Can my unsecured debts be turned into lawsuits and then judgements against me? 26 Answers as of July 04, 2013

My Unsecured credit card debts are for several thousand dollars. My credit report says that they will drop off 2013. Can I keep ignoring them until they file suit against me, and if they do file would I be able to include the judgements in the bankruptcy?

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Breckenridge and Walton
Breckenridge and Walton | Alan D. Walton
Yes, but they can be discharged in bankruptcy as long as they were not fraudulent.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/4/2013
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
Possibly, depending on how old the debt is you may have a defense against a lawsuit for collection.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 7/1/2011
Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC
Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC | John Scott Logan
They will likely sue you in 2012, just before the 6 year statute of limitations in Maine. A judgment would be dischargeable unless it precipitated a lien against your real estate. This is not intended to be legal advice and does not create a lawyer client relationship. Moreover, the information is limited to bankruptcy cases pending in Maine.
Answer Applies to: Maine
Replied: 7/1/2011
Rosenberg & Press
Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
The answer to your first question is yes they can become judgments eventually after a lawsuit. The second answer is also yes. You can include unsecured judgments in your bankruptcy. However, if you own any real property, bank accounts, or are wage earner, your assets may be attached or garnished after judgment by an execution upon you. Therefore it is very important that if you file, you do it before the executions occur. Finally if you are thinking of filing for a few thousand dollars or even anything less than fifteen thousand dollars, you should really rethink your decision. When I file for people, I look for at least 20-25 grand of debt. Otherwise, the damage to your credit and the other detriment to your person, hardly seem worth it. However, it should be noted that every persons situation is different and if your income is such that 15K of debt is less than you make a year, perhaps it is worth filing.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/1/2011
Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf
Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf | Sheryl S. Graf
Well, I suppose you CAN chose to ignore your creditors and wait to see if they sue you, but that may not be the wisest course of conduct. Once they obtain a Judgment, your creditors can repossess merchandise, seize assets, take money from you bank account, garnish wages, and take other actions to collect. Why not take action to discharge past debts that are weighing you down, giving you a fresh start and the opportunity to resume status as a productive member of society NOW? Although a bankruptcy filing will appear on your credit record, you can probably rebuild your credit to the point that you won't be turned down for a major credit card or loan in a very short time. You may be also able to obtain a mortgage loan after a year or so, though I have had former clients get a loan in just six months. Most major creditors look for steady employment and an ability to repay. If you can establish a history of making and paying for purchases on credit since bankruptcy, you are well on your way to rebuilding your credit rating. Also, filing for bankruptcy may actually improve your credit score. Many times a Judgment follows you around for much longer than a bankruptcy and has more of a negative impact on your credit. But to answer your question: Once the Bankruptcy Petition is filed, the automatic stay prohibits any collection activity, including:
a. Commencement or continuation of a proceeding to recover a claim; b. Enforcement of a judgment obtained prior to filing the Bankruptcy case; c. Any act to obtain possession of your property;
d. Any act to create, perfect, or enforce any lien against you or your property; and
e. Any act to collect a debt that arose prior to filing the Bankruptcy case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/30/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Yes they can and do with more frequency than people expect these days. Bankruptcy can put an end to it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C.
