Responding to a Judgment – Brevard County Bankruptcy
Many people who fall behind on their bills feel overwhelmed when creditors start filing collection lawsuits against them. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to simply ignore the lawsuits and hope they will simply go away. This tactic never works! As soon as you are served with a petition or complaint against you, confer with an attorney so you understand all of your options.
Once a creditor has obtained a court judgment against you, it is important to understand there are still different ways to deal with it. While no two cases are identical and you should always seek legal advice regarding your specific situation, below are a few options to consider:
Personal bankruptcy. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your debt, filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to discharge or cancel a collection judgment entered against you. Again, you should consult with a debt relief lawyer to confirm that the type of judgment entered against you will be discharged, but this could save you thousands of dollars!
Wait and see. If you are reluctant to file a personal bankruptcy, you may consider waiting and seeing what actions the creditor pursues after obtaining the judgment against you. Of course, there is substantial risk involved depending upon your unique situation. In fact, this course of action (or inaction) is only suggested if you are considered to be “judgment proof.” In other words, you do not own any non-exempt property or other means for the creditor to be able to collect the judgment from you. Additionally, if the creditor fails to take any action to enforce or renew its judgment against you, the judgment will eventually expire.
Negotiate and settle. Don’t make the mistake of believing your settlement options are over once a judgment has been entered against you. Many creditors are still willing to settle your debt post-judgment in order to avoid incurring the expenses associated with trying to collect from you. Thus, you may be able to pay off the judgment for less than the full amount. In some cases, you may be allowed to set-up a payment plan to satisfy the judgment. Just remember, you must obtain a court-stamped satisfaction of judgment in order for the unpaid judgment notation to be removed from your record!
Contact Faro & Crowder, PA today for a free initial consultation
Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne on Sarno Road, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.
If you have fallen behind on your bills and debt collectors are starting to call, it is critical that you know your rights, including your ability to demand debt verification from the creditor. Debt verification is extremely important because it is possible that the collector has made an error or failed to acquire the necessary paperwork to collect the debt from you.
Requiring creditors to verify the debt is beneficial because it holds the collector accountable. There are certain requirements for verifying a debt under federal law. The process can also confirm that the debt collector follows ethical business practices in its collection efforts against you. It is the only way a consumer can verify that the collector is the owner of the debt and the appropriate party for you to pay. You should note, however, if you fail to request verification of the debt with the first letter sent, the collection activity can continue.
Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a collector is required to respond to your request for debt validation. In fact, the creditor is prohibited from taking any further collection activity against you until the required information has been provided to you. If the collector continues its efforts against you without providing debt validation, you may be able to recover compensation from the collector!
If debt collectors are starting to harass you, it is imperative that you request debt validation. If a collector fails to provide this information to you, let us help you. We can determine whether you should file a lawsuit and seek monetary damages against the collector.
It is important to understand that even if you are pretty certain you owe the debt to the plaintiff, there are still numerous valid defenses that might be available to you. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the collector’s efforts, especially if a lawsuit is filed. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you fight a debt collection, contact one of our seasoned bankruptcy attorneys to schedule your appointment.
If you have been sued by a creditor and you did not appear or file a timely answer with the court, it is likely a default judgment has been entered against you. Many people just “give up” when this happens and believe there is nothing that can be done about it. However, many times there are good excuses for why you failed to appear or file an answer. If this is true for you, we can help you seek to have the default judgment set aside.
There are two primary types of “good cause” for failing to respond to a lawsuit, which are (i) there was a defect in the process that led to the default judgment, or (ii) you have a “reasonable excuse.” Additionally, you must be able to demonstrate that you have valid defenses to the plaintiff’s claims against you.
If there was a procedural defect or an irregularity in the proceedings which caused the default, it can constitute sufficient good cause for failing to appear. For example, if you were not properly served with the summons and petition or complaint. Common examples of improper service include leaving the court documents with a minor at your residence who fails to give them to you, serving somebody with your same name and you never receive the papers, or mailing the papers by certified mail to an improper address.
There are a variety of reasonable excuses that may have prevented you from participating in the lawsuit against you. For example, if you were in a serious car accident on the way to attend your hearing, the judge will find that to be a reasonable excuse for setting aside the default judgment against you.
You must also be able to inform the court that you have valid defenses against the plaintiff’s allegations in order for the default judgment to be set aside. This means that you must be able to explain why you should be granted another day in court. Let one of our attorneys help you determine if you have valid defenses to the collection case.
Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.
If you are past due on your bills, you are probably being harassed by debt collectors. You are probably aware that the law prohibits collectors from using certain harassing and abusive tactics to collect debts. One of the most common ways that collectors violate the law occurs when they contact a debtor on his or her cell phone without permission to do so.
