There is no doubt that we are in a mortgage foreclosure crisis in this country, which is certainly being felt in New Jersey. If you have been caught up in this and are facing foreclosure, you may be wondering what to do.

Fortunately, the courts have set up a mediation system in an effort to try and keep people in their homes, and provide several resources for the prevention of same, including the answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on mediation and foreclosure.

You can participate in this program if the following eligibility conditions are met:

  • the property is an owner-occupied one- to three- family residential property;
  • the property is your primary residence; and
  • the homeowner-borrower is the borrower on the mortgage loan being foreclosed. 

What to Do First

If you have been served with a foreclosure complaint, you need to act quickly to request a mediation.  This must be done within 60 days of service. Afterwards it will only be allowed if a judge permits it after you file a motion on notice demonstrating that exceptional circumstances exist.

If you are up against a sheriff sale and need time to file a motion to allow a mediation, you are entitled to two (2) two week adjournments.  After that, you must appear in front of a judge in your county to request an emergency stay.

The Mediation Hearing

Once the mediation request is processed, then a hearing is scheduled to be held in your county courthouse.  If the date scheduled presents a problem, then it can be rescheduled, according to the court's set procedures.  The mortgage company comes to the table and, with the help of the mediator, tries to work out a settlement.

You should be aware, though, that this program is not a "silver bullet."  Roughly a third of all mediations do not result in a settlement.  Another 25% result in the homeowner still leaving his or her home.  Many more result in provisional deals that are subject to the federal HAMP program.

Where Do I Get Help?

Forms are available from a state website that will help you with the process, along with a self-help guide from New Jersey Legal Services.  The point is, should you receive that foreclosure complaint, there are options available to you.  Even if mediation does not help, there is always the possibility of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Don't give up; fight to save your home!

Can You Help?

If you live in southern New Jersey and would like assistance in the mediation process, or you are thinking about Chapter 13 bankruptcy, please feel free to call my office at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site for a free consultation in my Woodbury office to discuss your case

If you are looking for more information about Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then download my free book,Top Questions People Ask About Filing Bankruptcy in New Jersey.

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.