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'Real Housewives' Couple's Company Files for Bankruptcy After Mortgage Troubles

December 16, 2010

As Riverside personal bankruptcy attorneys, we were interested to see a high-profile couple in Southern California dealing with foreclosure and bankruptcy with a lot of scrutiny from the press. The Orange County Register reported Dec. 10 on a bankruptcy filing by a company owned by Jim Bellino, husband of "Real Housewife" Alexis Bellino. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, so it's not a consumer bankruptcy, as Jim Bellino was quick to point out. But the company, Global Marine, Inc., is a single-asset company whose single asset is the Bellinos' Newport Beach mansion. The couple narrowly avoided foreclosure earlier this year through a loan modification, and now says Chase Bank reneged on that deal. Jim Bellino said the bankruptcy is intended to protect the home while they continue negotiating with the bank.

The Bellinos originally had a $4.5 million mortgage on their home, which lost some value just like the rest of the real estate market. However, they apparently missed some payments and ended up in foreclosure in August of this year. A foreclosure sale was scheduled, but the couple successfully negotiated a loan modification. At the time, Jim Bellino said Chase was "great to work with," but last week, said the lender had changed it offer. Neither side commented on the details. The Bellinos listed the home for sale at $3.7 million and then $3.5 million this week, which would be a short sale, and a foreclosure auction was scheduled for Jan. 10. The bankruptcy of the home's holding company, Global Marine, is likely to delay any foreclosure proceedings still further. That may be what Jim Bellino meant when he said he filed to protect the home, something he said is commonly done in his work as a real estate investor.

We are Garden Grove individual bankruptcy lawyers, not business bankruptcy attorneys, but we can confirm that bankruptcy is also a common way to handle foreclosure on an individual or couple's home. In fact, bankruptcy is a common strategy for people whose foreclosures stem from financial problems they expect to fix. For individuals and couples who don't have a holding company at their disposal, this is a tough decision, because it means a hit to their credit that lasts seven years. But filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows homeowners to make an organized payment plan to catch up on the payments they missed. The bankruptcy protects homeowners from the threat of foreclosure altogether and may protect them from further late fees and other penalties. The other major type of consumer bankruptcy, Chapter 7, may also exempt the home, but this is not at all automatic.

If you're considering bankruptcy, please take advantage of the free case evaluations offered by Howard Law PC. We represent people who are pursing bankruptcy as a way to handle a huge amount of debt, including mortgage debt as well as unsecured credit card debt or medical bills. With each new client, we start by sitting down and analyzing their financial situations, paying attention to whether and how bankruptcy can best meet their needs. Our Norwalk consumer bankruptcy attorneys take our clients through the advantages and disadvantages of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, and explain which property can be exempted from the bankruptcy under California law. Then, we stand by our clients throughout the process of credit counseling, filing and fulfilling the terms of the bankruptcy plan. We want all of our clients to emerge and start fresh with the tools they need to rebuild their financial live.

If you're sick of living with debt and the obnoxious phone calls from creditors it creates, you should talk to Howard Law. To set up a free, confidential consultation, send us a message through our website or call us toll-free at 1-800-872-5925.