QLD Debt Collectors - Declaring Bankruptcy Overseas?

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24 June 2015
Hi, I am an Australia citizen currently living overseas and I have debt collectors looking for me for 2 credit card debts totaling no more than $25k, I plan to on declaring bankruptcy as I have no current way of repaying the debt. I wish to know my rights and what legal proceeding can be pursued against me. I am not in a position to return to Australia for at least a few years and I have absolutely no assets in Australia or at all. Can you please answer the following questions:
1. Can I claim bankruptcy from overseas?
2. What will happen if they begin court proceedings?
3. What can I do from overseas and what can they do to me?

Thank you.

Tracy B

Well-Known Member
24 December 2014
Hi Natnit,

Question 1

A bankruptcy declaration overseas may not apply in Australia. You should apply for bankruptcy in Australia. You may be able to do this while overseas.

Question 2

If your creditor brings proceedings against you and they win, you will have a debt judgment against you and they will become your judgment creditor. They can apply to court to enforce the judgment. Ways the court can order enforcement are:
  • asking your debtors (people who owe money to you, such as your bank) to directly divert their debt repayments to the judgment creditor;
  • having a bailiff go through any possessions (person property) you have in Australia and selling them off for money to satisfy the judgment; or
  • placing a charge over any larger assets you owe or have an interest in (such as land, company shares).
They cannot directly go after your assets overseas as any order will be limited to the jurisdiction of Australia. However, the creditors may apply for recognition and enforcement in the overseas country. This will allow them to go after any assets you may have in that overseas country.

Question 3

See above.

From overseas, you should speak with the creditors and negotiate to a payment arrangement. If the debts are legitimate, take responsibility for the debts and don't try to evade them. Enter into a payment arrangement you can afford and make sure this arrangement is in writing. It will likely be a win-win for both yourself and the creditors. You want to avoid being declared bankrupt and having this on your credit record. They want to avoid going to court and spending so much money chasing after you.

For more information, see the following articles on bankruptcy: