Can a debt collector take my personal items computers for a debt in my wife’s name?

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Can a debt collector take my personal items computers for a debt in my wife’s name?

My wife foolishly refused to pay a $600 electric bill from her old apartment (that she said she doesn’t owe). She told the collections to stop after mentioning an act that prohibits bill collectors from calling and they stopped. I’m now worried over what will happen and she has no information on the name of the collection company. What is the process of collections? Can they seize my property too (TV’s, music equipment, etc)? Can they literally get a warrant and come into our apartment? Do I have to worry about our pets for crying out loud? I’m a wreck over this and any information would be greatly appreciated.

Asked on May 8, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The bill collector won't come to your apartment or take your personal items or your pets.

The creditor might file a lawsuit to collect the amount owed.  If the creditor obtains a judgment against your wife, the creditor could enforce the judgment with a wage garnishment.

Don't worry about any of this.  Until your wife is served with the summons and complaint (complaint is the lawsuit) by a process server, there is nothing to be concerned about.  When served with the summons and complaint, your wife will need to file an answer to the complaint within the time set forth in the summons.  The answer to the complaint is filed with the court and a copy is served by mail on the opposing party.  The answer needs to be filed with the court and served by mail on the opposing party within the time set forth in the summons.  If it is not timely filed, the opposing party will get a default judgment.  A default judgment means your wife will have lost the case.  If that occurs, she will need to file a motion to set aside the default.  If the court grants her motion to set aside the default, the case will then be back on track and litigation will continue.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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