How much time do I have to file for bankruptcy? - Bankruptcy Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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How much time do I have to file for bankruptcy?

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?

Answer By Dan Wilson
Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
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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

Answer By Lehn Law, PA
Joseph Lehn, Esq
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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

Answer By Kevin Heupel
Heupel Law
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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

Answer By James Wingfield
Law Offices of James Wingfield
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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

Answer By Marvin Wolf
The Law Office of Marvin Wolf
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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

Answer By Mark Markus
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
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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
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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

Answer By David VanDyke
Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
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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
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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
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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

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