Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in California

Debt Settlement

Hello, I was served a summons about one week ago. Citibank is suing me for 26K. I have 30 days to respond. I would like to get on a repayment plan and have a QDRO that I could use as collateral. I am wondering - do I need an attorney? Or do I use a debt settlement company to negotiate directly with the law firm who is representing Citibank in this lawsuit? There are so many services out there; I'm intimidated, overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take. I read such negative things about debt consolidation companies; how do I just get in touch with Citibank, propose a settlement and payment plan and settle this issue as quickly as possible?

Asked on 3/17/09, 1:43 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Carl Starrett Law Offices of Carl H. Starrett II
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Re: Debt Settlement

You may have heard the saying that the man who argues his own case has a fool for a lawyer. In the strict legal sense, you don't "need" an attorney. You have the right to represent yourself. However, you really SHOULD have an attorney because having someone in your corner because $26K is a lot of money.

I suggest contacting the website for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and using attorney search function. You can probably find an attorney in your area that will give you a free consultation.

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3/17/09, 1:56 pm
David Gibbs The Gibbs Law Firm, APC
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Re: Debt Settlement

Once in litigation, I would definitely not use a debt-settlement company. They are (if at all) only useful prior to this point. I am going to suggest that an attorney is the only way to protect your rights adequately, however, the reality is that many cannot afford legal fees (otherwise, you probably wouldn't be in this situation). Your best bet is to give yourself a deadline of one week to resolve this yourself by calling the attorney handling the matter and try to get this settled. If not, contact an attorney immediately as you will then have only two weeks to file and serve a response the pleadings. Good luck.

*Due to the limitations of the LawGuru Forums, The Gibbs Law Firm, APC's (the "Firm") participation in responding to questions posted herein does not constitute legal advice, nor legal representation of the person or entity posting a question. No Attorney/Client relationship is or shall be construed to be created hereby. The information provided is general and requires that the poster obtain specific legal advice from an attorney. The poster shall not rely upon the information provided herein as legal advice nor as the basis for making any decisions of legal consequence.

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3/17/09, 2:02 pm
Michael Stone Law Offices of Michael B. Stone Toll Free 1-855-USE-MIKE
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Re: Debt Settlement

Don't use a "debt settlement company," most are scams. Don't call the other lawyer without first consulting one yourself, maybe there are good defenses to the lawsuit such as the statute of limitations. Consulting a consumer bankruptcy lawyer is a good idea even if you aren't considering BK as this type of lawyer routinely handles consumer debt issues. If the debt is more than 4 years old I would very much like to hear from you.

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3/17/09, 2:38 pm

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