Bankruptcy’s Catch-22

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Q: I filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and then lost my job in 2009. I'd like to keep my condo and my car, even though those debts were included in the bankruptcy. If I can sell my condo for more than its payoff amount, can I keep the money or do I have to pay it back to the bankruptcy court? Second, if I am not able to sell the property and it goes into foreclosure, am I still responsible for the mortgage? Will there be attorney fees, etc., that I will be responsible for? A: One thing about bankruptcy is that it is a tool that can be used only very, very sparingly. In most cases you must wait six years after one discharge to file again. So, you find yourself in a Catch-22 now, where you can't file again but also can't pay your bills. I've certainly had clients who were in a financial bind hang on and put off filing to have some alternative to turn to in case their jobs went south. But I've also had others, like you, who filed, lost their jobs and wished in retrospect that the...