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Auther Created By:
Andy Masaki On 4th Apr,16
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credit-card-debt

If you think that you can easily escape thousands in credit card debt just by ignoring the calls of the creditor, you are certainly wrong. The creditor will either sell your debt to a collection agency or serve you a lawsuit, thus making your life quite miserable in either situation.

If you don’t pay your bills on time and allow the debt to roll on and on, the credit card company will probably have no other option than suing you in a civil court, hoping to recover the amount credited, and any interest and late fees associated with it. Not only a judgment against you would possibly allow the creditor to seize your property, garnish your wages, or take the money you owe directly from your bank account, but you could also be left to pay for all the court-related expenses associated with the lawsuit, as well.

Consequences of any legal course of action can be devastating. Here are steps that you should take immediately after you receive summons to appear in court:

1) Request to withdraw the lawsuit: Most creditors dislike the hassles of settling a case within the court premises. If you’ve received summons from the court, get in touch with your creditor immediately to see if there is any scope to cease the lawsuit from going any further.

Things worked out this way for Julie Evans, a Nevada resident, when her husband died prematurely after a massive loss in business, leaving her in debt. After receiving summons from the creditors for a massive $39,000, she immediately talked to them. They agreed to settle the case outside the court for just $15,000 and the lawsuit was withdrawn.

2) Get in touch with a lawyer: Sometimes, you may find it difficult to convince the creditor to withdraw the lawsuit, or you may believe that you’re not responsible for the debt. For either reason, getting in touch with a lawyer can help you construct a solid defense and guide you through the court proceedings. It’s better to consult a lawyer specialized in debt collection law. Check with your local bar association or find someone through the National Association of Consumer Advocates. If finances are an issue, you may qualify for free or low-cost legal aid through programs like lawhelp.org, or even hire an attorney for a limited period of time. Most lawyers offer an initial free counseling. You don’t lose anything by opting for it.

3) Consider your defense: Just because you’ve received a summon, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to lose it all. The creditor has to prove before the court that you owe the money. You may even win if the creditor fails to present all the documents pertaining to the case. Possibility of such an event increases when the creditor is a collection agency and the debt is bought. Again, the statute of limitations of your state can talk in favor of you.

4) Respond to the summons: You get a set amount of time (typically 20-30 days) to prepare and file a response once you’re served. Failing to do the same will be catastrophic as the creditor will automatically win a default judgment against you, and in some states, will be able to garnish your wages.

5) Follow the legal proceedings: Depending on your state and the complexities of your case, a number of proceedings can happen. A process known as ‘discovery’ can come into place where both the parties will exchange information gathered from other witnesses. If you accept to owe the money, the creditor may request for a summary judgment, which is simply a ruling by the judge in favor of the creditor without a trial. Likewise, if you have a defense, your attorney may ask to have the case dismissed just because of lack of evidence. If the proceedings continue, there will probably be a trial date when you must show up before the court and face the allegations. However, most cases don’t make it to the trial as both parties usually find it of greater hassle and conclude with some kind of settlement.

Unfortunately, if you lose a lawsuit, try to work with the creditor for a realistic payment plan in order to avoid harsh steps such as wage garnishment.

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