I read a story recently where a creditor took a woman to court about credit card debt that she had incurred in 2006. It was in her name alone and not in her husband’s name. The debt collector wanted $1,500 plus costs –from a woman who was living on disability and Social Security, plus a small pension.
The good news
She was advised to immediately check the laws in her state as it’s possible that the statute of limitations had expired on the debt. She could learn this by visiting her state attorney general’s website. The statute of limitations on written contracts in most states is six years, which includes credit card debt. If this were the case, the woman’s creditor might be just getting in under the deadline. However, it would certainly be worthwhile for her to find out.
If a debt collector drags you into court
If you should be sued by a debt collector that’s the first thing you should do–check and make check out the statute of limitation on debts in your state.. If it has expired you will just need to prove in court the account’s age and that it’s no longer collectible. You will need to show the judge your paperwork on the account or documents from the collection agency with the date of the debt and the name of the original creditor.
If the debt is collectible.
If you feel that the debt is valid, it could still be worth it to appear in court. The bad news is that if the debt is valid, the judge will probably find in favor of the collector. If this happens, your day will be over as the the court will issue a judgment in favor of the collector for the amount you owed.
However, if you are present you might be able to show the judge that your financial situation was just so bad you would be termed “judgment proof.” To do this you would have to show the court proof that your financial situation was just awful. Three months’ worth of bank statements should probably be enough to make your case. You might want to contact your local legal aid society to see if you could get a pro bono (free) lawyer to help.
If the collector is awarded a judgment
If the collector is awarded a judgment, he can use it to garnish your wages, put a lien on any real property or garnish your bank account to collect the debt. Retirement benefits including Social Security are usually exempt from garnishment–if you don’t owe taxes or child support.
Your spouse might also be responsible
If you live in a community property state such as California, Arizona, Alaska, Louisiana, Nevada or Texas your spouse may also be responsible for your debt under community property laws. However this would be true only if the debt was incurred after you were married.
A better way to handle debt
A much better answer than waiting to be sued and dragged into court over your debts is to let us help. We are a debt settlement provider who can negotiate with your creditors to get your debts reduced as much as possible. We provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee as we are so confident that we can help you achieve your goal of becoming debt-free in a reasonable time, that if you are ever unsatisfied with our debt relief program you can cancel at anytime without any penalties or fees.
Don’t get dragged into court. Contact us by email, phone or live chat so we can start helping you immediately.