If judgement isobtained against me, can the creditortake my car?

I was in a car accident last year and due to this I was wiped out financially. I put all my debt into a credit solution company. Yesterday I was served a summons that one of the credit card companies if filing a lawsuit against me. Since I have no money left, the Sheriff’s Department Officer told me they could repossess my car and I should have the title change to reflect my name and another person so they can’t take. Is this true?

Asked on December 29, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

That is not a good option because as long as your name is on the title, a creditor could still have a claim against the car.

A better option would be to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy (assuming that you are eligible) if the creditor gets a judgment against you.  There is an exemption in the bankruptcy for an automobile which would allow you to keep the car.  It would be premature to file bankruptcy until there is a judgment against you.

At the present time, you should file an answer to the complaint (complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons).  If you don't file an answer within the time stated on the summons, you will lose by default.  At the law library, look in the index of Pleading and Practice  for answer to complaint.  You will see sample answers and the general format for an answer.  The answer denies the allegations in the complaint.  At the end of the answer is the verification which is signed under penalty of perjury attesting to the veracity of your statements in the answer.  You want to file the answer with the verification and an attached proof of service with the court.  The proof of service just verifies the date of mailing.  You can either use a court form or just write your own.  The proof of service would just say that you are over 18 and the attached documents were sent via first class mail unless specified otherwise to __________ (name and address of opposing attorney for credit card company) on ________ (date).  You sign under penalty of perjury at the bottom of the proof of service.  The date you sign should be the same date as the date of mailing and the same date you file your documents (answer to complaint and proof of service) with the court.

If you can't afford the court filing fee, there is a form you can obtain from the court which is a waiver of the filing fees.


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