What should I do about a court summons for debt? 24 Answers as of August 11, 2011

I have been served a court summons by a collections agency; and need to file an answer by, or appear in court on, Aug 2. I can't pay the debt. I'm unemployed and don't own a home or car. I live with my partner and our 10 month old. He's also unemployed and is supporting all of us using his credit. I don't know what to do and wonder if filing bankruptcy is my only option right now.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Heupel Law
Heupel Law | Kevin Heupel
Without knowing more about your other debts or assets, it is hard to determine whether bankruptcy is a good option for you. However, bankruptcy will stop the collection suit, eliminate the debt, and protect you from being garnished. Call our office for a free consultation and we’ll let you know if bankruptcy is your best option.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/10/2011
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
you need to make an appearance, informally is probably good enough (phone call). if you don't, they can get a default judgment against you without giving you notice. you should also formally send them a notice of appearance and answer, file with the court too. Bankruptcy is an option, you need to talk to a local Bankruptcy attorney
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/11/2011
Glen A. Kurtis, P.C.
Glen A. Kurtis, P.C. | Glen A. Kurtis
It sounds like bankruptcy is a good option.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/2/2011
Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
You may qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy and discharge your debts including this one. Either way you need to file an answer to the lawsuit just denying the amount before the 30 days runs from receipt of the Complaint.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 8/1/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
There is no shame in filing for bankruptcy, both of you are unemployed. You have a child to feed. The real question is timing. if you have used credit cards excessively in the last six months you need to wait six months to file. Who cares if the creditor gets a judgmental against you in the meantime. A judgment is dis chargeable and as long as you don't keep money in a bank account the creditor knows about, you will be fine.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/1/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    bankruptcy is an option you should explore, and doing it while you are unemployed is a great time since you will likely qualify for Chapter 7. In any event, you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney in your state regarding all your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    The Grundy Law Firm, PLLC
    The Grundy Law Firm, PLLC | Elvin Grundy
    Two quick points: 1) Never ignore a court summons for debt, and 2) Bankruptcy may be a premature (and more costly) option for many debtors than just answering the lawsuit. Depending on the nature of your debts and current assets, BK may not be the easiest and best avenue to achieve a discharge from a few isolated creditors. Furthermore, you likely have valid defenses to the creditors' suit, and this firm leverages all those defenses and forces the creditors to bargain in good faith. Flexible rates available. Don't delay. Contact me today.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr.
    Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr. | John C. Farrell, Jr.
    Under the law you have the right to file an answer. As a pro se debtor you can go to your local court and get a form. I would deny all claims against you. With respect to your inability to pay, that is a area which you can certainly state to the court that you have no means of paying right now or in the foreseeable future. The creditor will most likely go forward and get a judgment against but remember that doesn't meant that they will get even a penny from you. There are plenty of debtors out there that are what I call noncollectable which means many 100s or even thousands of debts going uncollected. Your partner, unless on the account is not responsible for the debt. In a nutshell I would not file for bankruptcy but if you have any doubts you can consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    You can let the judgment be entered since you are currently judgment proof or you can answer and delay entry of the judgment but eventually you will have to pay or file bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    You should consult a bankruptcy attorney for advice because it may be your best solution in your case.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    You must go to court if it's a summons. Deny responsibility, and make the creditor prove it via your signature on the original contract. I prefer to have people wait to file until they're working, so they can have a true fresh start. And be careful: if a creditor gets a judgment they'll freeze your bank account, so get your money out as soon as a judgment hits.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/31/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Why did you wait until now to ask? You should have acted weeks ago when you were served. It is unlikely you can get a bankruptcy filed in time now. A bankruptcy, if you qualify, does get rid of the case. See a lawyer on Aug. 1 and while you have limited your options with a delay, that is vital.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    If you have no attachable income or assets then the judgment means very little to you. However the best time ti file bk is now when you have little or no income.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    It depends whether the summons was in small claims court (less that $5,000) or not. If not, then you could file an answer to the complaint. If you cannot afford the filing fee for the answer you can also get the forms to waive the filing fee. This will delay any action for what could be a substantial amount of time, given the fact that the court budgets have been cut to the point where courtrooms are being closed. But even if you lose the lawsuit, as you describe your situation you have no non-exempt assets, so there isn't much a judgment creditor is going to be able to do to you. For a more complete analysis of your situation, call the bar association in your county for a referral. The charge is usually around $35, and you will get 1/2 hour consultation with a lawyer to discuss your situation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Financial Relief Law Center
    Financial Relief Law Center | Mark Alonso
    You have a few options. Bankruptcy certainly appears to be your first option since you do not have an income and neither does your partner. If you both have debt that you owe, it probably makes sense for you to file at this point and discharge your unsecured debt so that you can have a fresh start. The fact that your partner is supporting you and the baby using only his credit begs the question how much longer can he sustain living on credit, especially if he is not working to afford the monthly minimum payment on his cards. I would anticipate that either or both of you are receiving some form of unemployment at this time which is helping you get by. With respect to your creditor who sued you and is taking you to court on August 2nd
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    This is not a bankruptcy question
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Braunstein Law, PC
    Braunstein Law, PC | Jacob Braunstein
    You should consult with an attorney to determine whether filing bankruptcy is an available option for you. Our office, as well as many others, offers free consultations.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Easiest thingis to file BK and get rid of it. Thank you,
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Tucker Legal Clinic
    Tucker Legal Clinic | Samuel Tucker
    Really there is nothing you can do, unless you have some defense on the debt. On the other hand - at this time - there is nothing the creditor can do to you. You're not working so no wages to garnish...and you imply you have no property which could be seized, so there is no reason to file a bankruptcy - at this time.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law
    Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law | Eric Benzer
    Answer it and show up
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/30/2011
    Law Office of Felipe A. Malo, P.A.
    Law Office of Felipe A. Malo, P.A. | Felipe Augusto Malo
    i suggest filing bankruptcy right away this will automatically suspend the pending action against you. said debt can be discharged through bankruptcy
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/30/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney