Protecting your rights after filing your bankruptcy.
Creditor harassment is one of the most common bankruptcy violations. Here’s an easy way to view how bankruptcy protects you after you file from creditor harassment.
When a bankruptcy is filed, a temporary ‘stop collection activity’ order called a stay is automatically granted to you and is enforceable against nearly every debt, debt collector, and creditor you have. After the bankruptcy, the stay order is permanently memorialized in what is called a bankruptcy discharge injunction order. This order permanently eliminates the debts wiped out in bankruptcy. So from the moment you file a bankruptcy forward, if you do the things you need to do to complete you bankruptcy, there is a stop collection order in place at first temporarily and then permanently that protects you from creditor harassment and debt collection for all of the debts you have before you filed bankruptcy. Note the words permanently. Note nearly every debt. These are big, powerful terms and are the main benefits of filing bankruptcy.
Think of bankruptcy as a process that circles the wagon’s around you to stop harassment from people you owe money to. Creditors must stay away and out of the circle during the bankruptcy. They must leave you alone. Phone calls stop, garnishments stop, lawsuits stop, foreclosures stop. Creditors can’t bother you while you are within that circle or bankruptcy violations occur.
While you remain safely within that circle, a water tanker joins you in the circle and releases its content, flushing away downstream permanently most if not all of your debts. The debts discharged are permanently eliminated from you. This permanent flushing away of the debt is called a discharge order. This is the goal and final results of bankruptcy proceedings—to eliminate your debts permanently, and provide you the freedom to move on with your life with a fresh start after bankruptcy.
This is how bankruptcy is supposed to work. But sometimes it doesn’t go this smoothly.
But sometimes a debt collector will not stop trying to collect a debt. Even after it drove you to filing bankruptcy. They continue to bother you after you filed your bankruptcy. The phone calls don’t stop. Remember the calls 20 times a day, 30 times a day prior to your bankruptcy? They seem to start again for debts you eliminated in your bankruptcy.
You reviewed your bankruptcy paperwork, the creditor received notice of the bankruptcy, before filing you told the collector to stop calling you and call your attorney. After filing you again gave creditor the bankruptcy case number and your attorneys phone number. You even wrote a letter to the creditor to tell them to stop bugging you and that you have filed a bankruptcy. You question the whole reason you filed bankruptcy in the first place.
What can you do? After all, didn’t the attorney say that the bankruptcy will stop debt collectors? How did the debt collectors get in the wagon circles? Wasn’t that debt flushed away? Is there any relief available now after you went through or are going through bankruptcy to stop these ongoing collection activities.
The answer is YES. If a creditor keeps bothering you after filing the bankruptcy, you have enforceable rights against the creditor or debt collector trying to collect a debt from you after the filing of your bankruptcy case. Bankruptcy laws provide an enforcement mechanism for individuals when rogue creditors fail to follow the bankruptcy rules and continue to bother you after you file bankruptcy. The law provides serous consequences for bankruptcy violations.
It means in many situations like this, you can bring lawsuits against the debt collector to stop the harassment.
When this happens, the creditor or debt collector is required to pay your attorney fees to enforce these rights, and they are required to pay you damages to compensate you for your losses, whatever those losses may be. This enforcement is a way to exercise your new empowerment of freedom from debt. It is also a way for you to individually take a piece of our country back from the forces of evil that disrespect the constitution and disrespect the inherent power of the U.S. constitution and our court systems.
Let’s call a spade a spade. Post-bankruptcy collection is contempt of your rights, the bankruptcy systems, and the orders filed and signed by the judge in your case. It is designed—as far as I can tell—to do one thing: crush your heart and soul into a life of financial slavery and illegally collect debts that were properly eliminated by your bankruptcy.
Not every bankruptcy violation or collection activity is worth pursuing, and yes, there are valid reasons after your bankruptcy why there may be collection activity against you (most notably child support and alimony obligations), but every ounce of personal dignity restored through enforcement of your bankruptcy rights is worth considering.
If you feel your rights have been violated after you filed bankruptcy by creditors trying to collect a debt covered in your bankruptcy, here’s what to do:
- Make a list of every post-bankruptcy violation contact from anyone trying to collect any debt.
- This includes as much information as you can collect:
- Names of debt collector / creditor
- Name of personal calling
- Phone number called from
- Date and time of contacts
- Whether the collector was polite or rude
- If they knew about the bankruptcy
- Be as thorough as possible regarding the activity
- Contact my office at email@example.com or call us at (503) 278-5400.
- We will be in touch to review whether we feel you have a case, and if so, how we are able to proceed.
I routinely assist clients who may have filed their bankruptcy through other attorneys with these issues as well.
Make sure you get the full benefit of your protections against bankruptcy violations. If you think your rights have been violated, contact my office to discuss your options.