If you are unable to meet the payment demands of a creditor you could find yourself faced with a "collection lawsuit." Not only will the creditor ask for the amount of the debt in the "Complaint," but the creditor will also likely ask for and be entitled to court costs, interest and attorney fees. As a general rule collection attorneys add up to one-third of the amount of the underlying debt for attorney fees, greatly increasing the amount you owe overnight! Creditor collection attorneys begin the process by preparing a "Complaint" and filing it in the courthouse of the county of your residence. You probably won't even know that a "lawsuit" has been filed against you at this point. The collection lawyer will then have the county court clerk issue a "Summons" which notifies you of the lawsuit against you. Things really get rolling when a "process server" personally "serves" you with a copy of the Summons and Complaint.
You have 30 days within which you must file a written "Response" with the court. Calling the collection attorney on the telephone or writing the attorney a letter does not suffice; this does not constitute a proper "Response." If you fail to properly respond to the lawsuit the court will then enter a "Judgment" against you for everything the collection lawyer requested in the original Complaint. The "Judgment," once it is "enrolled," becomes a lien on your property within the county, i.e., it becomes a "lien" against your personal residence! The creditor's lawyer will also attempt to collect the judgment by having the court issue a "Writ of Garnishment" whereby the court orders your employer to make deductions from your paycheck until the full amount of the Judgment — plus interest — is collected. Your employer does not have any choice in the matter. In Mississippi a creditor can garnish up to 25 percent of your income each pay period…without any regard as to whether or not you have money left to live on!
Fortunately, filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 STOPS collection lawsuits! You can avoid having liens placed against your property and you can avoid wage garnishment. Even if your employer has already begun making deductions from your paycheck, the wage garnishment will STOP! You can also remove liens placed against your residence as part of the bankruptcy process. In order to minimize your attorney fees, however, it is best to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 BEFORE a creditor obtains a Judgment against you. If you have been served with a Summons and Complaint you should call us immediately. Filing bankruptcy, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 requires the experience of a legal team who can help you choose the best course of action for your unique circumstances.
At the Pond Law Firm we have more than 20 years of bankruptcy experience and we are committed to your success. To get in touch with us and to schedule a free initial consultation, call 601-948-4878 or email the firm.
The Jackson-based Pond Law Firm is a federally designated debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.