Do I have to attend a hearing for a bench trial for a collection of one of my debts?

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Do I have to attend a hearing for a bench trial for a collection of one of my debts?

They are suing me. I have been out of work for 3 years, no income. My husband is retired and is on disability. I have no insurance. We do have a mortgage and I know they can put a lien on our property. My husband has his bills and I have mine. Will they take out a warrant against me if I don’t show up or will they go ahead and make judgement for the lien on our property?

Asked on September 27, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Georgia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are under no obligation to attend a bench trial where you are a defendant sued by a creditor seeking to collect upon an unpaid debt seemingly owed by you. However, it is a very good idea to attend for the simple fact that if you do not, most likely there will be a default judgment entered against you.

A default judgment is when the plaintiff wins a lawsuit because the defendant fails to attend the hearing or fails to answer the complaint.

If a default judgment is entered against you, the plaintiff would have every right to try and collect upon it by leving upon your bank accounts and garnish your wages.

I suggest that you attend the upcoming bench trial to defend yourself. Perhaps you will be able to enter into some settlement agreeemnt where you make monthly payments on a stated agreed upon amount. Most likely the home you own would be exempt from any levy under your state's homestead exemption.

Good luck.


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