What should I do if a creditor tries to collect a debt during my bankruptcy?

3,729 families have filed bankruptcy using Upsolve

In a Nutshell

Filing bankruptcy means that you shouldn't have to deal with creditors or debt collectors for a while.

Written by Attorney Jonathan Petts.  
Updated July 22, 2020

Filing bankruptcy means that you shouldn't have to deal with creditors or debt collectors for a while.

With a few exceptions (ie. - criminal cases, some child support actions, and certain eviction cases), debt collectors are not allowed to contact you or attempt to collect on your debts once you file for bankruptcy. This is because of the "automatic stay" that the court puts in place as soon as you file. Creditors may petition the judge to let them collect before the case is concluded, but unless a judge grants their requests, most attempts to collect after you have filed are illegal. 

If a creditor or debt collector who does not qualify for one of the exemptions above contacts you:

  1. Tell them about your bankruptcy and politely ask them not to contact you again. They may ask you to provide proof of filing -- you can do so by sending any such proof that you have.

  2. If the creditor continues to contact you, tell the bankruptcy court.

  3. If the creditor still continues to contact you, file a lawsuit.

About the author
Attorney Jonathan Petts

Jonathan Petts has over 10 years of experience in bankruptcy and is co-founder and Board Chair of Upsolve. Attorney Petts has an LLM in Bankruptcy from St. John's University, clerked for two federal bankruptcy judges, and worked at two top New York City law firms specializing in... read more

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

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