It is not uncommon for a homeowner to fall behind on their mortgage payment. When the arrears pile up, your mortgage company or bank might threaten foreclosure proceedings.

Contact our Freehold foreclosure defense lawyers when you are in arrears on your mortgage. We will review your situation and discuss options that can help you save your home or free you of remaining housing debt. Reach out to the experienced attorneys at Gillman, Bruton & Capone to learn more about how we manage foreclosure cases.

How Foreclosure Begins

A mortgage holder typically does not initiate foreclosure proceedings until you are several months in arrears on your payments. According to New Jersey Statutes Annotated § 2A:50-56, the mortgage holder must send you a Notice of Intent to Foreclose by certified mail at least 30 days before filing a complaint in court. The notice will describe the reason for the foreclosure decision and the actions you can take to resolve the matter.

The foreclosure defense lawyers at our Freehold office can help negotiate a loan modification with your lender to keep you in your home. In addition, if you prefer to give up your property, a short sale may be a suitable option in some cases. If you have a buyer, the lender might accept less than the outstanding balance on your mortgage to facilitate the sale and forgive the balance owing.

When a resolution cannot be negotiated, the mortgage holder may file a complaint in civil court seeking to foreclose on the property. However, if more than 180 days have passed since you received the Notice of Intent to Foreclose, the lender must send another notice of intent and wait at least 30 days before filing a complaint seeking foreclosure.

Responding After the Lender Files a Complaint

Once a lender files a complaint with the Office of Foreclosure, they must arrange for formal service on the homeowner. Once you receive service of the summons and complaint, you have 35 days to contest the foreclosure by filing an answer.

Our attorneys in Freehold can prepare an answer presenting defenses to the foreclosure. If the lender did not strictly observe all the procedural rules, the judge might dismiss the lawsuit. Following this, the lender can correct the error and refile, but the additional time can be valuable as you explore options.

Filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is another alternative to consider. A bankruptcy filing puts an immediate stay on debt collection efforts like foreclosure. With this, you can reside in your home while you reduce your debt with manageable payments.

The Final Judgment of Foreclosure

When you file an answer contesting the complaint, the Office of Foreclosure transfers the matter to the Superior Court. Sometimes, a trial is necessary, but the Chancery Judge often bases their decision on the documents submitted in the complaint and answer. If the judge finds the lender proved that you owe the money, the lender can request the court enter a Final Judgement of Foreclosure.

Before making that request, the lender must send you a Fair Foreclosure Act Notice, allowing you to bring the arrears up to date. If you believe you have a reasonable likelihood of raising the money, you may be able to prevent the foreclosure. You must send a letter by certified mail within ten days of receiving the Fair Foreclosure Act notice. From there, you will have 45 days from the date the lender receives the letter to cure the default.

You do not necessarily lose your home even after a court issues a final judgment. The sheriff will schedule your property to be sold at a public auction, but you have the right to adjourn the sale twice, and each adjournment provides an additional 30 days. A lender might modify the loan in that time or agree to a short sale, or you can find a source of funding that will allow you to pay the judgment. Our Freehold-based legal team will pursue a foreclosure strategy to help you achieve your goals.

Contact Our Freehold Attorneys When You Face Foreclosure

Foreclosure is profoundly stressful and confusing, but you do not need to manage it alone. Our Freehold foreclosure defense lawyers can help you understand the process and find a way out.

We offer free case evaluations, so no risk is involved in exploring your options. Contact us today to learn more about who we are and how we can assist with your situation.