Most debt collectors use an auto-dialing service to contact borrowers. You may be familiar with this type of call – there is typically a pause after you answer the phone while the computer transfers the call to a human to talk to you. In some cases, there is a pre-recorded message. If you have not provided the collector with permission to contact you on your cell phone, this type of call may be a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
How do you know if a collector has violated the TCPA? We must investigate whether or not you provided the collector with authority to contact you on your cell phone. Many times permission is given when you fill out a loan application form and provide your cell phone number as a means for contacting you. However, if you did not give the collector permission to contact you on your cell phone, the use of an auto-dialer to call your cell phone may be a violation of the TCPA.
It is important to understand that if you revoke your permission for the collector to contact your cell phone, you can do so by sending a written revocation letter. It is important to send the notice that you are revoking your permission by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the collector. This is important for proving that the collector received the revocation letter. If you cannot remember whether or not you gave the collector permission to call your cell phone, you should send a revocation letter and demand that they stop auto dialing your cell phone. In the majority of the cases, your revocation letter will make the calls to your cell phone stop. However, if the collector ignores your request and continues to auto-dial your cell phone, you could be entitled to recover $500 to $1500 per call.
Contact Faro & Crowder, PA – A Brevard County Law Firm
If you believe a collector is violating the TCPA, the legal team at Faro & Crowder is ready to help. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve businesses across the State of Florida.
Faro & Crowder, PA
1801 N. Sarno Road, Suite 01
Melbourne, FL 32935
A garnishment is a powerful collection tool used by many creditors to collect on a judgment for money owed to them. The two types of garnishments are account garnishments and wage garnishments. The creditor directs your bank or employer to pay money that is owed to you, directly to the creditor instead.
Bankruptcy Attorneys serving Brevard County
A creditor can file a garnishment against a bank account or other account-holder. There are some exemptions that remove certain funds from the reach of creditors, but in many circumstances the creditor can remove the full amount owed from your account.
A creditor can serve your employer with a wage garnishment directing that a certain portion of your paycheck be sent directly to the creditor or the court. A wage garnishment is usually “continuing,” which means it continues to apply to all of your paychecks until the creditor has been paid in full. If your employer fails to comply with the garnishment order, your employer can be held accountable to pay the total amount due.
It is important to note that federal law limits the percentage of income a creditor can garnish to your “disposable income.” This is the amount of your paycheck less mandatory deductions such as taxes, social security, etc.
How Bankruptcy Helps
As soon as your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 has been filed, the automatic stay is effective and prohibits any further collection activity. This includes any pending garnishments, which are immediately halted. It also means that you will begin to receive the full amount of your paycheck again. In many cases, the debt linked to the garnishment is discharged, which means you are no longer responsible to pay it when you emerge from bankruptcy.
Contact Faro & Crowder, PA
If you are facing a wage or account garnishment, contact us to discuss all of your debt relief options.
Faro & Crowder, PA
1801 N. Sarno Road, Suite 01
Melbourne, FL 32935
If your company is considering filing bankruptcy and you deal with several vendors, it is important to understand what is meant by the term “preferential transfer.” A preferential transfer is a payment (in money, goods or other) that is made to a creditor within the 90 days preceding the filing of the bankruptcy petition that results in that creditor receiving more than it otherwise should have. The result is that the creditor was “preferred” over other similarly-situated creditors.
What happens if a preference occurs?
If a preferential payment is made, the trustee has the ability to recover the money or goods in order to administer them as part of your bankruptcy estate for the benefit of all the creditors. This can be accomplished by the trustee asking the creditor to return the payment or, if necessary, a lawsuit called a “preference action” can be filed within the bankruptcy case.
What about payments to secured creditors?
A question can arise for secured creditors because foreclosing on collateral pledged to secure a loan does not provide the creditor more than it would have received if the collateral had been liquidated in the bankruptcy case. Naturally, there are some exceptions to this rule. If a secured creditor’s claim is greater than the value of the collateral, the amount of the secured claim is typically limited to the value of the collateral as of the petition date. Any remaining deficiency balance becomes an unsecured claim. Thus, some bankruptcy judges have ruled that any payment made to a secured creditor within the 90-day period is assumed to have been made for the unsecured part of the lender’s claim and therefore potentially subject to a preference action.
Secured creditor defenses
If you are a secured creditor and you are facing a preference action, it is important to understand you may have valid defenses to the preference action. The primary defense used by secured creditors is the “ordinary course of business” defense, which means the payment was made during the ordinary course of business between the debtor and creditor so it is not extra-ordinary or preferential.
To learn more about preferential transfers, contact us for a free consultation.