By David Madden

HADDONFIELD, NJ (CBS) — New Jersey has the dubious distinction of having the longest time to handle home foreclosures of any state in the nation. And that could get worse with the expiration of a federal program aimed to help homeowners.

New Jersey’s complicated court system is bad enough, but the state stopped foreclosures for two years in 2010 and 11.

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Michael Gaier

Michael Gaier

Foreclosure attorney Michael Gaier at Shaffer and Gaier in Haddonfield says a domino effect resulted from that action.

“All those homes that were pulled out of the court system just got re-filed in 2014, 15 and 16,” Gaier told KYW Newsradio. “And that backlog is tremendous.”

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The average foreclosure in New Jersey takes more than three years, 1,262 days, to be exact.

And Gaier predicts the list could get even longer, now that HAMP is gone. That stands for the Home Affordable Modification Program, which helped people facing imminent foreclosure stay in their homes.

A replacement program is expected to be put in effect this year.”There will be stricter requirements,” he added. “It’ll be more difficult to get a loan modification with these new programs and I’m concerned that that’s going to lead to more foreclosure filings.”

That’s because the banks which were bailed out in the Great Recession are not required to be as lenient in their loan policies. Gaier isn’t sure just how that’ll play out, but it probably won’t be good.

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Those with further questions can contact Gaier through his website: