What shouldI do if Iwas served papers for an outstanding credit card debt?

UPDATED: Feb 21, 2012

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What shouldI do if Iwas served papers for an outstanding credit card debt?

I was injured and am on a small disability stipend. The outstanding amount of the credit card debt is $2,500, which I paid down from 11,000. It has been 2 years since I was unable to pay it anymore. The bank sold it to a collections law firm.

Asked on February 21, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, South Carolina


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You will need to file an answer to the complaint (the complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons).  You will need to file your answer to the complaint with the court and serve it by mail on the opposing attorney within the time set forth in the summons.  If you don't file your answer with the court and serve it on the opposing party by that deadline, the opposing party will file a default with the court.  A default judgment means you will have lost the case.  If that happens, you will need to file a motion to set aside the default.  If the court grants your motion to set aside the default, the case will then be back on track and litigation will continue.

To file a timely answer to the complaint and avoid the default mentioned above, at the law library, look for answer to complaint in the index of Pleading and Practice.  This will give you the general format for an answer to a complaint.  The answer denies the allegations in the complaint.  At the end of the answer is the verification which you sign and date under penalty of perjury.  The verification attests to the veracity of your statements in the answer to the complaint.  File the answer to the complaint with an attached proof of service with the court and mail a copy to the opposing attorney.  The proof of service verifies the date of mailing.  You can either use  a court form proof of service or you can write your own. If you write your own proof of service, it just says that you are over eighteen and the attached documents were sent via first class mail unless stated otherwise to ___________ (name and address of opposing attorney) on ________ (date).  You sign and date at the bottom.  The date you sign should be the same as the date of mailing and the same date you file your documents with the court.

If the credit card company eventually obtains a judgment against you, you might want to consider filing bankruptcy.  It would be premature to file bankruptcy until there is a judgment against you.

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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