A couple of years ago, I wrote a tongue in cheek post here indicating that the “Octomom” — Nadya Suleman, a California mother of fourteen, including octuplets from fertility treatments, might soon be in bankruptcy court, as she was having trouble staying current on her mortgage.
The prophecy came true in April 2012, when, faced with another foreclosure notice, the Octomom did indeed file a bankruptcy case — only to have it promptly dismissed.
What Suleman did was to file a “skeleton” case, with just the minimum documents, but without the full schedules that provide detailed financial information.
Nothing wrong with doing that — the court will typically grant a grace period to supply the rest of the documents. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the grace periods are typically two weeks in duration.
But since Suleman missed her deadline, her case was thrown out. At best, her bankruptcy bought her a mere two week delay in the foreclosure, which can now be restarted by the lender.
Worse, if Octomom files again, she will not only have to pay another filing fee, but will also receive only a limited 30-day reprieve against her creditors, and may have to explain to the judge why she is a multiple bankruptcy filer. She could also face creditor objections.
If there is any moral to the Octomom’s story, it is this: once you head to bankruptcy court, be prepared to pony up the necessary data so you get the benefits of bankruptcy, and not a bunch of undesired consequences. Your bankruptcy attorney should handle this for you and ensure it goes smoothly!
By Doug Beaton