When you file for bankruptcy, you will likely work with your bankruptcy attorney to ensure the correct process is followed and you submit the right information to the court. You then expect that your creditors will also follow the right procedures – and stop bothering you after you file the bankruptcy. But they don’t always do what they are supposed to do and leave you alone. Debt collectors can and do commit bankruptcy violations by ignoring the automatic stay – the court order in every bankruptcy case that prevents ongoing collections or creditor harassment after your case is filed. When this happens, you need a bankruptcy attorney you can trust.
When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into place that prevents debt collectors from attempting to get you to repay the debt you owe. This stays in place until after the bankruptcy process is complete. Completing the bankruptcy typically results in a discharge order – when most debt should then be discharged either through Chapter 7 or your Chapter 13 repayment plan.
Creditors receive written notification of your bankruptcy when you file – including your case number and your bankruptcy attorney’s phone number. This should end all attempts to collect on any debt listed in the bankruptcy.
But what happens when your creditors don’t honor the automatic stay? What if the harassing phone calls don’t stop during or after your bankruptcy? What if they continue to send you collection letters, try to garnish your wages, or show up at your home or place of work?
You need the help of a bankruptcy attorney. Legally, you have rights. If a debt collector continues to make attempts to collect a debt from you during or after your bankruptcy, you can take legal action to enforce the bankruptcy laws.
Document Their Actions
To support your lawsuit, you need to document the harassment from the debt collectors. Your bankruptcy attorney will ask you to:
- Keep a list of every violation the creditors committed since you filed for bankruptcy.
- Document the following information:
- Name of the debt collector.
- Their address.
- Name of the person calling or harassing you.
- The phone number you’re receiving calls from.
- Date and time of every contact.
- The attitude of the collector (were they rude or polite?).
- Did the collector know you filed for bankruptcy?
- Did you provide the case number and attorney contact information?
- Take screen shots and save voicemail messages.
- Save any emails or letters your may receive
It’s also important to document what type of collection the creditors are after. Most but not all debts are discharged during bankruptcy; and collectors may continue to try to get payment child support and spousal support payments.
Potential Financial Awards
If you win the lawsuit against the collectors, there are several possible positive outcomes. For one, you will be able to end the collection attempts. In addition, you could receive financial awards. The court can order the debt collector to pay your attorney fees. They might also be ordered to pay you damages to compensate you for any losses you may have endured.
Why It Matters
When you file bankruptcy, you are in a vulnerable state asking the court to help you improve your financial situation and reduce your debt. You are putting your credit at risk and are taking on a legal process to get help. The least you can expect is for your creditors to follow the rules and not make the bankruptcy situation worse or more complicated. If you have to follow the bankruptcy laws, your debt collectors should have to follow the rules as well, don’t you think? Realistically, how many years did you follow their rules before filing the bankruptcy?
Let Us Help You
When you file for bankruptcy and your creditors continue to harass you, let our lawyers at The Law Offices of Alexzander C.J. Adams, P.C. help you sort through your options. We work for you, the people, and not institutions. Contact us for a free case evaluation, or no-obligation consultation. We are dedicated to helping you overcome this small bump in the road and assisting you to get on with your life.