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Entering into a Chapter 7 reaffirmation agreement

After filing for bankruptcy, in some situations a debtor in Massachusetts may seek to "reaffirm" a particular debt. One reason for doing this is to retain a piece of secured property. For example, the debtor may choose to reaffirm the debt they have on their car in order to keep their car. What is a reaffirmation?

A reaffirmation is an agreement that is made between the creditor and the debtor. In a reaffirmation, the debtor agrees to remain responsible for the debt and pay some or all of it off, despite the fact that the debt could have been discharged through the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process. The creditor agrees not to repossess the property so long as the debtor holds up their end of the agreement. A reaffirmation must take place before the entry of the discharge.

When a debtor goes through reaffirmation, they file a signed agreement with the bankruptcy court. The agreement must contain certain disclosures required by bankruptcy law. For example, a reaffirmation agreement must disclose the how much money is being reaffirmed and how the creditor came to such calculations. It also must confirm that the debtor agrees to pay off the debt and that the debt will no longer be subject to discharge through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In addition, the debtor must present the court with a signed statement indicating how much they earn and what their daily living expenses are, in order to show they have the funds available to meet the terms of the reaffirmation agreement.

The information in this post is general information only and it should not be taken as specific legal advice. Whether to reaffirm a debt is just one of many decisions a debtor must make during the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process. Experienced legal counsel can provide advice to the debtor, enabling the debtor to make informed choices.

Source: uscourts.gov, "Liquidation Under the Bankruptcy Code," accessed Feb. 1, 2015

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