, illnesses and disabilities. In this situation, you have a number of options:

1. Mortgage Modification 

An application to your financial institution can be filed for a mortgage modification. This is a long and difficult process and unfortunately in many situations, the request for mortgage modification is denied. 

2. Forebearance Agreement 

Forbearance Agreements are agreements to allow you to catch up on your Mortgage while either freezing or modifying the mortgage payments. They are very similar to mortgage modification arrangements. 

3. Bankruptcy 

You can file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court. Bankruptcies are Federal Proceedings whereas the foreclosure proceedings are initiated in state courts. The bankruptcy filing gives you an automatic stay (freezes) the foreclosure proceeding and allows you to enter into repayment plan thru the bankruptcy court concerning your debt. Deed in Lieu of

4. Foreclosure

 You can simply deed your house back to the financial institution. 

5. Sell Your House 

You can sell your house, pay off the mortgage and keep the balance of the proceeds from the sale. If your house is worth less than the amount of your mortgage, you have to initiate a short sale with the permission of your financial institution. 

6. Fight Back 

Experienced Foreclosure Defense Attorneys can help you in defending foreclosure proceedings. Due to the large volume of cases, currently pending in New York State Courts, it could be 12 to 24 months for the foreclosure to be completed. 

7. Foreclosure 

Does this mean the bank owns my house? 

Foreclosure is the start of a process whereby a financial institution that has a mortgage or equity loan on your home seeks court intervention to have the house either sold or have the deed put back in the name of the financial institution. It is a long and detailed process. The foreclosure Is the start of the process and not the end of the process. The end of the process is the point at which you lose your home. The best way to deal with this process is to hire competent, experienced, Foreclosure Defense Attorneys. 

Fighting foreclosures are difficult but they can be dealt with by experienced dedicated attorneys who understand the foreclosure process. Feel free to contact our office anytime for information or a free consultation regarding our mortgage modification, foreclosure, and bankruptcy services. We will help you decide which path is right for you and then we will help guide you through the entire process.

You can reach us 24/7 at 800-344-6431 or click here to e-mail us.

Picture courtesy of planohomesandland.com.

beth din rabbinic tribunal artibrationAs reported here, and as Mitchell Rubenstein predicted, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court will consider a teacher’s appeal of a Kings County Supreme Court’s nullification of a rabbinical arbitration panel’s decision in an employment case.

Following a dispute between the Hebrew Academy of Five Towns and Rockaway and one of its teachers, Nachum Brisman, regarding the school’s decision to terminate his employment, both sides agreed to have their dispute arbitrated by a well-known rabbinic panel, the Beth Din of America. The rabbinic panel’s arbitration decision favored the teacher in the dispute and when the teacher brought the decision to the Kings County Supreme Court to enforce the decision, it instead vacated it. Judge Balter’s decision can be read here.

Now, Brisman has appealed the lower court’s vacature of the arbitration before the Appellate Division. Three major orthodox Jewish organizations, the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel of America, and Torah U’Mesorah, joined together last week to file a “Friend of the Court” brief, arguing that the Appellate Division should reverse Judge Balter’s vacature of the arbitration panel’s decision.

You can read the amicus brief here.

The organizations’ amicus brief emphasized that their support of Brisman’s appeal “should not be construed as advocacy on behalf of either party with respect to their underlying claims.” Rather, they clarified in the brief that they are advocating for the reversal of the Supreme Court’s vacature of the rabbinic arbitration agreement in order to prevent the weakening of the rabbinic arbitration system in general.

Indeed, it is difficult to fathom how the court could nullify an arbitration decision that both parties had agreed in advance to abide by. Such a decision seems to encourage the losing party in any kind of arbitration decision to appeal any decision if he knew that the state courts would vacate any decision that the losing party was unhappy with, as long as he could convince the court that the arbitration panel’s decision is “irrational.”

We will see if the Appellate Division agrees. Update 2/19/10: It does!

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bankruptcy-main-imageBasically, if you have few assets, do not have a regular income or you do not have enough income to meet your basic needs and have something left over to help pay down your debt, then Chapter 7 bankruptcy might make the most sense for you. It will allow you to start fresh as quickly as possible, with the possibility of receiving a discharge of your debt in as little as a few months.

