What to do if I just got a summons forone of several credit cards that I have not been able to pay on for the last couple of years?

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What to do if I just got a summons forone of several credit cards that I have not been able to pay on for the last couple of years?

If we filed bankruptcy would this be an option? My wife has a small business and is wondering if filing would freeze her accounts? She pays her cards and part of our house payment and bills that I can’t cover with my paycheck. If filing wouldn’t help, what would we need to bring to court to answer the complaint?

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) You received the summons because you are being sued by the credit card issuer or their representative, or someone who bought the debt from them. A summons and complaint starts a lawsuit. At a minimum, you need to respond to it with an Answer, even if that Answer simply denies everything in the complaint. If you do not respond, you will lose automatically (by default).

2) Bankruptcy is an option--credit card debt is exactly the type of unsecured debt that bankruptcy works best on--but you need to weigh its impact on your credit and your wife's assets and business as well as on yourself. This can be very complex--you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney, since there is no simple or easy answer.

3) Note that if your wife's businss is an LLC (limited liability company) or corporation ("Inc."), it is a separate legal entity from her--and therefore from you--and should be mostly or even entirely unaffected by your own bankruptcy. Again, though, it is best to consult with an expert when you have the finances of two people and a business to consider, in deciding not just whether to file bankruptcy, but also which type (i.e. Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) to file.


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