Bankruptcy Lawyer in Freehold NJ.
Monmouth County Bankruptcy Lawyers explain the collections process. So, you are behind on your debt payments. Here is how the collections process works in a nutshell.
The debt collector cometh when a lawsuit is filed against you and you get a summons and a complaint. The complaint is the legal document stating the factual basis of the debt and the relief the collector is seeking from the Court. The summons advises of when and where you need to file an answer (respond) to the complaint.
Generally, the summons and complaint will be mailed to you as most collections action are based in Special Civil Court.
Ignorance is not bliss! Always best to answer a complaint. The answer is the legal document in which you state your defense to allegations in the complaint. In New Jersey, you must submit your answer within 35 days after service of the summons. 4:6-1. If you fail to answer timely you may be subject to default judgment. Default judgement is not a good thing.
Most cases settle before they reach the point of requiring and trial and judicial determination. Most creditors want to settle their collections accounts and therefore, may agree to accept a lump sum payment of less than the total amount of your debt. Either side may offer to settle the lawsuit at anytime. It is best to speak with an attorney to review your settlement paperwork. All cases in the Special Civil Part go to Bar Panel. Bar Panel Program utilizes volunteer attorneys who have practiced and have experience in Special Civil Part matters. All contested (answered) cases are scheduled for trial before a judge. The parties to the suit are required to appear on the scheduled date. Prior to the trial actually starting, the case is assigned to a bar panelist. Each panel consists of one volunteer neutral attorney who will discuss the case with the parties in an effort to settle the case. Should the case settle, the bar panelist will assist the parties in writing agreement/settlement terms as necessary.
If it is a special civil proceeding you will get notice of your Court date in the mail. You can always be proactive and call the Court clerk with your docket number and find out the Court date.
The trial allows both sides to present their evidence proving or disproving the debt. Most trials take no longer than a day or two.
At the end of the trial, the judge will enter a judgment. She or he will determine whether the case was brought within the Rules of the Court and if the debt is valid pursuant to NJ law. If not he or she will dismiss the case. If there’s no reason to dismiss the case, the Judge will determine whether you owe the creditor anything and, if so, how much.
Bankruptcy can discharge the underlying debt which you are being sued upon. This means the lawsuit will not go forward and the debt will eliminated. Of course every case has a different set of facts and requires legal analysis. You should consult with a Bankruptcy Attorney to see what is the best option for your case and your circumstances. We have an extensive Frequently asked questions section on our website. This may answer many of your initial questions about bankruptcy. You can always call us for a free consultation or submit a web inquiry on our contact us page.