If you have a lawsuit pending against you, or worse yet, someone has obtained a judgment already, a bankruptcy can help to eliminate that judgment. A creditor suing you can obtain a judgment if the court rules in the creditor’s favor. Once a creditor obtains a judgment, they can use court proceedings to seize control of your assets including property you own, bank accounts, cash and even money and wages owed to you. While not all judgments are dischargeable in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, most judgments can be discharged. Examples of judgments that are not specifically exempted from discharge under the bankruptcy laws are:
- Money, property or services obtained by false pretenses or fraud
- Child support and other domestic support obligations
- Willful or malicious injury to another entity or the property of another
- Certain types of debts which are fines, court costs, criminal restitution, parking tickets, toll road fines and certain taxes payable to a governmental unit
- Student Loans
- Death or injury caused by operation of a vehicle while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs
- Fraud or embezzlement committed while acting in a fiduciary capacity
- Money owed to a pension or profit-sharing plan
You should consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer here at Urban & Burt, Ltd. to determine if we can discharge those judgments. Just because these judgments are not dischargeable in a Chapter 7, they may be dischargeable in a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Many of these judgments can be paid in part or in full over a period of up to five years. This allows you to protect your assets from a garnishment by your creditors.
If a creditor already has obtained a judgment, they may have a lien on your home or other real property. Often clients don’t realize that a judgment creditor has placed a lien on their home. We can often use the Bankruptcy laws in conjunction with state and federal property exemptions to remove that lien and allow you to retain that property free and clear of the creditor’s lien. This is a complex procedure to avoid these liens and you should always consult with a skilled bankruptcy attorney when attempting to avoid a lien.