If you don’t show up, the other side will get a default judgment and
they will get this on THEIR terms. They will tack on all sorts of add-on
fees and the amount of the judgment could end up being two or three
times the actual amount of the debt. Even worse, the court could
authorize maximum wage garnishment if you don’t show up to make your
case to the judge, which can be as high as 25% of your wages.
Bring complete documentation of your income and living expenses to
court. Pay stubs and copies of bills. Even if you loose, you can use
this to negotiate much more favorable repayment terms. If you stay home
on the date of the court, your creditor will decide for you how much you
can afford to pay -
On the day of the court, DO NOT sign any document
from your creditor’s attorney that you do not understand. The other
side’s attorney will probably shove a clipboard in your face with a
document to sign. It will most likely be a “Consent Judgment” form
disguised as a friendly payment plan. They’ll smile at your and say we
can avoid court if you just agree to this payment plan. DO NOT SIGN THIS!.
If you sign this and you’re just one day late on payment, then this
agreement gives them direct power to freeze your checking account and
garnish your wages. Tell them that you will not sign any document
without having an attorney looking over it.
You will also need to file a response to the court.
Failure to file an answer may also result in a default judgment against
you. Hire an attorney if you can afford one to do this. If you can’t
afford one, then file a general denial with the court in this format:
Mark “Deny” with this explanation:
- I cannot affirm or deny this debt until validation has been made for
this claim in the form of the original application with my signature. I
cannot respond until this documentation has been submitted to me by the