In early 2013 my ex husband and i split and I got laid off. I let my house go and shortly after stopped paying my HOA in MN. I always thought they put a lien on the house to get paid by the bank, not go after the homeowner. In August of 2015 they took my ex husband to court as I was out of state and threatened judgment if not paid off in a year. I called them in August and told them I just graduatedand once I got a job I'd make payments. We followed up monthly and in December I got a job offer. My start date was 1/4 and that I would make the first payment 1/31 with my first full paycheck, which we agreed on. The check was expected to arrive 2/8 - 2/10.
My car broke down costing me $1400 so I decided to send two payments in February - then received notice that they sent out a Judgment request 2/8 (too soon to have rcvd the check anyway). They're threatening jail time of my ex husband or garnishing wages. He can't afford it, works two jobs, can't even pay full child support. I offered proof of my car fix costs but they don't care.
The only way you can be jailed in connection with a debt is if 1) they have a judgment 2) they send you an Order for Financial Disclosure 3) you do not fill out and return the financial disclosure, 4) they ask the Court for an Order to Show Cause why you should not be held in contempt for failing to fill out the form, 5) that Order to Show Cause is personally served upon you, and 5) you fail to appear at the hearing or fill out the form. You can check the courts' website to determine if there is a judgment and if any orders have been issued. If there is a contempt order, you can purge the contempt by going to the sheriff's office and getting the form and filling it out (Call the sheriff's civil process unit first to make sure they know what to do and you won;t be taken into custody if you do show up and do this.)
If this was the HOA making false threats, there isn't much you can do about it. If it was a third-party debt collector or collection law firm, you or you and your ex should sue them under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You can win statutory damages up to $1000, any actual damages you can prove and your attorney's fees. Because of this attorneys fees provision, many of us consumer's attorneys take these cases on a contingency basis, we don;t get paid unless you win or settle. Most of us will also provide a free phone consultation to evaluate whether you have a claim, and if not, whether there is anything we can do to help with the underlying debt without costing an arm and a leg.
Bankruptcy will discharge a debt for HOA dues from the past. Many people get tripped up because they file bankruptcy and don't pay the HOA fees during or after the bankruptcy, then they get foreclosed and the HOA comes after them for post-filing fees.
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