By the time you have been in debt for a long time and you receive summons to appear in court in order to determine a legal course of action, you are usually beyond any negotiations to resolve the matter in an amicable way and you need to prepare yourself for a strong defense in court.
Dealing with the matter head-on in court is the only way you will be able to get your life back to some degree. This is often much harder than it sounds, but at the end of the day, with the proper assistance from different people and organizations suited for such matters, you can get the matter behind you and start moving forward with your life.
Once you are served with a debt lawsuit, you need to do the following:
- Accept the summons
Don’t make any immediate response before you know exactly what is alleged and what the legal and financial implications are. At this point, you should only accept the summons and avoid making any statements to defend yourself because you could further complicate matters by doing so.
- Gather your financial history
The next important step is to put together all the financial documents that pertain to the period of the alleged debt. You should gather all bank balances and letters from the day you took the alleged debt up to the current date or the date of last activity.
- Hire legal help
If you can afford legal help, hire an attorney who specializes in debt issues to advice you further and represent you in court if need be. If you are not able to afford a lawyer and you know the accusations are wrong or unjustifiable, you can hire the services of lawsuit funding companies to help finance your legal defense.
- Learn your rights
Before you respond to the summons, you need to educate yourself on the legal implications that pertain to your case as well as any issues that surround the case including, how the plaintiff should behave.
For example, there are rules that govern how a debt collector should behave in order to collect any alleged dues from a debtor. Some of these rules include the following:
Debt collectors cannot contact you before 8 am
They can’t ask your neighbors questions about you
They shouldn’t disturb you at work etc.
- Respond to the lawsuit
After you get an attorney or after you have researched on how to best proceed with the matter and allegations made, you need to respond to the summons to appear in court. If you don’t appear in court on the day you are supposed to, you will automatically lose the case because the matter will be decided in favor of the plaintiff.
- Defend your case and follow the court’s ruling
With the help of your attorney, you should answer to any charges made against you and then wait for the court’s ruling. Accept the ruling that the court gives.
Kenneth L. Bryant has been a financial advisor for the last 12 years. He specializes in helping people in debt, get out of debt and advises his clients on when best to use lawsuit funding companies. Visit his website for more information.