I am new to the group and have been lurking for a while, but getting

good information from it!

I saw a recent post about bankruptcy. I filed Chapter 13 a year

ago. I am a single mom of 3, with child support that is spotty, at

best. He is currently 7K in arrears. I also recently had a job

layoff and then a worker's comp injury at the new job, within months

of each other in 2006. I tried my hardest to juggle everything, car

payment, mortgage, teenage kids, credit card debt, daily living....

and realized I was only getting deeper and deeper. I also had the

notion that economically, the nation was getting worse (not that it

took rocket science to see that) and I needed to take action as soon

as possible.

I have been in Chapter 13 a year now. I originally opted to keep my

car and home, however, I made the decision last week to amend my plan

and surrender my home under my bankruptcy. It is a large 4 bedroom

antebellum. My utilities alone are in excess of $400/mo and I have a

1st and 2nd mortgage. I tried for a year to make it work, but

realized it wont, so I am letting the house go and we are moving into

brand new townhomes in town.

Even though the rent is $25 a month more than my mortgage payments,

the new place will be all electric and energy efficient, which will

eliminate my gas bill, to the tune of $130 a month and my electric

should either go down or stay the same.

I took many other factors into consideration as well, the

neighborhood my house is in has gone downhill fast. Even if I waited

until after my plan is discharged, I could not sell my home for what

I owe and would likely take a $40K loss on it, which would pretty

much leave me where I was before my bankruptcy. This way, when my

plan is complete, I will be completely debt free.

My two older kids will be graduating and moving out in the next 4

years. That would leave me and my youngest in a 4 bedroom home,

which is too much.

It was a tough decision to make, but I really think it was the best

one. While we wont be significantly ahead on a monthly basis

financially, we will be in the long run. My monthly bills will be

easier to gauge and control, since I wont have the extra and

sometimes unseen costs of home ownership to deal with, either.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Any advice for our

upcoming change to help get "ahead" a little?