In most situations, it may not make a difference when you file bankruptcy. If the judgment is related to unsecured debt it is likely to get discharged. Some people may decide to file when they receive a summons learning of a creditor seeking to take legal action. Others may decide to submit an answer or appear in court, and then seek to file bankruptcy protection after their appearance.
It often depends on the circumstances surrounding the judgment in question. You may be able to go to court and win your case if you believe there is a possibility. But, if you appear and lose your case, you can still seek bankruptcy to eliminate debt related to the judgment.
Once you receive a judgment or summons, keep in mind you may not want to wait too long in deciding your decision. When creditors seek legal action they may look to garnish wages or your bank account if they get permission from the court. If a garnishment begins before you file bankruptcy you may be eligible to get those funds returned to you after you file.
Some people decide to file bankruptcy upon learning they are being sued in order to avoid emotional stress of the lawsuit. Filing for protection can help save money finding a lawyer to fight the judgment and eliminate the need to file a response. Questions or concerns regarding a judgment received should be reviewed with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.