Bankruptcy is one of the best options available if you’re experiencing serious financial struggles. It can provide you with relief from debts by organizing a manageable payment plan or by discharging the debts so you are no longer obligated to pay them. Filing for bankruptcy stops creditors from pursuing you for repayment of a debt and it gives you a fresh start financially.
Unfortunately, it might not solve all of your problems, especially if a creditor decides to bend the rules.
In most cases, creditors you list when filing for bankruptcy will not have any legal means by which to collect an unsecured debt that has been discharged by the bankruptcy court. Creditors who believe they have a right to receive payment must place a claim during the bankruptcy process, but once your bankruptcy is complete and an unsecured debt is discharged, you’ll likely be protected from any creditor action.
This is one of the reasons it’s so important to list your debts in full when you file for bankruptcy. Thinking you’ll benefit from hiding anything will only come back to haunt you in the future and could give a creditor the right to collect on a debt that would have otherwise been discharged.
Who and what to list on your bankruptcy paperwork can be confusing. For more information about how to avoid problems when you file, check out this information from Bankrate.com.
Can a Creditor Collect on a Discharged Debt?
There are instances in which a creditor listed in your bankruptcy will still be granted the right to collect on a debt, but doing so requires the filing of specific documents with the court and receiving permission to move forward with the collection efforts despite the bankruptcy. Creditors can’t just collect on debts, secured or unsecured, without permission from the court if you’ve filed for bankruptcy.
Even if a creditor attempts to collect on a debt you requested be included in your bankruptcy, there are still things that can be done to prevent this from occurring. Debtors have the right to file a response to a creditor’s request and ask the discharge of the debt be honored despite the creditor’s claim.
In some cases, creditors originally intending to fight the discharge will back off because of how much it costs to fight you in bankruptcy court. They know the time and money they invest in trying to collect on a debt isn’t worth it, even if they are able to make you pay.
What Can You Do to Ensure Your Bankruptcy Goes as Planned?
The best thing you can do if you are concerned about aggressive creditors or you have a creditor trying to collect on a debt that was included in your bankruptcy is to work with an experienced attorney. He or she can anticipate any problems with your case and if anything unexpected arises, he or she will know what to do to ensure the best outcome.
If you’d like to discuss your bankruptcy case or you are thinking about filing and you have questions, we can help. Contact the Law Office of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.