Many times when a person files a Bankruptcy, the bank will send him or his attorney a document called a “reaffirmation agreement.” With this, the bank is asking him to reaffirm the mortgage debt if he wants keep his home. Many times the reaffirmation agreement will include better mortgage terms than the original note—this is done by the bank to induce your agreement.
Under the law, when one is in a bankruptcy, he is not required to reaffirm this debt or any other, but it is another option for him to keep his home. One should file the signed reaffirmation agreement with the court prior to the discharge, or within 60 days after the 341 creditor’s meeting. If one reaffirm’s his mortgage note and then goes into default because he cannot afford to make the payments, he will be liable for the note even though he had filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
There are instances when mediation is better for a homeowner than signing a reaffirmation with the bank (see below, for discussion on mediation). For example, sometimes a person can discharge his mortgage note in a bankruptcy and then continue on to mediate the terms of his monthly payment, even though he may not liable for the note if he defaults; whereas, if a person signs a reaffirmation agreement, he will still be liable for the mortgage note if he later defaults.
When a homeowner is in bankruptcy, he may sign a reaffirmation agreement; many times, the terms in the reaffirmation agreement will be better than the original note. There are instances when it is better for a homeowner to mediate his mortgage terms in court than to sign a reaffirmation with the bank in bankruptcy.
Attorney Eli Tamkin is a Cleveland bankruptcy lawyer. He has been practicing law since 1989 and in Cleveland Ohio since 1994. Since then, he has dealt with a variety of legal issues, including bankruptcy, real estate, divorce, personal injury, and probate. Many times, answering questions on bankruptcy draws on knowledge of other legal areas as well. His experience in these other areas, as well as in bankruptcy enables him to address your particular needs and to offer you advice that is applicable to your situation.