Bankruptcy attorney near Lynchburg, VA?
October 31, 2013 9:33 AM   Subscribe

My mother is in between work right now, with very sporradic temp gigs that don't pay enough. I think she needs to talk with a bankruptcy attorney, but she's ashamed and intimidated. I'd like to help her by giving her actual referrals. Difficulty: I'm long-distance from her. She is located in Lynchburg, VA. General advice would also be welcome--for example, how long might she be able to drag out the foreclosure and still live in her home? Details inside!

Here are the points I think are likely relevant:

- She quit her job rather than being fired. She was forced out and didn't realize that being fired would have opened up benefits like unemployment.

- She has a house that has a mortgage plus one or two lines of credit. She's underwater on the house. I don't think it matters if the house is lost in the bankruptcy.

- She owns a car that she needs to be able to keep, if at all possible.

- She's divorced now. While she was married to my dad, they declared bankruptcy and used the homestead exemption. I don't know what kind of bankruptcy it was. He handled all the finances, but she signed whatever he wanted her to (very "traditional" marriage). This was many years ago -- at least seven, maybe more like ten years.

- Her only income is temp work that is sporradic; the last two months, she's worked about one week total.

I think she should declare bankruptcy, stop paying her mortgage and any other bills, drag out the foreclosure process as long as she can, lose everything but the car (and her dog!), and move into an apartment.

She has zero savings and a lot of credit card debt as well. I've covered her bills for the last two months, but I can't continue to do so. It's already eaten into my savings far too much.

I'd also like to get her onto food stamps and any other public assistance she might qualify for.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The thing about the temp jobs is that she can file for unemployment off of those--she essentially was laid off as far as the state is concerned, and it doesn't matter if she quit the job before that one. They'll ask her last permanent job to rehire her, and they'll say no, and that will be that.

Ask her to try to file for unemployment first. Like today.

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:50 AM on October 31, 2013

I don't have any specific lawyer recommendations for you, but this page on the Virgina Bar Association web site lists some reputable referral services you can use to find a local bankruptcy attorney for your mom.
posted by killdevil at 9:53 AM on October 31, 2013

Additionally, she should not stop paying on the house until you get some good legal advice. She might be able to remove the lines of credit while keeping the house if she refinances and pays them the equity that she currently has in the house. Or not. There are a lot of things going on here and I am not an attorney. Plus, bankruptcy laws vary by the state so any advice you get might not be useful or true.

I do agree that you should stop covering her bills, and I'd let her know ASAP that you can't do that.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:54 AM on October 31, 2013

I'm not your lawyer and this is not legal advice.

My standard advice about finding a lawyer referral is this: call a lawyer who doesn't specialize in bankruptcy law (e.g., a divorce lawyer; a personal injury lawyer; a civil rights lawyer) and ask them if they can recommend a bankruptcy lawyer or two. Many, I daresay most, legal markets are small enough that reputations cross practice areas, but you're not asking them to recommend a competitor.

The Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court may also be able to give you a list of lawyers who have bankruptcies pending before the Court, but will not be able to give you an actual recommendation because that would be unethical.

She should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer sooner rather than later. The sooner she talks to one, the more likely it is that she will be able to set priorities and save them. By the time she is in crisis, her field of possibilities will likely have narrowed significantly.
posted by gauche at 10:26 AM on October 31, 2013

Mod note: From the OP:
Young Rope Rider: The work has been PRN (physical therapy) at nursing homes, not temp gigs via something like, say, Labor Ready or a general office staffing agency. Does that still "count" as being laid off for unemployment? Because getting unemployement would be a huge boon.

I'll be talking to the unemployment office and asking them that as well, of course.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:03 PM on October 31, 2013

« Older Do memorization highlighter/sheet sets exist in...   |   UK: "Standard" deposit deductions for cleaning a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.