How much time do I have to file for bankruptcy? 32 Answers as of July 09, 2013

I am getting harassing creditor phone calls telling me that will be taking legal action in two weeks. I decided to file for bankruptcy, but I dont know if this is long enough to keep them from doing anything. What can I do?

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Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
Generally speaking, a creditor cannot garnish your bank account or wages until the creditor files a lawsuit, serves you with a summons and complaint and prevails at trial or gets a default judgment. If you file in the near future you will be all right. You don't have to answer your phone.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/31/2011
Joseph Lehn, Esq
Joseph Lehn, Esq | Lehn Law, PA
If you can file the bankruptcy petition and notify the creditor soon they will not file a lawsuit and the debt will be discharged. If the creditor does file a lawsuit before you file the petition, no worries, you can still file your bankruptcy petition and discharge the debt. However, you will want to file a Suggestion of Bankruptcy in the state court case to stop the lawsuit from proceeding.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/29/2011
Heupel Law
Heupel Law | Kevin Heupel
It is always hard to predict how long you have before you file as creditors move at their own pace. The best advice is to file soon so the calls will stop and you can start rebuilding your credit.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/26/2011
Law Offices of James Wingfield
Law Offices of James Wingfield | James Wingfield
The question of when to file a bankruptcy is different for each person. The timing is something you should discuss in detail with your attorney. If you are getting harassing calls from a creditor, but no lawsuit has yet been filed, you are not in a hurry to file (at least with respect to that creditor). Assuming the creditor is an unsecured creditor (such as a credit card lender), they will need to sue you before they can do anything. While they could seek pre-judgment relief such as an attachment on your real estate (a lien) or your bank account (freezing your account), both of those can be removed in a bankruptcy proceeding. An ordinary judgment is dischargeable along with other debts. Most attorneys will charge you more if they need to remove a real estate lien because it involves additional notices and a number of other costs to effectively remove the lien. While you may not be in a hurry to file, you will be better served by talking to a qualified attorney sooner rather than later as there may be other issues that make filing sooner more advantageous for you, and proper planning can make the whole situation run more smoothly.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/25/2011
The Law Office of Marvin Wolf
The Law Office of Marvin Wolf | Marvin Wolf
Take a deep breath. A person in your situation generally has enough time to file. Just because a creditor threatens a debtor doesn't mean they will do it, or even if they actually sue, that they will do it when they say they will. Sometimes they bluff to scare you into paying. You would need to gather all your bills, pay stubs, taxes, and other items. A lawyer can help you put a petition together very quickly. In a total emergency, a lawyer can do an emergency filing with minimal information in a day or two (based on a recent decision, a debtor can now schedule the mandatory counseling course the same day as filing), and supplement the petition with some missing information shortly after filing, but it costs more and it makes no sense to wait for the last second. Generally, if everything that was missing is not supplied within 14 days the case could be dismissed. A lawyer can petition the court for an extension beyond that, but it might delay the 341(a) meeting of creditors. Keep in mind that once you are sued you still have time to answer the complaint before they get a judgment, so you should have time to file. If the house is going to be sold, or a car repossessed or an account garnished, then there is more of a need to rush. Otherwise, don't waste time, but take the time to gather as much information as possible to make the filing go smoother.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 8/25/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    That depends on a number of factors. If this is a typical credit card-type debt, they first have to file a lawsuit against you. If you file a general denial (Answer) that will extend the time it takes them to get a judgment, so it could be several months after that before the trial is held and they get their judgment. After that they can apply to garnish wages, etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    If you are intending to file bankruptcy this will stop collection calls and lawsuits. If the collector has not yet started a lawsuit it will take a minimum of 30 days for a lawsuit to be served and you have that amount of time to answer the lawsuit before a default judgment could happen.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    If your creditors have not already sued you and don't have a judgment against yet then you have plenty of time. Being sued begins with you being served with a summons and complaint. Even if you were served with a summons today you would have 30 days to file your response.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Braunstein Law, PC
    Braunstein Law, PC | Jacob Braunstein
    Once a person has filed for bankruptcy, all collection activities cease. If you have already filed for bankruptcy, there is nothing more the creditor or collection agency can do. If you haven't already filed for bankruptcy, search around for an attorney who can assist you in filing the bankruptcy quickly.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    There is nothing that you can do to stop someone from taking legal action to collect a debt. However, once you file Bankruptcy, all efforts to collect that debt, including Court action, must stop. Even if the Creditor files a lawsuit today, you will still have weeks, if not months to respond to that lawsuit. Pay attention to the mail that you get and work towards filing your Bankruptcy for your fresh start.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
    The day you file for bankruptcy (or the day your creditors receive the notice of your case) they will have to stop harassing you altogether. After your case is closed, all your unsecured debts (and maybe some secured debts depending on which chapter you file) will be gone, they will have neither the reason nor the right to harass you. If you tell them that you do not have the intention to pay and demand that they stop calling you, they will have to stop harassing you even if you don't file for bankruptcy. However, they can still take you to court, obtain a judgment against you, and put a lien on your assets, or start garnishing your wages. With bankruptcy you won't have to worry about this.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
    Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
    Contact them and tell them you have retained BK counsel. Forward your attorney's information to them. They will not want to proceed because they want to avoid additional costs and will be discharged anyway after you file.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Center
    Bankruptcy Law Center | Bill Zurinskas
