This is a more common question than you might think, and the short answer is simply, “No”.
From a theoretical standpoint you have three options when it comes to handling a debt that has turned into a financial problem:
- You have the option to file bankruptcy.
- You have the option to work out a deal with your creditors to pay off your debts with them directly. This second option obviously works for very few people either because they don’t have enough money to work out arrangements with their creditors or their creditors are simply not willing to work with them.
- You have the option to do nothing. This third option also works for very few people because eventually one or more of your creditors are likely to sue you and get a judgment against you. A judgment is essentially a court order that allows the creditor to confiscate money or assets from you up to the dollar amount of the judgment that they were awarded. This judgment will also last for many years. So, where you may not have anything for them to come and take now, that may not be the case years from now, if you are able to get yourself to a different place financially. Remember, at any point during the life of the judgment the creditor can, and will, take assets from you even though you may not have owned that asset at the time the judgment was issued. Therefore, doing nothing is usually not a reasonable option.
So, if you owe money to person or company, the debt really never goes away – that is unless you file for bankruptcy, which offers protection from all collections actions, and ultimately will discharge the debt for good.