Debt problems can spiral out of control quickly. One minute it’s slipped your mind to pay a bill and the next you’re receiving notification that a creditor is taking legal action against you. If you let a bill go unpaid long enough, the court can grant a creditor permission to take drastic action against you – including garnishing your wages or taking your assets.
If a creditor files for a judgement against you, it’s important you act fast. Judgements give creditors a great deal of power and eliminate a number of things you can do to protect yourself. Luckily, there are actions you can take to stop a judgement, and the sooner you do so the better.
What are some of the things you can do to avoid a judgement?
Agree to a Payment Plan
In some cases, the creditor taking legal action against you might be willing to work with you if you’ll agree to a payment plan.
Trying to arrange a payment plan with a creditor that has begun legal action can be intimidating and it doesn’t always work, but in many situations it’s worth a try. Make sure you get any agreement in writing and do everything you can to abide by the payment plan. Failing to meet your obligation to the plan will result in immediate legal action and you’ll be right back where you began.
Contacting a creditor to discuss a payment arrangement can be risky. In some cases, unscrupulous debt collectors will take advantage of you. Before reaching out to a creditor, make sure you understand your options and be very careful about what you agree to during the discussion.
File a Dispute
Sometimes creditors attempt legal action against someone concerning a debt that is not legitimate. They’ve either made a mistake or they are hoping the consumer doesn’t understand his or her rights and will pay the debt, even if it’s not legally that person’s responsibility.
If you receive notice of legal action against you regarding a debt you do not owe, you still need to go to court and fight it. By ignoring the collector’s efforts, you put yourself at risk for becoming legally responsible for the debt.
You read that right: a debt collector can gain the power to collect a debt that is not yours by receiving judgement. This means you’ll be legally responsible to pay for something that is no longer your responsibility, that you actually paid in the past, or that was fraudulently applied to you.
If you are notified that a debt collector is seeking a judgement against you, you must take action to protect yourself. Do not ignore it and assume since the debt is not legitimate that it won’t be a big deal.
Use Bankruptcy to Stop Collection and Legal Efforts against You
Your third option for dealing with a creditor seeking a judgement against you is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy provides protection against all debt collection efforts, even if a debt is legitimate and you are still responsible for paying it. It can also provide long-term relief and help you resolve financial issues that are plaguing your life.
To learn more about how bankruptcy can help you if a creditor is taking legal action and has filed for a judgement, contact the law office of Frank J. LaPerch, PC at 845.942.5500.