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Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.

Getting Sued When You Are Already Bankrupt

As in all cases that involve suit, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and the like, a person who is the debtor and or being sued really needs to consult with a lawyer who knows the rules and regulations. Searching online for the answers is a game of chance that could worsen a situation.

A lot does depend on who the party is that is suing. A creditor who was listed in the bankruptcy proceedings violates the law if that related debt was wiped out, and if that creditor is now suing the debtor for that wiped out debt. In fact, that creditor can now be sued for this violation under the law.

If a lawsuit comes during bankruptcy proceedings, it is very likely that the suit will be disregarded, or even legally declared moot due to the bankruptcy. Unless a judgment is made that is also deemed to be secured, there is very little likelihood that the judgment would survive the bankruptcy. But, here again is why a person has engaged that lawyer.

If the suit occurs after a bankruptcy, the party being sued, having just gone through a bankruptcy, must wait eight years following a Chapter 13 bankruptcy for another discharge, not a filing. This means a person can file for bankruptcy before eight years, but will likely get no discharge until after the eight years on the previous one goes by. For Chapter 7, the waiting period is four years. What is interesting is that the judgment may not be cut short when the debtor again files for the subsequent bankruptcy. A judgment can be considered to be a secured debt and not exempt under Federal law. Here is still another reason for having that lawyer.

Although it may be curt, it is not the lawsuit that will hurt a person, but the final judgment from that suit that establishes the level of pain. The judgment may allow property and accounts to be seized and liquidated, may allow garnishment of wages. Since each state has its own laws as to what is exempt from judgements and what is not, it is important to get the facts, laws and rules straight from one’s lawyer. Also, garnishment can go on indefinitely until the debt is fully collected, including any fees or legally allowed interest. Some people experienced garnishment for twenty years or more. Regardless, garnishment does have restrictions that must be followed or harassment charges can be filed.

When it comes down to what the judgment is and what a person’s situation is, that person with the help of a good lawyer will get through the situation in the best ways possible. Even at its worse, the penalty is limited, and not forever. The courts have laws and rulings that allow a person to survive, even if it is very difficult. No two situations ever seem to be the same, so it is always worth a discussion with your lawyer to decide next steps and long term planning.

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