Hello! this is Jeff Kelly, and in this podcast today I’m going to talk a little bit about How to fight a creditor lawsuit.
So, In Georgia, consumers have the right to fight back against creditor lawsuits. In my experience, the people who I have seen have the most successful outcomes are victims of identity theft. Before I get into it, I wanna go something real quick. A lot of people will call me and say “Why in the world am I getting a letter from you just because I’m being sued?”
Well, the answer is. I am a bankruptcy attorney and in my law practice, we send out a ton of direct mail advertisements to people who are getting sued. Often times, our letters will get to people before the sheriff will serve the lawsuit, particularly during this corona time. A lot of sheriff officers are being delayed for obvious reasons and our letter gets there first. So people understandably wanna know when they’re gonna get the information. Usually is about a week or two after our letter hits, but the sheriff is coming he will serve you with a complaint. And it’s very important to make note of the date you are served of the complaint because you have 30 days to respond to it. If you don’t respond, you’re gonna end up with a default judgment against you and that is very very bad because you could lose a lot of important rights.
So, what you do if you’ve got a creditor lawsuit against you and you want to fight it? Well, if we’re talking about a significant amount of money you really need to hire an attorney. I mean it’s kind of crazy to walk into a court of law if you don’t know what you’re doing. But I do understand if it is a small amount of money there are some cases where the amount of money that’s state at stake might be less than what you would pay an attorney.
So, I get it. In Georgia, you have the right to represent yourself without an attorney. I don’t recommend this but I get it. So, you wanna make sure that you respond to the lawsuit within 30 days of you being served. You can go on Google and you can type in “How do I respond to a creditor lawsuit?”. Usually, a small amount are going to be in magistrate court, “How do I respond to magistrate court lawsuit?”. The form is not super complicated, you can possibly do it all in one page. You wanna style the top part just like the complaint that you’ve been served, You’re going to want to, you know, right at the top answer that this is your answer to the complaint.
If you’re a victim of identity theft, you’re probably going to want to say something along the lines of “I am not liable for the debt as alleged in the complaint, I’ve never had a contract with the defendant. Ever! I’d like to have a hearing before the judge”. Something that simple should be enough to get you a hearing. Now, if you do get a hearing before the judge, you’re gonna get notified by mail. And you better show up at the hearing date. Because if you don’t, you know, judges are very powerful people if they wanted to, and I doubt they would do this very often, but if they wanted to, they could issue a bench warrant for your arrest, if there is a hearing that you requested and then you don’t bother to show up for it. So that can be pretty embarrassing for you. So make sure you show up or if you can’t go to court. Make sure you communicate with the court and let them know So assuming that you respond correctly by filing your answer to the complaint and serving said answer on the creditor, you will get the hearing you will get a chance to give your evidence that you do not owe the debt.
Now, what should you do in a case where you, you do have the debt? What should you do? Well, you’ve got three options. Number one, you can call the attorney who filed the lawsuit against you and you can work out a payment plan or number two, you can just ignore the whole thing and let the creditor get a default judgment against you. If you do that, and they garnish your wages, you know, Georgia is pretty brutal, they can take 25% of your wages. So if you’re expecting to see $1,000 in your paycheck, you’re only going to see 750 because they’re gonna take 25% they can do that or they can clean out your checking account up to the amount of the debt.
Some people do take that route because you know, if it’s a small amount, I get it, I understand. But if we’re talking about a significant amount of money, and if you’re in a situation where this is not your only debt, there are plenty of others and they’re just basically gonna start lining up filing lawsuits against you.
Call me, let’s talk about chapter 13 or chapter 7. It is a free consultation. You’re crazy if you don’t take advantage of this. Let’s go over income. Let’s go over your budget. Let’s come up with a plan that works to take care of everything. To give you some peace of mind so you can sleep at night and not stress or worry about any of this stuff. Let’s take care of the big picture.
Give me a call 7708818449 now, anything I’ve said in this podcast, do not rely on it is legal advice. If you want free legal advice about your specific situation, call Call me 7708818449. If you get a chance, check out my main website www.kellycanhelp.com. I’ve got a lot of podcast on there there’s a search bar you can use to find other topics you might be interested in. And I want you to go to my website scroll down to the bottom and type in your email address so I can send you a digital copy of a book that I’ve written on chapter 13 and chapter 7. We will give it to you for free. You can also give us a call at 770-881-8449 and let us know if you prefer to have a hard copy. We will send you one while supplies last. And I want to thank you for tuning in today and wish you the best.