Can creditors come after your home or your vehicles?

My husband and I are thinking of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. He is 59 and I am 56. We live in a house that we are continuing to pay on and we own 3 vehicles (the newest is 2004 and the other 2 are 1998 and earlier). I filed bankruptcy 7 years ago before I met my husband. Most of our bills are medical.  My husband is concerned with as we age and there are more medical bills, how will we be able to pay our bills then?

Asked on October 21, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your home and your vehicles are potentially subject to collection action by creditors. First, of course, the creditor must get a judgment against you--must sue and win (which includes winning by default, if you do not show up or respond)--it's the judgment that establishes the legal right to collect. If a creditor obtains a judgment against you and you do not pay, then they creditor can try to use one of several different mechanisms to secure payment:

* Garnishing, or taking a percentage of, your wages (note: certain types of income, like social security, cannot be garnished; but income from you job always can be)

* Garnishing, or taking some (or all) of your bank account

* Putting a lien on real property

* Forcing the sale of certain of your property or assets--like vehicles.


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