Repaying your debt is stressful enough without having to deal with debt collectors and, even worse, lawyers. You may have heard horror stories of people being taken to court over debt. If you’re like me, you probably push those to the back of your mind. In some cases, those stories don’t even seem real. However, you can be taken to court over debt and millions of people have been.
Are You in Danger of Being Taken to Court Over Debt?
You can be taken to court over a number of different kinds of debt, including medical debt, auto loans, business debt, and even credit cards. The only debt you’re not likely to be taken to court for is a foreclosure. In most cases, the mortgage company is able to resell the property and you won’t be taken to court for that.
One of the best ways to stay on top of whether you are in danger of being taken to court or not is to open your mail. Believe it or not, many people just throw away mail that comes in. Sometimes people throw away important notices regarding debt. If you do that, you could land yourself in court to settle those debts.
What To Do
Finding out that you are in danger of being taken to court over debt is enough to send your anxiety through the roof. The first thing you should do after you find this information out is to contact some kind of legal aid. Some lawyers will offer you a discount or even a free consultation for your problem. In some cases, lawyers will provide their services for cases like these pro bono.
Next, be sure you do research on what the statute of limitations is on the debt you owe is. For different debts, the amount of time changes. It also varies from state to state. Additionally, your “time” can restart in some cases. You’ll want to be sure you’ve educated yourself about these limitations before getting too upset. It may turn out that you are no longer responsible for the debt (though you should never have that mindset).
Once you’ve done those two things, decide on how you wish to move forward. If you cannot pay the debt, you may be able to work out a settlement or payment arrangement within the court. Take a step back and assess what the best plan of action will be for you.
Readers, have you ever been taken to court over debt? How did you handle it?
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Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.