Can I still take someone to small claims court if they said they will/might file for bankruptcy?

Or can I get a refund for my court filing fees if they do end up filing for bankruptcy before or during the small claims court process?

Asked on July 21, 2013 under Bankruptcy Law, Utah


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your debtor up until they actually file for bankruptcy (either Chapter 7 or 13). At that point something known as the "automatic stay" will go into effect. This means that all collection activity against them must stop. However, if they never file the stay never kicks in. So, depending on the amount involved, you may want to go ahead with a suit. The fact is that many debtors threaten bankruptcy to put creditors off but never actually file. That having been said, if your debtor does in fact file, you will not recieve any type of refund for your filing fees and related costs.

Stephen Whiting / Whiting & Jardine, LLC

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can still take them to court. Once they actually file bankruptcy, your case (and all collection activities) must be stayed pending the result of that bankruptcy

Several people who threaten to file bankruptcy never actually file and simply bluff their way through creditor's claims.

If you have any more questions, please fee free to give me a call. 

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