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Good news for debtors: State foreclosure filings are declining

According to a recent survey of court records, the number of Wisconsin foreclosure filings is continuing to decline. In fact, levels during the first quarter of 2014 were at pre-recessions levels.

Yet despite signs of general economic recovery, many Wisconsin homeowners may still have concerns about foreclosure. The reasons for such concern could be various. Perhaps mounting credit card bills and car loan payments are creating debt management issues. Perhaps a homeowner was relying on a modification or refinance to ease their financial strain, only to have that arrangement fall through. The housing crisis created many underwater mortgages, and homeowners may have felt helpless as hard-earned equity disappeared before their eyes.

Of course, accident or misfortune can also create debt mismanagement issues. Illness might strike and require extended treatments or render an individual unable to work. In that scenario, the combined effected of lost wages and mounting medical expenses may quickly deplete an individual's cash reserves. If an individual is not able to obtain more loans, he or she may wonder whether it will be possible to regain financial footing before defaulting on mortgage and loan payments.

For individuals in this predicament, a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney might illuminate options that a homeowner may not have realized were available. First and foremost, there may be legal options for saving a home. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings include an automatic stay that brings a temporary halt to any collection efforts that creditors may have started. In addition, both options may also provide a way for a homeowner to save his or her home.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dip continues in Wisconsin foreclosures," Paul Gores, April 15, 2014

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