If, however, you have a regular income and can meet you basic living expenses with a little bit left over every month, your goal may be to reorganize your debts to a manageable level in order to pay your way out of debt. In this case, Chapter 13 bankruptcy would probably be the right choice.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all of your non-exempt property would be sold (“liquidated”), and the proceeds of the sale would be used to pay off a portion of your debts. If you have few assets, this type of bankruptcy may be the best option. For more information on which assets are considered exempt from sale in a bankruptcy proceeding, see the page on Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If, on the other hand, you have a lot of non-exempt assets, such as a house, or you have regular income, you may have more to lose by having your assets liquidated to satisfy your debts, or a portion of your debts, than you would by creating a payment plan to pay off your debts over several years. In that case, you should probably consider filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13. 

Contact our office for bankruptcy filing information and help.

Other related articles:

  • Who Should File For Bankruptcy?
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 13
  • How Do I Rebuild My Credit After Bankruptcy?

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wineIt has recently been reported that Governor Paterson is suggesting that one way to boost revenue to New York State is by changing New York State law to allow supermarkets, Bodegas, and the like to begin selling wine. He hopes that through liquor licensing fees from those supermarkets, to collect an additional $150 million over three years.

Due to my diligent reporting work for the Elliot Schlissel New York Law Blog, I had read about and was familiar with the facts of Gov. Paterson’s proposal when I strolled into a local liquor store on Friday to buy some wine. I was talking with the owner of the store, as I was checking out, she asked me to sign a petition to ask Gov. Paterson not to pursue this plan, as it would put many liquor store owners out of business. I said I wasn’t sure that I would sign it, so she asked me if I supported the proposal.

I told her that I hadn’t made up my mind for sure, and so I didn’t want to sign the Petition without thinking out the issue. I suggested that initially I liked the idea because it would mean not having to make a separate trip to a liquor store. I also pointed out that 35 states are already allow grocery stores to sell wine, and things seem to be going well in those states so I asked her what the arguments were against the plan.

Her were a few of her main arguments:

  • She said that in the old days, much of the liquor store business was in selling liquor, and not wine. But today, she said 60%-70% of the business is in selling wine. If most of that business would go to the grocery stores and bodegas, it would put the majority of the liquor stores out of business.
  • Furthermore, the only way those who are left could survive is by “going boutique” and selling only specialty or very expensive wines that can’t be bought in regular grocery stores, which is not necessarily the direction these small business owners want to go.
  • She argued that the Paterson plan wouldn’t accomplish it’s goals long term in any case because of the loss of tax revenue due to the closing of 1,000+ liquor stores and the laying off of over 4,000 people that would result from those closings.
  • She suggested that Long Island wineries would be hurt because grocery stores would only carry the big name wine brands, but not the local brands.

I hear what she’s saying, but I still have certain doubts. Certainly, one major function of government is to promote the feasibility of doing business in the State, but I’m just not sure that it is proper for the government to be the one making the choice about which businesses should prosper and which ones shouldn’t. Who’s to say that the liquor store owners have any more right to run their businesses the way they want  than bodega or grocery store owners? Why should New York State be the one to make that decision? Shouldn’t the State get out of the way by allowing anyone who wants to sell wine to sell it and thus allow entrepreneurs and their customers make these decisions by voting with their feet and their dollars?

Picture courtesy of the NY Times.

layoffsWorkforceManagement.com reported yesterday that a new law is now in effect in New York that requires many employers to give more notice to employees to be laid off, than previously required.

Currently, under the Federal government’s WARN statute, “most employers with 100 or more employees [are required to] to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.”

In a move likely to make employers more hesitant to hire new employees, New York has enacted the stricter “Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act” as of this past Sunday, February 1st. “The New York law applies to businesses with 50 or more full-time workers… when at least 25 employees lose their positions, if they make up one-third of the workforce, or when a company lays off at least 250 full-time employees.”

According to Workforce Management, “[t]he Business Council of New York State says some 13,000 small businesses that weren’t affected by the federal statute will now be covered by the state law.”

I understand that there are good intentions behind this law. As someone who was once laid off with three hours notice, and a family to support, I definitely understand the workers’ and unions’ position on this. But I think that it will have an overall undesirable effect on workers and employees.

In countries with stringent requirements like France, laws like these create a pressure on employers not  to hire new employees. The more a society chips away at the concept of at-will employment, the more hesitant companies, large and small, become in hiring new employees, because they know how difficult it will be to fire them if the need arises. Thus, France’s unemployment rate is worse than the United States’.

It will be interesting to see what affect the new law has.

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