Alabama—When an individual owes money to a creditor, that creditor may either pursue them for the money that is owed or sell off the debt to a debt collection agency who will take over the efforts of recovering the unpaid money. While many creditors and debt collection agencies will make numerous phone calls daily or send letters or emails to a debtor to try and convince them to satisfy their balance, others take it a step further and file a lawsuit.

When a creditor files a lawsuit against a debtor, they are asking the court to intervene and require the debtor to pay back the money that is owed. Generally, the only way a debtor can avoid having to pay back debt is if:

  • They can show the debt doesn’t belong to them.
  • The debt has reached the statute of limitations. Creditors generally cannot sue an individual for a debt if the statute of limitations has passed.1 The company can, however, still pursue the debtor for the money by sending letters and making phone calls.
  • They can prove they are experiencing a financial hardship and cannot pay. If an individual is taken to court over an unpaid debt and claims they cannot afford to pay the money they owe, they might be required to submit proof such as bank statements to validate their claims.


If an individual owes a debt that can still be collected on and is not facing a financial hardship, the court could issue a judgement requiring the debtor to pay back the money. The creditor could also seek permission to go after any money an individual has in their bank account, including any accounts they share with a spouse.

Therefore, if an individual has unpaid debt and is concerned their creditors could come after their money, they might want to hold off on getting a joint account after getting married to ensure their spouse’s money isn’t put at risk of being garnished.


How a bankruptcy lawyer can help an individual facing a substantial amount of debt


If an individual has accrued a significant amount of debt and is facing litigation over the unpaid funds, an Alabama bankruptcy lawyer can review their circumstances to determine if filing for bankruptcy would be a suitable option for them. Although bankruptcy isn’t always the solution when an individual has debt and is being sued by creditors, it is worth considering if a person’s assets are at risk of being taken or they simply want to settle their accounts.

To find out more about filing for bankruptcy and when it should be considered, contact Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C. to speak with an Alabama bankruptcy attorney.


Disclaimer: No representation is made that quality of legal services provided is greater than the quality of legal services provided by other attorneys.


Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C. can be reached at:


Moody Office

2603 Moody Parkway, Suite 200

Moody, Alabama 35004

Phone: (205) 640-2000



Leeds Office

7900 Parkway Drive

Leeds, AL 35094

Phone: (205) 699-5500


Springville Office

6441 U.S. Highway 11

Springville, Alabama 35146

Phone: (205) 467-2225



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