If acredit card company is suing me, can I still settle out-of-court with no garnishments?

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If acredit card company is suing me, can I still settle out-of-court with no garnishments?

I have a court date. Lawyer said he would try to settle. I have nothing – I rent, make 9$ and hour, and have an old car. Additionally, I am ill and have a minor child. This is my debt but I thought it was paid 3 years ago after my divorce. The card company sent nothing and then served me with a judgement. I want to make this debt good.

Asked on January 6, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Louisiana

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, I am sorry for your troubles.  Now, may I ask: when you say that you thought that the debt was paid after the divorce, was it supposed to be paid as part of the settlement agreement?  If yes, why was it not?  You need to explore this issue and see if you can explain it to the judge.  If you were served with a default judgement then that means that you did not respond to the summons and complaint that you were to be served with.  Were you served with these papers?  If no, then you need to bring an Order to Show Cause to vacate the default judgement.  The reason is that you were not properly served and the court did not have jurisdiction over you.  Then you need what is known as a meritorious defense, which could be that the debt was to be paid off when you were divorced and that someone else messed up here.  This at least lifts the judgement and allows you to settle the matter properly. It gives you a little bit of leverage here as well. Then you can explain to the judge that you wish to settle the debt once you verify that it was not paid off.  You can also explain that you can only pay x amount of dollars monthly.  Good luck to you.


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