Skip to main content

My wife is being sued by a collection agency over medical bills she has to go to court soon

Saint Louis, MO |

we are in the process of gathering the money to claim bankrupcy but as times are bad we cant find the extra money our lawyer told her not to go because she will be found guilty and made to pay either way. and that when we get him the money to file chapter 7 the judgement will be covered under our chapter 7 I am wondering if this is true. we live in Missoouri if it helps any.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


If you can't afford to file your bankruptcy in the next month, you really should take steps to respond to the lawsuit the collection agency has filed.

Since a civil lawsuit is not a crime, don't worry, you won't be found to be "guilty."

The advantage of responding to the suit is that you will be able to delay a judgment from occurring. Once a judgment is entered, the creditor may be able to garnish your wages, attach your bank account, or file a lien against any property you own.

The purposed of responding is only to delay until you can afford the bankruptcy. You may not be able to postpone a judgment forever, but if you can postpone it just long enough to afford the bankruptcy, you will be alright!

Hope this perspective helps!


The downside to waiting to file is that the creditor may be able to garnish you during the time period between the entry of the judgment and the filing of the bankruptcy. If you do have any equity in a home you should be concerned about the entry of judgment because the creditor will have a lien against the property which, if not dealt with in the bankruptcy, will have to be satisfied when you eventually sell your property.

Thomas McAvity



And a garnishment can be gotten around by opening a new bank account elsewhere, and taking all but $1 out of the original account. NO JUDGE is going to throw someone in jail because they have to buy food/pay utilities. There are no debtor prisons anymore, either.


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.”


You need a lawyer, but if you cannot afford one right away, rather then 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!

Good Luck!

REQUEST: Please give this answer a "thumbs up"(below) if you find it valuable.

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.



If the question asker read this... I will say that I had to sit in court for someone else's civil case. I saw over 15 (maybe more) attorneys come to court for these c.c. cases. Many of them didn't know anything beyond what was on the paper they gave to the judge. Alteast one debtor fought it in court, and the attorney walked out with that person. When the debtor came back in, he said that the attorney offered him settlement for about $500. The actual debt was well over $2,000. Question asker should file an answer and fight this; many c.c. attorneys just HOPE you won't show up.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer