In bankruptcy, there are two big categories of debts:
1. priority debts (government) like student loans and taxes, which generally survive bankruptcy, and
2. everything else, which can be wiped out, or discharged, by the bankruptcy.
I get asked this question over and over, since clients are worried that they dragged their feet for too long before filing bankruptcy. They fear that since there is a state court judgment ordering them to pay their creditors, that the state court judgment will survive anything. Thankfully, they are wrong. That judgment can be listed in the bankruptcy.
That being said, judgments do make things more difficult in bankruptcy. With a judgment, a creditor can start garnishing you up until the day you file. They can attach it to your bank or tax refund. They can even attach it to your house as a judgment lien, and then it is a bear to remove, even in bankruptcy. However, just because a creditor has a judgment against you doesn’t mean you’re stuck. Bankruptcy will still take care of it.
If you do receive a lawsuit, you should contact your attorney right away to figure out how to handle it. If you don’t have an attorney yet, this would be a good time to call one.