I am in California and have a bankruptcy question. I have recently had a judgment entered against me for an unsecured debt. I know it was entered back in April (from a review of the court docket) but have not seen an abstract of judgment.
I am afraid they may try a bank garnishment at some point, hence my thought of going Chapter 7. Can I get this judgment discharged, and if so, how much time do I have before I would not be able to discharge it (I heard 90 days from date of entry of judgment, but am uncertain).
Thanks so much for any advice on this issue.
3 Answers from Attorneys
The debt is dischargeable at any time (assuming there is no fraud or other basis to object to the discharge). Any lien they obtain prior to filing the bankruptcy would remain against whatever assets the lien attaches unless it is separately avoided as part of the bankruptcy proceeding. Unless it's real estate, this usually isn't an issue.
If the debt is dischargeable, and most debts are, it is dischargeable whenever you decide to file for bankruptcy, no matter how old it is. Maybe it would be to your advantage to wait. If you have equity in real estate, if the creditor records a copy of the judgment this will create a lien on your real estate, and most liens will continue in force even after a bankruptcy. So if you do have equity in real estate, an attorney with detailed knowledge of your situation might (or might not) advise you to hurry up with the bankruptcy.
You write that you are "afraid they may try a bank garnishment at some point," and then ask "Can I get this judgment discharged, and if so, how much time do I have before I would not be able to discharge it", which leads me to suspect that you are thinking that you need the discharge in place before the garnishment. This is not true.
The filing of a bankruptcy would stay the garnishment efforts.