Can Creditors Contact You During Bankruptcy?
When you file for personal bankruptcy protection under the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 titles, you’re automatically entitled to a stay against creditor harassment. This stay isn’t universally applicable, but it can prevent creditors from foreclosing on your primary residence and garnishing your wages at work. In addition, bankruptcy stays can end attempts by creditors to possess your car or other secured possessions. Moreover, the automatic stay can stop any creditor lawsuits in their tracks and prevent creditors from continuing to bill you, sending collection agencies after you, or calling you at home or at work.
All that said, if the filing agent or person fails to comply with bankruptcy discharge rules, these creditor protections can evaporate. For instance, if a debtor engages in a process called defalcation or attempts to rack up large purchases on credit or engage in a large-scale loan agreement in the period just prior to a bankruptcy filing, creditors can attempt to nullify the bankruptcy, thus ending the automatic stay and allowing for further creditor harassment.
All that said, there are certain secured creditors who can continue to request money from you or solicit funds throughout the bankruptcy proceedings — even after an automatic stay has been implemented. For instance, you may still be obligated to make good on student loans, child support payments, or settlements from personal injury losses.
And while you may be able to get out of medical bills and certain tax debts, you may still have to remunerate the IRS or state tax offices for moneys owed. Your bankruptcy attorney can help you understand the nuances among your creditors and help you prioritize your repayment plan to deal with your most pressing credit obligations constructively.
Bear in mind that you only are allowed to file for bankruptcy once every eight years, so don’t take the action lightly. Moreover, follow your bankruptcy attorney’s advice about how to enact the filing, so that you don’t accidentally create legal loopholes for creditors to continue pursuing you or for creditors to nullify your claims. Most importantly, don’t hide any information about your personal assets or debts from your bankruptcy attorney — if you do so, the creditors you hide your bankruptcy status from may be able to claim damages.