South Gate, CA asked in Bankruptcy, Consumer Law and Contracts for California

Q: Is there anyway I can keep my car?

I'm on SSDI, and having trouble paying my car payments (I got the car when I was still working).

I'm disabled and reley on my car for everything! Every/many reasons!

4 Lawyer Answers
Timothy Denison
Timothy Denison
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Louisville, KY

A: You have an exemption in your state for your car, so most likely yes.

Martha Warriner Jarrett agrees with this answer

Robert P. Taylor
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Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Huntington Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You can file bankruptcy and possibley keep the car, but you'll still have to pay for it. If you have other debts, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow you to wipe them out, freeing more resources to make your car payment. Also, in a Chapter 7, you may be able to "redeem" your vehicle for fair market value. Meaning if the car's worth 5k and you owe 10k, you can force the credit to accept 5k (but this option requires you to raise the cash to payoff the creditor). Lastly, with a Chapter 7 you may be able to negotiate better term with the lender, but that is rare. Right now, OneMain Financial is the only company we know that will negotiate.

Another option is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, where you may be able to lower the amount owed on you vehicle, lower the payment and strech your payments out over a longer period of time. Unfortunately, Chapter 13's are expensive and I doubt worthwile if your only issue is your car.

I suggest calling a bankruptcy attorney, as most of us have free consultations.

Leon Bayer and Martha Warriner Jarrett agree with this answer

James L. Arrasmith
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Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If you're struggling to make car payments due to your disability and rely on the car for essential needs, you might explore options such as negotiating with your lender for modified payment terms, refinancing the car loan, or seeking financial assistance programs. California law doesn't guarantee an absolute right to keep the car, but certain legal protections might be available based on your specific situation. Consulting a legal professional can provide you with personalized advice to help you navigate your options effectively.

Sincerely,

James L. Arrasmith

Founding Attorney and Chief Lawyer of The Law Offices of James L. Arrasmith

Martha Warriner Jarrett agrees with this answer

Martha Warriner Jarrett
Martha Warriner Jarrett pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
Answered
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In addition to what the other lawyers have said, if your only income is SSDI, you will likely qualify for a fee waiver which means that you will not have to pay the $338 fee to file a bankruptcy case.

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