What To Do If You've Been Sued?

If you are behind on bills, eventually you're likely to be sued by a creditor.  The sheriff or a process server (a person hired to deliver legal papers) shows up at your doorstep and hands over legal papers.   Now the ball is in your court to respond.  It's tempting to ignore them and hope they go away. But that's the worst thing you can do.  Usually, you only have 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.  If you don't respond, the creditor can go to the court and ask for a default judgment.  By not responding, you're letting them win by default.  Once they have that default judgment, they can start trying to garnish wages or freeze bank accounts.

So read the legal papers carefully. The Summons should tell you how many days you have to respond.  Pay attention to this number, and think carefully about whether you should get legal advice about how to handle this.  You respond to a lawsuit by filing an "Answer" responding to the creditor's allegations with the clerk of court in the county where you were sued.  The creditor has to receive a copy as well.  

Creditors often get sloppy with their lawsuits. They might not explain how they've come to own your debt.  They might calculate what you owe incorrectly.  You might not even owe them a debt.  But you won't win if you don't fight.  Lots of companies buy up or try to collect delinquent debts--Midland Funding, Midland Credit Management, Asset Acceptance, Portfolio Recovery, Calvary, H & R Accounts, Tri-State Adjustments, to name a few.  They make their money from the people who do not fight and let them get a default judgment.   Don't make it that easy for them.