If my wife might not be able to attend a court date, can I be there instead?

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If my wife might not be able to attend a court date, can I be there instead?

Wife has a court date for a pending judgment with a credit card company, not disputing it is owed but dispute that we did not try to get caught up. CC company just would not work with us and sent the account to a collection company. Wife may not be able to attend the court date due to a mandatory work meeting regarding company wide layoffs, can I represent her? Tried to call the attorneys that are handling the case but they just say see you in court, not much help. Fear is if she misses the meeting she gets the ax. If she misses the court date do we lose any options?

Asked on October 27, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If it's just your wife's debt, not  yours as well, you can't represent her in court--only a lawyer can represent her. If it's a joint debt of both you, you should be able to go by yourself--not every debtor necessarily needs to be there. To be certain, though, you should contact the court: call the judge's chambers, explain the exact situation, and ask.

2) If your wife needs to be there and isn't, you will lose by default or automatically.

3) Another option is to ask for an adjournment--again, call the court, explain the situation, and ask if they can move the hearing to a different date. Courts often will try to be accomodating, but give them as much notice or warning as possible.

Note, however, that a credit card company does not have to work with, or give you a chance to get caught up; so if your only


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