I was served with a court summons for credit card debt. I have been making arranged payments for 18 months and have not missed a payment. The payment amount started at $300 and is currently $500. The attorneys office handling the matter requested an increase in the payment amount. Unfortunately my Personal Financial Statement was not submitted/received in a timely manner and a lawsuit has begun. Before the summons was delivered (7-25-17), I received a letter (dated 7-10-17) from the attorney’s office, that stated that based on by Personal Financial Statement, I am able to continue making my current payment as previously arranged through March 30, 2018. It will be reviewed for an increase or possible settlement at that time. The balance on my debt is now $24.670.24 (it started at a little over $32,000).
I called the attorneys office yesterday to find out how to handle the summons and to make my monthly payment. The clerk who I have been talking to seemed to discourage me from responding to the summons. He did say that they are willing to work with me. He suggested that perhaps they can reduce the debt by 20% and I can make arranged payments for 12 to 18 months. I really don’t know if I trust his suggestions. I do not have a lump sum to offer so some kind of payment arrangement is my only option (which I have been doing).
Should I not respond to the summons and work with them? The most I can do payment-wise is $750 a month for 24 months which would require a 25% debt reduction. $750 a month is going to be tricky, God forbid something come up (car repair, dental issues, etc.), I will be in the same predicament that got me in this mess in the first place. I know this is my obligation and I do want to pay what I owe.
p.s. What caused this dilemma you ask? My husband became ill about 4 years ago for a short time and once that financial hole was started it was so hard to get out of it. Of course the recession did not help either :-( Things are now better financially but I know firsthand how that can change in the course of 6 months.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Definitely file an answer to the complaint within 30 days after it was served. If you don't, you have no leverage and will have a default judgment against you from the remaining principal and interest. Do you trust these folks who reneged on your deal? Never accept legal advice from a law firm that has sued you! You might consider filing for bankruptcy protection if your debts are or become overwhelming. Good luck.