Is there anyway to still collect on an awarded judgement if the family now has filed Chapter 7?

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Is there anyway to still collect on an awarded judgement if the family now has filed Chapter 7?

We were awarded a $340 judgement in our favor earlier this month against a customer who purchased a purebred puppy from us almost a year ago. They promised to pay us the balance due of $200 in 2months. Today we received notice they have now filed Chapter7. The judge that heard our case did say we could come back to court and seek the dog back if they failed to pay but now with this filing,c an we still seek the dog back? If they cannot afford paying us the original $200, how can they afford upkeep on a purebred imported dog? I want other options than to forget it.

Asked on February 6, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Filing bankruptcy is the way debtors can basically discharge debts. In a scenario wherein a car is invovled for example, the lender can repossess the car (the security used to secure the debt). If the borrower decides during or after the bankruptcy process to re-affirm the debt, then the lender can allow the borrower to keep the vehicle as long as the borrower starts to pay on the loan again. Here, your security could be the dog. If the customer failed to pay for the dog, then you could take the dog back. But, you cannot do so uniltaterally. Either the customer will voluntarily surrender the dog to you, or you would need to seek it through the court process in bankruptcy and ask the court for leave to take the dog in exchange for forgiving the debt or take the debt out of the bankruptcy.


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