Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Massachusetts

I had a divorce a couple years back and as a "payback" my ex-wife took my car and moved to another state, no one knew where she went. I called the car dealership that i financed my car with and told them the situation, they told me since it was in my name i still had to pay for it. the divorce broke me financially and i had no way of paying for a vechicle i was not driving plus getting another vechicle to get me to work. So i stop paying for the vechile she took. Well, of course, the car dealership continued to add payments to the car note and i assisted them in helping to track my ex-wife down. About a year ago, the car dealship found they car and repo'd it. A month ago, I recieved a a letter in the mail saying i'm being sued for the monies owed on the car note. Now i'm barely keeping my head above water, so to speak, and i have no way of affording a lawyer much less paying for what i'm being sued for. Is there any advice you can relay?

Asked on 4/18/11, 7:43 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Mary Meaden Law Office of Mary B Meaden

Hello. It appears that the lender is suing you for the amount of the difference between what they were able to sell the car for at auction and what was owed on the loan at the time of the auction (plus late fees, repossession fees and attorney fees). You MUST answer that official complaint with a typed ANSWER to the court with copy to the lender's attorney within 30 days of being served with the complaint (in some instances you can get a few days grace period). If you do not answer the complaint, then the court will enter a "default" on the record for you at the court and then the creditor can apply to the court for another hearing called a "Examination of Debtor" where you are supposed to appear and give your financial information and basically let the court and the lender know how much you can afford to pay every month towards this Judgment. If you fail to appear at the Examination of Debtor hearing, the court can then permit the creditor to put liens on your property, garnish wages, bank accounts, etc -- it can get really ugly from there. Because this debt was in your name, you will be largely responsible for this deficiency, although there are some defenses available under MA law that might be able to throw out or get you a reduction in the amount that you owe here, and then you may be able to turn around and sue your ex in small claims court if she is in a nearby state to see if you can collect some of the money also. I perform limited representation services in cases like this for a reduced legal fee where I can prepare the documentation that you need for court, give you directions on how to distribute it and then give you some advice on how to approach this matter in court, but you then ultimately represent yourself in court hearings and handle your own case. If you are interested in these services, please contact me via email at [email protected] and I would be happy to review your situation. -- Mary B Meaden, Esq., Brockton, MA

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Answered on 4/22/11, 12:51 am

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