Can a creditor force me into bankruptcy? - Nicholls Co

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Can a creditor force me into bankruptcy?

Can a creditor force me into bankruptcy?

FAQs | Applying for Bankruptcy

Firstly, it is worth mentioning that a creditor can only take action to bankrupt you if the creditor is owed more than $10,000 and the creditor has a judgement debt (court order that you owe the money to the creditor)

To commence legal proceedings to make you bankrupt, the creditor must first lodge a Statement of Claim with the court and obtain a court order that you owe the money to the creditor. This is often referred to as a Judgement Debt. If you dispute the Statement of Claim, you must lodge a defence and attend court to explain why you do not owe the money. If the debt is more than 6 years old, you can dispute the debt based on the time elapsed. Debts that are more than 6 years old are protected by the statute of limitations. If no defence is filed by you, the creditor can apply for a default judgment. This is a judgment by the court against you without a court hearing. If the court grants the judgment debt, the creditor can then apply for a ‘Bankruptcy Notice’ from the Australian Financial Security Authority. A Bankruptcy Notice is a formal demand for payment of the judgment debt, and you will have 21 days to pay the judgment debt detailed in the Bankruptcy Notice. Failure to pay the judgment debt within 21 days allows the creditor to then proceed to lodge a Creditor’s Petition with the Court, for the Court to hear the creditors request – asking the Court to make you bankrupt. At this Court hearing, if the Court is satisfied that you owe the money, it will make an Order declaring you bankrupt. If you are made bankrupt by the Court, this is often referred to as the Court making a Sequestration Order against you.

When a creditor has lodged a Creditor’s Petition with the Court, the only way to stop the creditor from bankrupting you through the Court is to make a payment arrangement with the creditor and agreement for adjournment of the proceedings pending full payment or file for bankruptcy yourself.

If you file for bankruptcy yourself, you can avoid the Court appearance and have control over what is happening to you. If you would like more information on how to file for bankruptcy yourself call Nicholls & Co on 1300 060 122 or email helpdesk@nichollsco.com.au.

For further information on bankruptcy, we recommend our articles ‘Pathways to Bankruptcy – Essential Facts’, ‘Life During Bankruptcy’ and ‘The Bankruptcy Option Explained’.

Nicholls & Co have a complementary ‘help desk’ to answer your questions on bankruptcy. Call Nicholls & Co on 1300 060 122 or email helpdesk@nichollsco.com.au.

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