In Kentucky, people are sometimes under the impression that they can be put in jail because of their credit card debt. They should rest assured that jail time is not a punishment for having too much debt, even if people are unable to pay it. However, they should make sure to respond to lawsuits and other inquiries about their debt because simply trying to ignore things can have adverse long-term consequences.

Debtors’ prisons are a thing of the past and have not existed for centuries. Simply stated, debt itself is not a crime. What is against the law is when debt collectors attempt to convince people that the failure to pay their bills can put them in jail. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was passed for exactly this reason to protect debtors from abusive behavior. Debt collectors cannot harass or threaten people, and their conduct is regulated by the law.

This is not to say that debt collectors cannot use the legal system to collect what they are owed. They may very well file a lawsuit, and it is within their legal right to do so. People who fail to answer these lawsuits end up receiving default judgments against them. These largely mean that the debt collector’s claim is unchallenged, so debtors should not simply disengage when they owe money.

Sometimes, debt piles up to a point where it becomes unmanageable, and many times, this happens because of external circumstances that are completely beyond someone’s control. In those cases, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may help give someone a fresh start in life that could free them from the crushing debt that they face. A bankruptcy attorney might help the debtor navigate the legal process that could result in their getting a new financial beginning in life.