6 Years a creditor can collect a debt. That is 6 years from the last payment. If the creditor takes no further action, the debt is no longer valid.
If the Creditor filed a Complaint in Court and wins by trial or default – that $ amount is a judicial declaration which is a matter of public records that the debtor/defendant owes you money.
A judgment, once entered, is valid for 20 years and can be renewed for an additional 20 years.
Methods Creditors can Use to Collect from a Debtor
Writ of Execution
- Empowers the Sheriff to collect the creditor in a variety of ways:
- Seize personal property and auction off the property to satisfy the judgment.
- Take the debt from your bank account
- Garnish wages
- Sell real estate to satisfy the judgment
Liens on Real Estate
Judgments when properly docketed become liens that attach to real estate owned by the debtor/defendant.
If/when the debtor/defendant tries to sell the real estate, your debt must be paid and satisfied before the property can be sold/exhcanged.
How does a Debtor Stop Collections from Creditors:
The day your attorney files your bankruptcy, all collections that were started must stop.
Creditors cannot file any actions against you to collect the debt.
Debtor rights in Bankruptcy law are very clear and must be followed. Debtors are protected by the Bankruptcy Code. You cannot be contacted by someone to whom you owe money. Needless to say, threatening debtors is unlawful.
As soon as a Debtor files bankruptcy, their rights are protected. Notice is given to all your creditors and they cannot contact you directly.
What Happens to your Debts When you File Bankruptcy?
Your unsecured debts are wiped out.
You pay back a portion of what you can afford towards your debts. The remainder of your debts are discharged.
You pay back a portion of what you can afford of your debts. The remainder of your debts are discharged.
Can Ignoring Creditors Be Dangerous?
- Debtors wonder if they are off the hook with debts if they haven’t heard anything recently from the creditor.
- Beware – ignoring a debt is very dangerous – your creditor can be working to take the necessary steps to collect from you.
- When you do hear from the creditor again, you should not be surprised.
- I will meet with you with a free bankruptcy consultation.
- Don’t ignore your Creditors
Debtors have rights.
- Below is an example of a creditor that had to pay punitive damages to the debtor for not following bankruptcy law procedures.
Debtor files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
- The person alleged that his friend stole $2,000.00 from his backpack while hiking
- A friend said she paid him back but the check was never cashed
- He claimed he did not deposit the check because he knew there was never any money in the account.
- Chapter 7 was filed for all debts.
- The $2,000.00 was inadvertently omitted.
- Chapter 7 case amended to include the $2k and notice sent out to this creditor
- The person continued to contact his friend and threaten criminal charges.
- Calls continued and continued
- Debtor filed a motion for contempt
Debtor Rights were Violated:
- The creditor’s actions were significantly egregious and/or vindictive in nature.
- The court awarded Debtor $170 for lost wages for Debtor to appear in court and $500 in punitive damages
- However, the creditor did not receive the $2k and now had to pay his “friend” $670.
I am an NJ Board Certified Bankruptcy Lawyer.
Protecting Debtor rights is my focus.