Can I file for bankruptcy if I have a judgment against me?

Asked on October 11, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, California


Terence Fenelon / Law Offices of Terence Fenelon

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you may file for bankruptcy relief if you have a judgment against you.  Indeed, that is the final straw that forces many people into bankruptcy.  However, special care should be taken to insure that the discharge will have the desired results.

In many jurisdictions, the entry of a judgment creates a lien upon property held by the debtor at the time of the entry.  This could create a lien upon real estate, which, unless further action is taken, could survive the bankruptcy.  A title search may be necessary to determine whether such a lien has been placed.  In many cases, the lien (judicial) can be avoided in the bankruptcy proceeding by filing the appropriate motion.  The failure to do so. either by a pro se debtor (almost always) or an attorney not fully experienced in bankruptcy practice (too frequently) could result in negative consequences after discharge, sometimes years later.

I would advise you to seek experienced counsel in your area and make sure your attorney is made aware of the judgment.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.