    Creditors on average sue at about 6 mos. after initial default, but some are a lot quicker than others. Some are amazingly slow to sue or even contact you, such as 2nd mortage holders with very large debts If you are being contacted by out of state collectors ot attorneys you probably have more time to get ready for your bankruptcy. Since the average cost of an experienced bankruptcy attorney is around $1500, it often takes several months to come up wuth enough money to file. Once the collection account is referred to local counsel (Denver metro counsel), you are generally closer to a lawsuit. Also, once a creditor can verify that you own real estate or have employment, they tend to sue quicker. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Greifendorff Law Office
    Greifendorff Law Office | John Greifendorff
    Get a lawyer on your side [ www.nacba.org ], analyze the situation with the lawyer, and if it truly is your best option file a petition with the bankruptcy court. You still have time to do that. Don't sit around wondering, the worst decision is indecision.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law | Charles Ross Smith III
    Relax. Don't be stampeded into bankruptcy. Do consult a bankruptcy atttorney. Now would be a good time to do that. Your attorney may advise you top stop paying your uinsecured creditors, so that you can pay a bankruptcy attorney. This is pretty standard. If you have not already been sued, your creditors can't do anything to grab your wages or accounts before you will be ready to file for bankruptcy. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
    You can file bankruptcy if you qualify within a matter of days after meeting with us. The filing will stay any collection action as of the filing date. I am happy to discuss these issues with you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law
    Mauritz Van Niekerk, Attorneys at Law | Christiaan van Niekerk
    You can file with a week depending on how fast you get the docs to us
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    In order to take legal action they have to sue you and get a judgment against you. Depending on the Court, you have 15-21 days to respond after you are served before they can have a hearing. You have plenty of time to file a bankruptcy. Just don't procrastinate and get going on getting whatever paperwork your lawyer tells you to get.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law
    Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law | Paul Stuber
    Usually you have another month or more after they assign it to an attorney before you are facing a court date. If you answer the complaint you have even more time. It usually takes much less time to put together a petition for bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Edward Papa, Esq.
    Edward Papa, Esq. | Edward Papa
    You need to get to a bankruptcy attorney right away. It is possible for an attorney to slow the collection process down in anticipation of filing bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Law Office of Eric Ridley
    Law Office of Eric Ridley | Eric Ridley
    Most bankruptcy attorneys can get an emergency filing completed and filed within a few days (I know my office can do it). As soon as the filing is completed, your attorney should FAX the creditors with the filing information. All action will immediately cease at that moment. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you need any more information.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    AZ Law Group of Trezza & Associates
    AZ Law Group of Trezza & Associates | Stephen Trezza
    You have sufficient time to file. Since you already decided that filing is in your best interest then you need to find an attorney you are comfortable with and they will guide you through the process. Don't procrastinate. Get moving.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Ariano & Reppucci
    Ariano & Reppucci | Chris Ariano
    How long does it take to file bankruptcy? That all depends on who is doing the filing! See, filing a bankruptcy petition will automatically create what is called an 'Automatic Stay' - this temporarily stops creditors from collecting on you while your bankruptcy case is processed. Many bankruptcy attorneys will file emergency bankruptcy petitions same-day, if need be. If you are filing with the help of an attorney, make sure to hire a lawyer that understands the time frame in which you need (or want) to file. That being said, if you are attempting to file on your own, you may need additional time to prepare your petition as there is definitely a learning curve when it comes to preparing bankruptcy petitions. Good Luck!
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    You can file for bankruptcy anytime you want to stop the harrassment. The sooner you file the sooner it will be over. You can file for bankruptcy before or after legal action is taken but the longer you wait the more you have to worry about and the more complicated and expensive everything gets.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    The Law Offices of Mark Wm. Hofgard, Esq.
    The Law Offices of Mark Wm. Hofgard, Esq. | Mark Hofgard
    It is helpful, but not essential, to have filed your bankruptcy petition before a creditor obtains a judgment against you. As long as the creditor is listed in the "creditor's matrix" and given notice of the bankruptcy filing, there is an automatic stay of execution on legal proceedings. Consult with an attorney to determine whether you are eligible for Chapt 7, or only Chapt 13. Sometimes bankruptcy is not the only option, but Chapt 7 is certainly the cleanest option with respect to unsecured debt.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    Laugh at them. Their only weapon is harrassment and bullying. Take the time to find a lawyer, who may allow you to refer these jokers to him/her, and do your petition right and at your leisure. And next time someone demands, say $10,000
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You see a lawyer (do NOT make the mistake of a pro se filing). If need be a good lawyer can file in a day or two. And you may have longer; the lawyer will know and understand actual deadlines and will properly time the case.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Grasso Law Group
    Grasso Law Group | Charles Grasso, Esq.
    If by legal action the creditors mean they will file a civil collection suit against you, then you be able to have the suit dismissed upon filing for bankruptcy. The creditor would then have to submit their claim to the bankruptcy court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Sounds like they are just harassing. You have plenty of time to file. Don't worry. Even if they file a lawsuit you still have 30 days to get the bankruptcy done before they could do anything to you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/25/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    You'll be fine. Just file soon.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/11/2013
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC | Richard James Symmes
    You should find a bankruptcy attorney now, so that your case can get filed before a default judgment is entered against you. Most attorneys can have your bankruptcy petition completed in a week.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/25/2011
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