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Chapter 7 filing stalls town as homeowner seeks protection

The current economic condition in the country may be blamed for causing many people to suffer financial hardship. As a result, many citizens and business owners who have fallen on hard times have sought relief from overwhelming debt by filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. One such filing has forced a town to cease in its efforts to claim a property for back taxes. While this town is not located in Michigan, similar stories may be playing out here and throughout the country.

The town in this case was attempting to take possession of the title of a property on which back taxes and other bills had not been paid. The owner was given until the end of September to pay the full amount due. However, the town received notice that the owner of record sought relief in a bankruptcy filing. Such an action requires that all efforts to obtain payment of debts must halt until the filing is completed and final approval granted by a judge.

The dispute over the taxes owed has reportedly been going on for many years. The owner of the property has suggested ignorance concerning her liability of paying a utility bill. In the meantime, taxes have continued to be assessed and many lawsuits have been filed over whether the owner has a responsibility to pay the levied fines and fees as well as the taxes. In any case, the issue is on hold while the bankruptcy proceedings are resolved.

Since this particular case seems to have begun more than 20 years ago, the current economy most likely cannot be the sole reason that this property has been such a headache for both the town and the owner. However, there are still many people in Michigan and elsewhere who have been adversely affected by the latest recession. Many have found themselves struggling with enormous debt that may have been no fault of their own. For some, the relief that could possibly be provided in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow them to once again feel hopeful about their financial future.

Source: newburyportnews.com, Bankruptcy filing stymies effort to take home, Angeljean Chiaramida, Oct. 8, 2013

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