If a judgement is won prior to a discharge in bankruptcy, what happens to the judgement?

UPDATED: Jan 3, 2011

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If a judgement is won prior to a discharge in bankruptcy, what happens to the judgement?

I won a 2007 court judgement from man who now went bankrupt. Before I could send a claim,  I received notice of the Chapter 7 discharge. Does this negate my claim?

Asked on January 3, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

It very likely negates your claim. There are some technicalities that *may* help you--a debtor filing bankruptcy is supposed to send out notices to all known creditors and list them on a schedule as well, to give the creditors a chance to object as well as to put in their claims against the bankruptcy estate, so they can get paid whatever is available and appropriate. There is therefore a slight chance that the discharge would not be effective against you if the debtor knew of your debt but never scheduled it or gave you notice. However, that's likely not the case--it's very hard to overturn a bankruptcy discharge; your kind of debt, an unsecured one, is exactly the kind that bankruptcy is most effective against; and even if you could somehow open it up again, the odds are good he has no money. Unfortunately, declaring bankruptcy is a way to get out of judgment debts. If it's a small debt, it's probably not worth doing anything about; if it's several thousand or more dollars, it's probably worth consulting  with a bankruptcy attorney to see if there are any possible grounds under which you could get at least a portion of the debt.

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