In Oregon, banks have traditionally chosen to non-judicially foreclose on homes after a period of default on the mortgage payments (non-judicial foreclosures can be quicker and less costly than judicial foreclosures). There is no law that requires the bank to foreclose within a certain period of time. Indeed sometimes many months or years pass before the bank gets around to beginning the foreclosure process.
When someone files a chapter 7 bankruptcy, all liabilities and assets (including the approximate quick liquidation value of the assets) are included in the bankruptcy petition. The liabilities listed include everything, including non-dischargeable debt (among other things, certain taxes are not dischargeable, student loans are generally non-dischargeable, child/spousal support is not dischargeable).
Student loans are a huge issue for many people. Unfortunately, under current law it is almost impossible to discharge student loans in a bankruptcy case. The general rule is that student loans are not dischargeable unless you can prove an “undue hardship.” Often courts will require that the debtor is essentially mentally and/or physically disabled and unable to earn an income before they will allow a discharge of student loans in a bankruptcy. But if a debtor is disabled, most student loan lenders have an internal procedure (non-bankruptcy) for obtaining a discharge of the student loans.
I often get the question of whether or not there is a certain amount of debt that somebody needs to have before they can file a bankruptcy. The answer is that there is no minimum amount of debt that is required to file a bankruptcy.
This morning I received a voice mail message from a former chapter 7 client. She received her discharge in August 2012. In her voicemail, she stated that a collection agency was calling her to collect on a credit card that was part of the bankruptcy. I immediately called the collection agency and explained to them that they are violating federal law by trying to collect on a debt that was discharged in a bankruptcy.