How can I file for bankruptcy if I no longer reside in the US?

UPDATED: Jan 23, 2014

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How can I file for bankruptcy if I no longer reside in the US?

I have huge financial debts that I cannot pay; I have become disabled and moved to Canada to live with family. If I don’t file for bankruptcy and move back to the US in 10 years, will my debts be gone? Will I still be responsible for paying back the money after all those years?

Asked on January 23, 2014 under Bankruptcy Law, Washington


Terence Fenelon / Law Offices of Terence Fenelon

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I'm unfamiliar with Canadian law so I can't discuss your recourse.

Under federal bankruptcy law, you must reside in the district in which the case is filed for 280 days, or at least the greater portion of the last 180 days than anywhere else.

As far as your continuing liability for the existing debt after 10 years, you  would have to check the atatute of limitations in the State in which they were incurred.  Many debts based upon a written contract, such as a card-holder agreement for a credit card, have a 20 year statute.

Finallt, a creditor can still bring suit in the U.S., serve you in
Canada, and then get a default against you when you fail to appear.  The Judgment may be capable of being collected upon in Canada.  Alternatively. the Judgment could be revived when you reappear in the US.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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