I am being sued for credit card debt and I do not know how to defend myself. Where can I get help?

Sued for credit card debt…help!

If you have been sued for credit card debt you will need to appear in court on the date printed on the summons. If you do not attend the hearing you will lose your lawsuit by default, and you will forfeit your right to present your defense. If the creditor wins by default, not only will this appear on your credit report, they will also be allowed to pursue collections by the means decided by the court.

You may bring legal counsel to the hearing, or you can represent yourself. If you do decide to hire a lawyer make sure you understand how much they charge and get everything in writing. Even if you hire a lawyer, however, you are likely to lose your case, especially if the creditor can prove you borrowed the money and have not paid it back.

What will happen if I lose my case?

State laws vary so the actions allowed to the creditor to collect payments will vary. For instance, in some states the creditor maybe able to take nonexempt assets and force you to sell them to collect a portion of what they are owed. They also may be allowed to put a lien on certain types of possessions which will not allow you to sell them until the lien is paid.

The good news is certain items are exempt from sale and could be protected including your primary residence, furniture, clothes and tools that are necessary for your work. If you own nothing, creditors may win the lawsuit, but you still have nothing to sell and no money to pay them.

Can my wages be garnished for credit card debts?

In some states credit card companies may also garnish certain types of income, assuming they have sued you in court and won a judgment against you. There are certain types of wages, however, which may be protected from credit card garnishment. For instance, if you receive disability benefits, child support, retirement pensions, etc. this money might be protected.

In other states, however, wage garnishments are not allowed by credit card companies at all. In Texas, for instance, wages are only garnished for child support, alimony, taxes, and student loans. You can talk to a lawyer to find out what garnishments are allowed in your state.

In general, according to Garnishmentlaws.org, "Garnishment is governed by both federal and state law. In many cases, the federal and state laws conflict – as far as what can be garnished, as well as garnishment limits – and when that happens, the law that is the most favorable to the employee prevails."

Will bankruptcy stop my wage garnishments?

Bankruptcy immediately stops garnishment of your wages for a credit card debt. But filing bankruptcy is a very serious financial decision and can have long-term financial consequences which make it difficult to borrow money at a competitive interest rate or purchase a home. Filing bankruptcy will also not stop all wage garnishments. For instance, if your wages are garnished for child support or certain types of tax debts, filing bankruptcy will not help.

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