ARE CREDITORS LOOKING FOR YOUR MONEY? (NOTE: I am not an attorney and I can not and will not give you legal advice. If you need an attorney, then go find one in your town or city. I am giving you information on how events work if you were to get sued. It doesn’t constitute legal advice.) First off, please understand that we are talking about money. This is not a life or death thing if you can’t pay your creditors. It’s money. And, as a friend of mine said, “money makes people funny“.
And, I have other good news for you! Debtor’s Prison was closed about 200 years ago! So, you won’t be going to jail if you can’t pay your creditors. Let’s take that threat right off the table.
The next thing you need to know is that your creditors will not “take your home if you don’t pay“. Why? Well, we live in a country that is not run by a dictator that can just take anything they want at any time. Neither are the corporations of the US able to just take things from people at random because they didn’t pay.
There is a legal system that exists to hold back those debt collectors from taking everything you own in order to pay your $5000 credit card. In fact, there is quite a legal process that goes on before anyone can be ordered by the court to give your creditors money.
SO WHAT CAN HAPPEN TO YOUR DEBT?
- One, the creditors get grumpy and try to threaten you with all kinds of bad things if you don’t pay.
- Two, they Make promises to you that they don’t keep if you make a payment (because whoever promised you “can’t be found” when you realize they were making it all up).
- Three, they can send your debt to an attorney for collection.
The attorney has to follow the laws too. He has to send you a letter telling you that he has the debt and that you have 30 days to challenge the debt, meaning, you can say – “prove it”!
IMPORTANT: SUMMONS ABOUT YOUR DEBT
If you don’t respond to the attorney’s letter or make any payment arrangements (because you can’t, because you have money problems…) then, they can file a suit on you. You get a Summons, which is an announcement that you need to go to court, or respond to the suit. The intention of a suit is to overwhelm you into paying them. That is all they are trying to do. If you are scared of courts and going to courts, well, that’s exactly what they are counting on. They know that you will pay them if you are scared!
If you respond to the suit (and you may have directions on the Summons of how to respond), then this could delay the process of the suit and maybe give you a chance to find some money.
With our clients, if they get sued, responding to the suit allows more time for our client to put money together so we can make a settlement with the attorneys.
No one can take any money from you until the judge rules that you are guilty of owing money. If that happens, then there are a few things that could be done, but all by the court’s permission (except #1):
- 1. Nothing, and this happens a lot of the time, the creditor does nothing.
- 2. Garnish your wage.
- 3. Put a lien on your property.
- 4. Put a lien on your bank account.
That’s really it.
It is a process that can take months.
I’ll give you some more information on what I’ve seen happen to our clients and most of it is under #1 above.