My friend owns his own contractor company and has not been able to pay his credit card bills in over 12 months due to not having any work
Not without a court judgment and even then exemptions will apply to protect some property.
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An unsecured creditor cannot repossess or put liens on real or personal property unless they file a complaint, serve the complaint, and get a judgment. If your friend gets sued, they will know that that process has started. It is quite rare, even with a judgment, for an unsecured creditor to try and force repossession, but the creditor does have the right to attach to property once they have a judgment.
Keep in mind, also, that certain property maybe exempt from being taken by a judgment creditor under California law. I would suggest speaking to a local attorney if the debt becomes a judgment, because this area of law can be complex.
Hope that helps!
I agree with the answers given by my fellow lawyers. A creditor cannot obtain pre-judgment attachment orders on consumer debts. The creditor must file a lawsuit, serve it on the debtor/defendant, obtain a judgment and then it can record a judgment lien and obtain writs of execution to have the sheriff levy against any non-exempt property. Your friend will have plenty of time and notice long before any assets can be seized. A properly filed BK (7 or13) can trump the creditor's lawsuit at any stage. Feel free to have your friend contact me or any AVVO lawyer offering a free consultation if more information is needed.