Typically, your home is your most valuable asset. But, for those whose mortgage payments are getting in over their head, the house may be creating a huge burden on your finances.

If your debt is piling up into a slippery slope toward foreclosure, there are actions you can take to protect your home, wages and assets from creditors.

Finding foreclosure protection

If you need to prevent a foreclosure from taking effect immediately, your best bet is to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 provides immediate protection against foreclosure of your home and also allows you to keep exempt and non-exempt property, such as your vehicle. Creditors will not be able to collect your assets or your wages as repayment for your debt. However, Chapter 13 requires you to select a payment plan to pay off your debt over the course of three to five years.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, on the other hand, simply forgives your debts — rather than requiring you to repay it. This option can also grant you an automatic stay to temporarily protect your home from foreclosure. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not guard non-exempt assets.

Exempt and non-exempt assets

Exempt assets are things you own that cannot be collected by creditors for repayment according to South Carolina law. If you have assets that fall outside of the stipulations that qualify for exemption, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can protect them.

A lawyer can help

If Chapter 13 bankruptcy isn’t right for you, an attorney may still be able to help you negotiate debt forgiveness, a repayment plan or a lower interest rate on your home.

Those who have received notice of eviction should seek help as soon as possible. Learning more about your bankruptcy options or contacting a professional with your concerns can help layout the steps you need to take to put a stop to the foreclosure of your home.