What to do if being taken to court for a credit card debt?

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What to do if being taken to court for a credit card debt?

I owe about $7000. What can I expect when I show up for the court date and how should I take care of this debt? My wife was out of work for a year. Can they take my house ? I can’t afford an attorney.

Asked on February 22, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) Do you owe the money? If the charges, the interest, etc. are all legitimate, then you can expect that the court will find for your creditor and give them a judgment in their favor for that amount. If you believe the charges are not legitimate--wrong balance calculated, wrong interest rate, you didn't make some of the charges, etc.--then gather your evidence and you'll have a chance to disprove or dispute them.

2) Since it's difficult for a pro se litigant to represent himself against an attorney (the other side will have one), odds are strong--especially if you do owe the money (see above) that a judgment against you will issue.

3) If there's a judgment against you and you do not pay voluntarily, the creditor can try to garnish a bank account and/or your wages; can look to put a lien on your home, which will not itself all  them to foreclose, but which means that if you do try to sell the home, you have to pay off the lien to do so; and/or can try to execute on (force the sale of) some of your belongings.

4) Depending on your overall financial situation, if faced with a legitimate debt you can't pay, you may wish to consider bankruptcy.


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