My husband and I filed for bankruptcy in 1999. Now my husband has
walked out on me, leaving me with all the bills and I cannot pay
them. I am being harassed by creditors and my check may be garnished.
Can I file Chapter 7 again? -- Shay Second
You can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy once every six years. It's
not clear from the dates in your message whether the six-year wait
is over and you can file again but you should be close to the end
of that six-year period. Here's what the U.S. Courts publication,
Basics, says about it:
A discharge will be denied in a later Chapter 7
case if the debtor has been granted a discharge under Chapter
7 or Chapter 11 in a case filed within six years before the second
petition is filed.
The court records can confirm the filing date.
It's fairly easy to stop bill collectors from harassing
you for payment. You just tell them, in writing, to stop. Once you've
taken that step, their ability to continue contacting you is fairly
limited. Here's what the FTC's guide, Fair
Debt Collection, says on the topic:
You can stop a debt collector from contacting you
by writing a letter to the collector telling them to stop. Once
the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again
except to say there will be no further contact or to notify you
that the debt collector or the creditor intends to take some specific
action. Please note, however, that sending such a letter to a collector
does not make the debt go away if you actually owe it. You could
still be sued by the debt collector or your original creditor.
The original creditor, in general, isn't bound by
these rules so you need to know whether a debt collection agency
or the original creditor is harassing you. Garnishment doesn't just
happen; the creditor would need to win a judgment against you before
it could seek garnishment as a means to satisfy that judgment. Lawyers.com
offers a good overview on how a creditor can collect on a judgment.
You didn't say that you're divorced, just that
he walked out on you. Regardless, he's still responsible for your
joint debts. Your bankruptcy will have those creditors looking to
him for payment. I suggest you talk to both a bankruptcy attorney
and a divorce attorney.