When you are unable to pay your bills, creditors have ways to (try to) make you pay. One way to deal with a worsening financial situation is to declare bankruptcy. In some cases, a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing might eliminate or reduce the negative effects of some creditor actions. When collection techniques by the creditor are unsuccessful, the creditor may take court action. Read on to learn more about how bankruptcy affects lawsuits and court judgments.
What Happens When You Get Sued for a Debt
If you get sued for an unpaid debt and you lose, the court will impose a judgment against you. A judgment means that you must pay the original debt and any legal or court costs on top of any penalties, interest, and fees imposed by the creditor. The courts may not only order you to pay what you owe, but they often impose wage garnishment and property liens on debtors in an effort to recover funds.
When Filing Bankruptcy Won't Discharge a Judgment
The court case against you for unpaid bills may bring to light some wrongdoing on your part. If your judgment involved any of the below, you don't stand a chance of including the court judgment in your bankruptcy filing:
- If you were sued because the debt you didn't pay was the result of a criminal act, such as a driving while intoxicated (DUI) or willful injury to a person or property.
- Your case involved fraud.
Taking Action Before Your Case Goes to Court
Even if you are able to include a court judgment in your bankruptcy and have it discharged, waiting that long is not the best path to take. The time to file for bankruptcy is when you realize that you cannot get caught up on your debts and that your creditors are about to take court action. If you wait until the court judgment is handed down, you may need to take additional bankruptcy action. For example, once a judgment is in place, you may have to have the bankruptcy court rule on whether or not it's a dischargeable debt. Those extra hearings and filings cost money and can extend the time it takes for your bankruptcy to be discharged. Even if you have waited too long and the judgment has been ordered, file for bankruptcy as soon as you can to prevent or reduce more punitive legal actions.
The sooner you seek financial relief, the easier your bankruptcy will be. Speak to a bankruptcy lawyer such as those at the Law Offices Of Harry G Lasser about your financial situation sooner rather than later.