Respond to Summons

For most people, receiving a summons for credit card debt is a stark realization that you need to face and deal with an overdue account.  A summons is essentially the cover page to a lawsuit and usually comes after a creditor or debt collector has made other unsuccessful attempts to collect a debt.  If you’ve received a summons, it means that your creditor no longer wants to try to work things out informally.  Instead, your creditor has gotten aggressive at collection and wants to get a judgment against you.  By obtaining a judgment against you, your creditor can go after your bank accounts and garnish your wages.

How to Respond to a Summons for Credit Card Debt in San Diego

You must timely respond to a summons for credit card debt.  Otherwise your lender or the law firm who sued you will obtain a judgment against you and collect its judgment through various judgment collection legal processes.  Common judgment collection legal processes include a bank levy, in which your creditor takes all of the money in your bank accounts, and a wage garnishment, in which your creditor forcefully takes your wages that you receive from employment.  It is therefore imperative that you understand how to respond to a summons for credit card debt so that your bank accounts are not levied upon and your wages are not garnished.

Defending a Lawsuit

If you want to defend a credit card lawsuit, you have to file an answer to the lawsuit within the time frame stated in the summons delivered to you with the lawsuit.  Typically, a summons gives you 30 days to respond.  In order to file an answer, you need to have a good faith defense.  Otherwise, the Court may view your answer as a frivolous answer filed solely to delay the case and could impose sanctions upon you or your attorney who helped you file the answer.  The most common legitimate defense to a credit card lawsuit is that your creditor’s accounting is inaccurate, provided you have such evidence and an accounting of your own to support your position.  Still, such a defense only affects the amount of the judgment that our creditor will ultimately obtain.  Your creditor will still obtain a judgment for an amount that is determined by the judge to be correct based upon a correct accounting.  Once your creditor obtains a judgment, your assets are at risk.  This typically means that you will be subject to a bank levy or a wage garnishment.

Bankruptcy to Respond to Summons

If you don’t have a legitimate defense to the lawsuit (in most cases, you won’t), then you may want to consider filing bankruptcy to respond to a summons.  The filing of a bankruptcy will stop a lawsuit as long as you did not incur the underlying debt through circumstances involving fraud.  Successful completion of a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 proceeding will eliminate credit card debt, and will put an end to the lawsuit seeking to collect the debt.  If you plan to file in order to effectively respond to a summons for a credit card lawsuit, you’ll need to talk to a San Diego bankruptcy attorney immediately.  You need time to schedule a consultation where you can sit down with a lawyer and review your options, and then your lawyer will need time to prepare and file your case.  If your case is filed before you are required to respond to the summons for credit card debt, you won’t have to spend the time or money on an attorney to respond to the lawsuit.  Instead, your filing will end the lawsuit.  You can take a deep breath and let your lawyer handle responding to the summons through your filing.

Responding to Summons in San Diego for Other Types of Debts

Your options for responding to a summons for other types of debts, are, for the most part, the same as your options for responding to a summons for credit card debt.  One possible difference is that, depending upon the type of lawsuit that is filed, your response deadline may be sooner than 30 days.  You have to read the summons.  Also, the particular type of claim sued upon may not be the type of debt that you can discharge (eliminate) in bankruptcy.  Credit card debt can be eliminated in bankruptcy, provided that there is no evidence of fraud in connection with the incurring of the charges on your card.  If you have received a summons for a lawsuit alleging fraud, and the allegations have any merit, then bankruptcy may not put an end to the lawsuit.  You may need to hire an attorney to respond to the summons and the lawsuit.  Absent such allegations, most types of debts can be eliminated in a bankruptcy filing, making it a highly effective means for responding to the summons.