I cannot file for BK Chapter 7 until Aug of 2016. In the meanwhile, I am starting to miss payments to some (not all) of my
4 attorney answers
I agree with Ms. Bunce. Just wait it out. Honestly tell the creditors that you've got nothing but Social Security income, so suing you is a waste of their time and money. Don't even file a BK next year. In very few scenarios would you benefit from filing a BK.
You can file a chapter 13 and propose to pay a small monthly plan payment until August of next year. At that point, provided no creditor has filed a motion to lift the automatic stay, you can voluntarily dismiss the chapter 13 and file a chapter 7. However, that is probably not your best option. Dorothy gave you your best option, unless there are some other facts that we have not heard.
You should take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to get a review of you financial picture and determine the best option. You can search for an attorney using the Avvo "Find a Lawyer" link at the top of this page.
Answers and comments provided are for general discussion only. My comments are not to be considered legal advice and they do not create an attorney-client relationship.
You cannot avoid being sued, but really, even if you are sued, what's a creditor going to do? They can't garnish your social security benefits (as long as you keep these benefits safe in a separate bank account). They can put a lien against your house, but you can remove this lien when you file your bankruptcy. Be sure to go to the county recorders office and record your Declaration of Homestead for $20. It will protect your home from a creditor seizure for up to $550,000 in equity. See link below for more information. Hope this perspective helps!
Answer all of the debtor inquiries. Answer the phone every time it rings...do not give them bank information. If you are sued the first thing you need to do if and when you get sued is file an Answer. The summons will tell you that you must “appear” by way of an Answer in 10, 20 or 30 days, “depending on the method of service.”
PLEASE CHECK THE LAW IN YOUR STATE AS YOU MAY ACTUALLY HAVE TO APPEAR IN COURT, AS IN VIRGINIA, IN ORDER TO AVOID A DEFAULT!
You need a lawyer, but if you cannot afford one right away, rather than do nothing and have a judgment entered against you, is to “appear” by filing something!
Many people think this means they have to go to Court and this is incorrect. 90% of all lawsuits end in Default Judgments because the defendant (person getting sued) did not file an Answer.
I recommend you go to the free form I have on my website. Print it out and fill it out as instructed. You must answer the numbered paragraphs on the Complaint by writing them into the appropriate lines in the Answer. The Answer will allow you to preserve your rights and will prohibit a default judgment (i.e. you did not show up) from being entered against you.
Mimic the paperwork you got when you got sued. Answer all the paragraphs of the Complaint by writing the numbers in lines 1, 2 or 3.
Almost 100% of attorneys will deny what is owed because they did not do the calculations and do not know what the basis for the number is…
When you file the Answer that is your “not guilty”. You have the right to make the person suing you (Plaintiff) prove their case, but you must also answer the complaint truthfully.
Make sure you fill in the name and address of the attorney suing you before you bring this paperwork to the Court. Mail it to the attorney suing you right away!
Check out the guide I have drafted on the Avvo profile. This will provide more detailed instructions. If it is helpful remember to indicate that and get the guide read!
Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship.