GENERAL LAWSUIT INFORMATION
While enrolled in a
debt settlement program, lawsuits are a possibility rather than a probability. However, in the event you are
served with a lawsuit, we want to inform you of some basic information pertaining to the legal process and what
you can do on your own to handle the situation. Keep in mind; laws very from state to state, county to county,
and city to city, so the information provided below should not be taken as legal advice, but as simple
explanations of terms and frequently used options to resolve the lawsuit.
THE BASIC LAWSUIT
A lawsuit is
initiated when the Plaintiff files a Complaint with the Clerk of the Court. That Complaint, along with a Summons
is served on the Defendant. You can be served in person, via mail, left attached to your door, etc. Once the
Summons and Complaint are served on the Defendant it is now your responsibility to take action.
As the Defendant you have several options in dealing
with the lawsuit. Please note, you always have the option to seek the advice of an attorney in your area if you are
not comfortable with the process.
The first option
requires you to file an Answer with the Clerk of the Court. The Answer must be filed within the time-frame
stated in the Summons. The Answer is your response to the allegations made in the Complaint. You can assert any
defenses you have to the allegations and ask for verification of the debt owed if not provided in the Complaint.
Your local courthouse may have a self-help center where you can pick up a form to fill out and file as your
Answer. However, if none are available you can ask the clerk for the specific guidelines on how the Answer must
be presented. KEEP IN MIND; THE CLERK CAN NOT GIVE YOU LEGAL ADVICE.
Once the Answer is filed you will receive notification in the mail for a hearing date. It is important to
read all documents received from the Plaintiff’s attorney and the court to be sure you are complying with the
requirements. The hearing is you opportunity to explain your side of the story. You can also take that time
to make arrangements for repayment.
arrangements made at the hearing will be done by court order. All this means is that the court is now requiring
you to make the payments as agreed. If you fail to do so further legal action may be taken against you. This can
include wage garnishment, property liens, and/or bank account levies. For this reason, it is very important to
make all agreed upon payments.
When the amount
owed is paid in full you will be released from any further liability. If a lien was recorded to secure the
amount owed, it too will be lifted.