I am being sued by a creditor and I have an upcoming court date. What should I do?

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In a Nutshell

It depends on how soon the court date is, and where you are in the process of getting ready to file your bankruptcy case. If your bankruptcy case hasn’t been filed by the court date, make sure you attend the hearing. Otherwise, the judge can potentially grant a default judgment against you simply because you didn’t show up. 

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer.  
Updated July 30, 2020


It depends on how soon the court date is, and where you are in the process of getting ready to file your bankruptcy case. 

If your bankruptcy case hasn’t been filed by the court date, make sure you attend the hearing. Otherwise, the judge can potentially grant a default judgment against you simply because you didn’t show up. 

If your bankruptcy case was filed just a few days before your court date, it’s best to attend the hearing but only to tell the court and the creditor that sued you that a bankruptcy has been filed. If you call the court clerk’s office a day or so before your court date to tell them about your bankruptcy, they may tell you that you no longer have to show up. This process tends to be different from court to court.

Once your bankruptcy is filed - whether it’s right before the court date or weeks before - you need to let the court and the opposing party know. Since banks and businesses can’t represent themselves in court, your best bet is to call their lawyer. For the court, again a quick call to the clerk’s office to let them know so they can make a notation in your case docket should do the trick. The creditor that sued you is responsible for making sure that the lawsuit doesn’t keep going, but it never hurts to loop the court and the court staff in early.

So, as soon as you have your bankruptcy case number, call the other side’s lawyer. Let them know that you just filed bankruptcy and what your case number is. They’ll typically take it from there, as the automatic stay is nothing to be messed with. Creditors and their lawyers know that they can get in serious trouble if they continue with a lawsuit or other collection actions once the automatic stay is in effect.



About the author
Attorney Andrea Wimmer

Andrea practiced exclusively as debtors’ counsel in consumer chapter 7 and 13 cases for more than 10 years before joining Upsolve, first as a contributing writer and editor and ultimately joining the team full time in August 2019. While in private practice, Andrea handled all ban... 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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