Debt Collection Before, During, and After Your Bankruptcy

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Debt Collection Before, During, and After Your Bankruptcy

[Updated May 2021] You’re probably thinking about filing for protection via bankruptcy (chapter 7 or 13).

You may wonder, “What does this mean for debt collectors who are coming after me?”  Collectors who are calling me or writing me collection letters?  And who are credit reporting against you.

Before Filing for Bankruptcy

Debt collectors can continue to collect against you but they must follow the law, especially the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

If they don’t, then you can look into suing them in Federal Court.

And if they are doing false credit reporting, you can dispute the false credit reporting under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) or under the FDCPA.

During Your Bankruptcy

You will normally receive an “automatic stay” order which means all debt collectors must stop their collection.

It’s like the old game of “freeze tag” — once you file bankruptcy everyone has to “freeze” and not take any action against you.

This means:

  • Debt collection calls must stop
  • Debt collection letters must stop
  • Lawsuits are “frozen” or “stayed” while bankruptcy is pending

If debt collectors refuse to stop then you can look at suing them for violating bankruptcy law.

There’s a good chance that if you sue them, you’ll be entitled to recover money damages against them.

For example, we have sued a number of companies who repo a car after a chapter 13 bankruptcy was filed — when there is an automatic stay.  The car company (finance company) is told to return the car and it refuses unless the consumer meets certain conditions.

There are no conditions to meet — the company must return the car.

It refuses and we sue in bankruptcy court which normally leads to the debt going away and money damages being paid as there is no excuse for this type of conduct.

After Receiving Your Bankruptcy Discharge

Once you receive your discharge order, this means no one can collect the debts that have been discharged.

They are gone forever unless you “re-affirmed” the debts and now owe them again.

We have filed many lawsuits against companies for breaking this law — their excuses are almost comical if it wasn’t so serious of a problem.

They collect on a discharged debt and then claim the payments are “voluntarily made” and made for “moral purposes.”

Nope — they are illegal collection activities so we sue them.

And a lot of times these collectors are credit reporting illegally.  We see balances being reported when you owe nothing after a discharge.  We see late payments or “ratings” after the discharge when that is impossible.  Sometimes we sue the collectors with no disputing under the FDCPA.  Other times, we dispute under the FCRA and when the false information is not fixed or deleted, we sue for money damages under the FCRA.

Bottom Line — Contact Us If You Are Dealing With Debt Collection Even If You Are Thinking About Filing Bankruptcy

You can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447.

You can also fill out our intake form on our Contact Us page and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Chances are excellent that we can help you out.

I look forward to chatting with you!

Have a great day.

John G. Watts


  1. keith says:

    Myself and my sister had property deeded to us.My self and my wife decided to borrow money for home repairs,all three of us had to sign loan. Now I cannot work,my cannot keep the payments and we are being foreclosed on. Can my sister file chapter 13 and put the payments that are behind in her bankruptcy. Will her filing stop thr forclosure or will we both have to file. Can she file 13 and us 7 and continue to make the payments on the loan?

    • John Watts says:


      Sorry going through this.

      If your sister is on the loan and files a chapter 13 bankruptcy, that should stop a foreclosure. At least temporarily. She would need to show she can make the regular payments and the back payments over time — the “arrearage”.

      If you file a chapter 7 that could wipe out the debt for you but may open you up to a foreclosure.

      It gets complicated with multiple people on the loan and potentially different types of bankruptcies. I can refer you to a bankruptcy lawyer if you let me know (privately is fine) what part of Alabama you are in.

      Hopefully you can buy yourself some time and save your home.

      The other option is to look at non bankruptcy options — you can go to our free video series on stopping foreclosures. No charge for it so encourage you to check it out if you have several hours to go through it.

      Best wishes!

      John Watts
      (my email is John [at] if you want to reach me directly with where you live, phone number, etc.)

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