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Survey of Unsecured Creditors' Remedies Outside Bankruptcy

Learn about the basic process that a general unsecured creditor must undertake to enforce its claims outside bankruptcy, including obtaining a judgment lien, levying against the debtor's property, and garnishment.


The organizing, institutional principle of bankruptcy is to impinge upon creditors' state-law rights and remedies, not only for the debtor's benefit, but that of society at large. At a high level, a creditor's state-law remedies very much depend on whether the underlying debt is secured or unsecured. Secured debt is debt supported by collateral. Unsecured debt, conversely, isn’t supported by collateral.

Perhaps the archetypal example of unsecured debt is credit-card debt. Consumer obligors...