Tampa Bay Bankruptcy and Debt Relief Attorney
Civil judgments can be scary. A bad car accident, a business deal gone wrong, an unforeseen event causing financial calamity; does not mean you will lose your shirt or your house! There may be relief in bankruptcy court under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy laws, which is a personal bankruptcy designed to help you start over. Another yikes, right? Maybe not. With a free bankruptcy consultation, there are legal options to address a civil judgment and avoid such an obligation from controlling your financial future
What is a Civil Judgement?
A civil judgment is a final decision made by a judge or jury regarding a lawsuit where you have been sued for money damages as a result of a breach of contract, an auto accident, injuring someone else, unpaid debt, negligence that caused someone damages, or the like.
Once it is final, it becomes a court order. Unless it is appealed, it will be enforceable against you. There are many debtor protections in the State of Florida that may protect your homestead, a portion of your wages, a portion of the value of your car; but the exemptions will not protect all of your assets.
A civil judgment does not need to be finalized, meaning that final judgment does not need to be rendered by the court or jury, prior to making a decision to file for bankruptcy. In the event that bankruptcy is filed and a lawsuit is not over, an "automatic stay" would be filed notifying the court that due to the bankruptcy proceeding that the pending lawsuit is put on hold until the resolution of the bankruptcy. At that point, the plaintiff (the person suing) has the option of waiting until the bankruptcy is over and waiting until the financial obligation is potentially discharged in bankruptcy court, or they can file the same claim within the bankruptcy action, which is called an "adversary proceeding." There are many considerations for filing a bankruptcy and many benefits to petitioning a bankruptcy court to discharge debts from a lawsuit.
Filing Personal Bankruptcy
Filing a personal bankruptcy is never an easy choice. Debts, such as civil judgments, can affect your financial life in a drastic way.
What kind of debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy?
- domestic support obligations such as child support and alimony
- criminal penalties, fines, and restitution
- certain taxes
- student loans
- debts acquired by fraud, misrepresentation, or false pretenses
- willful and malicious injury caused by debtor, and
- death or injury caused by debtor's drunk driving.
Of course, there are some exceptions to nearly every rule such as this story about a law grad who successfully discharged $221,000 in student debt. https://www.law.com/2020/01/09/law-grads-221k-loan-discharge-has-bankruptcy-bar-buzzing/
Some types of judgments may be more difficult to discharge such as punitive damages or if the judgment is rendered based on willful or malicious conduct like an assault and battery.
We can help you determine whether your debts include a judgment, whether they are potentially dischargeable, whether your assets qualify you for a bankruptcy, and help assist you in making the difficult choice of declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Free Bankruptcy Consultation
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