Miami’s Mortgage Modification Mediation Program Facilitates Debt Relief
Individuals who struggle to meet scheduled debt payments, but who can pay monthly expenses and want to retain the equity in their home, can opt for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy solution. With the assistance of a skilled Florida bankruptcy attorney, debtors can develop a three- to five-year plan to pay back debts, which can include reduced payments and which can protect the debtor’s property from foreclosure or seizure. Chapter 13 bankruptcy plans also prevent direct contact with creditors during the period of the plan.
Mortgage Modification Mediation Program
Following a recent statewide bankruptcy summit earlier this year, Miami’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida implemented the Mortgage Modification Mediation Program (MMM Program), which updated the previous Loss Mitigation Mediation Program. Under the new program, homeowners who are facing foreclosure will have access to mediation to facilitate a modification of their existing mortgage. Mediators can help bridge the gap between debtors, who can be unfamiliar with mortgage underwriting, and creditors, who can be unfamiliar with the bankruptcy process. A skilled bankruptcy attorney can help debtors navigate the mediation process to a successful resolution.
The MMM program provides several benefits beyond assigning a neutral mediator to facilitate communications between the debtor and creditor. In the Southern District, the debtor can provide the initial choice of mediator, subject to the lender’s objection. The program’s good faith requirement encourages parties to reach an agreed solution. Finally, payments made during mediation can be limited to 31% of gross income or, in some limited cases, delayed until confirmation of the plan. Your experienced debt relief attorney can help you understand your options during mediation.
Perhaps most significantly, the program provides a central and convenient web-based portal to unify methods of communication and to prevent the frustration that can result from lost documents. Lenders can expedite the mediation process because the program ensures that the debtor’s initial submission is complete and accurate. Debtors can rely on the transparency of the program, which requires that all communications with lenders take place through the portal.
Significantly, the MMM program expands access to foreclosure mediation. Individuals filing for bankruptcy under Chapters 7 and 11 can now utilize the program, and the program allows courts to automatically implement mediation if the lender does not object to the debtor’s application for mediation within roughly two weeks. The MMM program is available to Miami-area debtors who file for bankruptcy under any Chapter, including Chapters 7 and 11, after August 1, 2014. However, mediation must be sought within 90 days after the petition for bankruptcy, and can only be obtained after that period under certain conditions.
The MMM program has been successfully tested in other Florida districts; for example, in Orlando, 70% of mediations resulted in an agreed loan modification. The Southern District’s adoption of the MMM program reflects the state’s movement towards a unified system for mortgage modification mediation.
We Can Help You Today
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy or seeking debt relief, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy and debt relief attorney at the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, Attorney, P.A. for assistance navigating the newly available tools and developing a feasible debt relief plan.