I have received a summons from the Sheriffs Dept. from a creditor regarding a vehicle charge off. I am unable to pay the amount and was wondering if there are any other options besides bankruptcy? I am not working and I don't own any property so would bankruptcy be necessary?
2 Answers from Attorneys
You asked the same question before and the answer hasn't changed.
Once the creditor gets a judgment, they will be able to garnishee you for years to come. A decade from now, same problem. The difference will be that it is far easier to file bankruptcy while unemployed than employed.
Note that you MIGHT also have defenses in your case that will be waived forever if not asserted now.
It would be extremely foolish not to see a lawyer now.
Bankruptcy now is not necessary. As correctly noted by Attorney Ashman though, wage garnishment is a possibility if you ever find a job. Further, the judgment creditor can seize any assets that you own free and clear as well as freeze your bank account. If you rent, don't have a bank account and anything like your car has a car loan on it, then you are probably safe for now.
You do need to think about resolving the debt at some point. Obviously if you are not working, you may not have spare cash to hire a lawyer now. As long as you are confident that this is your debt and that there are no defenses/objections (statute of limitations - selling the debt without proof that the junk debt buyer now ows the debt), then it probably is ok to forego filing an answer.
Once you are working, I would hope that you don't immediately get garnished and that you start putting aside some funds. If and when you are garnished, you will then have some monedy to use to either settle the debt or work out some kind of payment arrangement whereby the crediitor promises not to garnish your wages, freeze bank accounts or seize assets provided that you make your payments. If you do this, I would recommend that you get a lawyer at that time to assist. Just do not pay the law firm any money until you get a written agreement.
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