What is the timeline once debt has been turned over to an attorney? 7 Answers as of February 15, 2017

My debt was recently referred to a debt collection attorney in my state. They sent me a letter saying they had the debt about three weeks ago. How long will I typically have before they sue me? Would it be a good idea to write and tell them I am filing for bankruptcy? I have already completed the first step (pre-filing credit counseling), but I am having major trouble finding a pro bono attorney to help me and I am worried about being sued in the interim.

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Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
Some collection attorneys never file lawsuits, some file them automatically. The first issue is whether a lawsuit is worthwhile. If the debt is less than $1,000 or so, few attorneys will bother to file a lawsuit. Second issue, is can they collect. If you own a house and/or make more than $30,000 a year the attorney has a good chance of collecting. Once a lawsuit is filed, it takes at least 3 months to get a judgment, more if you file an answer.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 2/15/2017
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
That just varies all over the place. There is no answer to that question. As for pro bono services, this one just gets me. It costs me about 10K a month to open the doors. Would you ask the car repair person to pro bono fix your car and supply the parts for free? I don't understand why people think lawyers should work for fee. I do donate some of my time to special causes, but I handpick those cases and they never involve bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/15/2017
Eranthe Law Firm
Eranthe Law Firm | Cate Eranthe
There is no way to know how long it will take to be sued or even if the attorney will actually sue you. In California they have 4 years to file a suit. My opinion is that it is NOT a good idea to write to them regarding your intent to file bankruptcy. It may make the timeline move faster. The only contact I would make is to write a debt validation request letter in the time allotted. Some counties have pro bono help and some do not. You can look at the United States Bankruptcy Court website which has lots of information for pro se filers including if there are any clinics or other help in your area. Also check with your local legal aid society,
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/15/2017
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
Call Colorado Legal Services to see if you qualify for pro bono legal services. There is no specific time line. Calling them may help if they know you are filing a BK.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 2/14/2017
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
There is no typical way for a creditor attorney to act. They might file suit in a month or they might wait a year. As to telling them you are going to file bankruptcy, that statement will not impress them one bit. They hear this and think LIAR. In terms of finding a bankruptcy pro bono attorney, good luck. Bankruptcy typically provides no real help for people whose income is so low that they are eligible for free or reduced services, and why provide a service if it gives the person no real benefit?
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 2/14/2017
    OlsenDaines | Rex Daines
    Usually about 60 days. Sometimes if you tell them you are filing a bankruptcy that will make the speed up the process to try to get some garnished funds from you before you file. Sometimes it will do to opposite if they believe you and they will stop collection activity. If you tell them you are going to file a bankruptcy, they will probably ask who your attorney is and when you don't have an answer they will speed up their collection efforts.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 2/14/2017
    Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
    There is no timeline set by law or regulation. Each collection entity sets its own priorities. If the debt is relatively small, they may simply make a threat or two to try to collect, and if that does not work, sell the claim to some other collector. Others may rush into court. There's no way of telling-except the smaller the debt, the more likely the collector will be willing to settle-or even not bother to sue. You can tell them you are filing for bankruptcy. This sometimes holds them off for a while, but every collector knows of phonies who threaten a bankruptcy, but never file. It's hard to find a pro bono BR attorney. But you might find one who is willing to accept payments over time.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 2/14/2017
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