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. | J. Thomas Black
    Generally speaking, unsecured creditors can file lawsuits and try to obtain judgments against you. You may have defenses to these suits, particularly if you are sued by "debt buyers," i.e. companies that buy up old debt at a discount and then try to collect the full amount from you. But if it appears that one or more of them will get a judgment against you, then yes, you could file a bankruptcy to discharge or cancel your legal obligation to pay those debts. But in this case, if you are a Texas resident and these are consumer debts, they only have (had) four years to file suit against you. If they failed to do that, after the date that you defaulted on the debt, then they can no longer sue you. Unsecured debts, so long as there has been no lawsuit and hence no judgment, can only be reported on your credit report for 7 years. So if yours are due to come off your credit report in 2013, they must be over 4 years old by now. If the debts are barred by the 4 year "statute of limitations," that is just as good as a bankruptcy discharge, which is only a bar to your creditors suing you for your debts. In fact it is better, because the debts will be removed from your credit report after 2013. A chapter 7 bankruptcy would be reported on your credit report, at least in the public record section, for 10 years after you file it.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    If you want to do that, you can. If you do, then don't acknowledge the debt if you're called. It's very possible that creditors may sue just before the statute of limitations runs out. You'd be better to file as soon as you receive one lawsuit, and do it before a judgment is entered. Though the debts will be discharged in bankruptcy, the judgments may continue to show on your credit report.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    Yes to all three of your questions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Judgments may be included in the bankruptcy. If you own real property (like a home) your bankruptcy may cost more if the lawyer has to remove judgement liens against the home. If you have significant equity in the home the lawyer might not be able to remove the liens. So, if you own a home and you are served with a summons and complaint... You should see a bankruptcy lawyer right away.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm
    The Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm | Thomas A McAvity
    The answer is yes for each of the questions that you asked.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    Yes. You could wait until the enemy is at the gate. Not a good strategy. Tough on you credit.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Stuart Jon Bierman  Attorney at Law
    Stuart Jon Bierman Attorney at Law | Stuart Jon Bierman
    Yes, the unsecured debts can be turned into lawsuits and then judgments. You can make reference to the judgments in a bankruptcy, but they may be given the status of a secured debt and they may not be dischargable depending upon the facts pertaining to your particular circumstances. Thus, it would be advisable to consult with an attorney about the best way to proceed.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    Yes, generally if your unsecured creditors get a judgment against you, you can discharge it bankruptcy, just before to do so before they start garnishing your wages!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
    It's not too late to file bankruptcy after you get sued. But you need to make sure you are keeping your eyes open for legal paper. From what you say, those debts may be passed the statute of limitations, so maybe you can beat them if they do sue you. BUT, make sure you watch out for court papers, and don't ignore them.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    Judgments can be discharged in bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Southern California Law Advocates
    Southern California Law Advocates | Norma Duenas
    An unsecured creditor for which you have defaulted is entitled to file a lawsuit in court to try to collect on the debt. If the creditor obtains a judgment in California, then this judgment is good for 10 years and can be renewed. Once the creditor obtains a judgment he can seek to enforce the judgment through a wage garnishment, levy on bank account or putting a lien on property. You can eliminate what is owed from a judgment from credit card in a bankruptcy, assuming it doesn't involve fraud.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC | Richard James Symmes
    Yes, unsecured debt may be discharged in bankruptcy, even after a judgment is entered against you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
    As I understand it, you're going to try & avoid paying the debts until either the statute of limitations runs out or they sue you. If they sue you and get a judgment, they can garnish your wages, bank account or put a lien on your property. Nevertheless, the answer is yes you can include your credit card debt either before or after they are reduced to judgment in a bankruptcy filing and get a discharge.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    Yes, if they sue you, you can still file bankruptcy after they obtain judgments. However, if the judgments turn into a lien against assets you have, you may or may not be able to remove those liens in your bankruptcy case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    They will eventually sue you and yes at that point you can still wipe out the debts but why would you want to wait that long. They can inflict some serious pain once they get a judgment against you like liens on your property, levies on your bank accounts and wage garnishments. Dropping off your credit report has no significance at all - for instance, say you owed them, but for whatever reason they didn't report it to the credit bureaus, all that means is that they didn't report it - you still owe it and they can still sue you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    Yes, a creditor can sue you and get a judgment against you for defaulting on your obligations. Bankruptcy discharges your liability on both the credit obligation and the judgment, if such is rendered.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    Yes, but judgments will delay your ability to re-establish credit and will allow the judgment creditor to take your money from your bank account, garnish your wages and file lien against any property you might own. You are just delaying the inevitable hoping that none of your creditors will sue you before the statute of limitations expires. Even if that happens, the outstanding debt will remain in your credit report for many years and you will not be able to recover your credit. At some point the debts will be transferred to collectors and put on your credit report again. Life is too short to live like that when there is a quick fix called bankrutpcy. Since your credit score is already bad then why would you be reluctant to improve your situation by having all your debts discharged?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You can be sued on any debt, in some cases even after they disappear from your credit report. Once a creditor gets a judgment that can garnishee your wages and bank account and seize your assets. Additionally a judgment may increase the complexity and cost of your bankruptcy, as you may have to file motions to avoid liens (as a bankruptcy does NOT erase judgment liens unless you move to do so). Note that some liens cannot be removed, so waiting to file is usually a very bad strategy if you should actually file now. Instead of guessing, see a lawyer ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
    Yes, your creditors can sue you and obtain judgments against you. Judgments can be discharged in bankruptcy. The statute of limitations on bringing suit is generally 4 years. Negatives on your credit report stay on for 7 years. Except bankruptcy, which can be reported for 10 years.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/30/2011
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