How to collect on a personal debt without an attorney?

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How to collect on a personal debt without an attorney?

I made a personal loan of $30K and I have been unable to collect. I tried to resolve this using an attorney but he was more interested in getting his payment then fighting to get mine. I have called collection agencies but they tell me they do not handle “personal” debt only corporate. Do you have any suggestions? Also, Is there any way I can find out if a person has property in another country?

Asked on March 3, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the debtor without using an attorney--representing yourself "pro se." While is not advised, based on how much is at stake--an attorney will increase you chance of success substantially--you are allowed to do this. Contact your local court, either in person or go to their website, and you should be able to locate the court rules, rules of evidence, sample forms (e.g. a sample summons, complaint, etc.) and instructions on filing a lawsuit pro se. Once you sue the other party, you then have access to the mechanisms of "discovery"--interrogatories, which are written questions; a notice to produce documents, which can get you paperwork and documentary evidence; subpoenas, but which you can require testimony; etc.--which you can use to find out whether the debtors owns property in another country. Of course, even if he does, it may be impossible for all practical purposes to get at that property--you'd have to go through the other nation's legal system, and some countries don't cooperate well or have legal systems that make it almost impossible to collect a debt.


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