Sued for Debt in Texas
Toll Free: 1-800-220-4318
Sued for Debt in Texas
One of the most common reasons people are sued is related to unpaid debt. If you fail to pay money you owe on a debt the original creditor or a company that purchased the original debt has the option of filling a lawsuit against you.
If you’re being sued for debt in Texas or you suspect it might be the next step in collection efforts against you, it’s important to find an attorney who can help you handle the situation. Being sued for debt is a process and unless you handle it correctly, it can result in a variety of consequences, including having your bank accounts garnished and putting other valuable assets at risk.
What Happens When You are Sued for Debt in Texas?
For most people, the first indication they are being sued for a debt occurs when they are served with a summons or receive letters from attorneys. Being served means you are given official information concerning a lawsuit by a process server.
Process servers make every attempt to give you notification in person, but if they are unable to do so the lawsuit can still move forward with Court approval so trying to dodge or avoid a process server isn’t going to do you much good in the long run. They will simply report to the court that they are unable to reach you and receive permission from a judge to use a substitute method of service, including leaving the lawsuit at your last known address.
Once you’re served, the time you have to respond to the summons begins. In most cases, you’ll have about 20 to 30 days to file a response to the summons. Failing to respond to the summons does you no good, so it’s important to know how much time you have and to take action within this time frame. Otherwise, the debt collector will gain more power concerning the collection of the debt.
Whether or not you respond, the lawsuit moves forward and the judge will need to make a ruling. He or she will determine if the defendant (you) owes the plaintiff (the debt collector) money for the debt and if so, how much do you owe. The judge does not consider if you can afford to pay the debt or not, so don’t expect to appear in court and explain that you simply cannot pay. The only thing the judge rules on is whether the debt is valid and if so, how much the debt is worth. This decision by the judge is called the “judgement” and it ends the lawsuit.
The outcome of the lawsuit determines whether or not the debt collector can continue to pursue collection of the debt. If you are able to prove the debt in question is not legitimately yours, the judgement will prevent the collector from pursuing you any further. If the judge rules the debt is yours and the debt collector has a right to collect on it, the collector can take action to do so.
Texas provides a variety of options for debt collectors to collect on a judgement. For instance, they can file an “abstract judgement” that makes it difficult for you to buy or sell a home until the debt is paid. They can garnish your bank account or any account that has your name on it, which means they’ll be able to take money directly from your account. Creditors also have the freedom to seize non-exempt property, including your bank accounts in whole, rental property, stocks, bonds, boats, and several other types of property.
In a nutshell, if a creditor receives a judgement in their favor against you, your life can get miserable pretty fast. It’s important to contact an attorney the moment you know you are facing legal action because he or she can help you defend against the lawsuit and protect what’s most valuable to you if you lose the lawsuit.
What Can You Do If You’re Being Sued for a Debt in Texas?
Though it’s not recommended, you have the option of doing nothing and not responding to a lawsuit filed against you by a debt collector. The problem with this is it will almost certainly result in a default judgement, which means the creditor filing the lawsuit will be granted the right to seize your property. A judgement is valid for 10 years, and can be renewed, so this gives a debt collector at least 10 years to continue collecting on the debt. If they choose to garnish your bank account, they can spend 10 years or more taking money from your account.
Ignoring a lawsuit related to a debt will get you nowhere and will result in serious consequences. Even if a debt is invalid or you are not sure whether or not the debt collector has a right to take action, you need to deal with the issue.
Dealing with a debt collection lawsuit can be done in a few ways. You can defend against the lawsuit, which can result in the lawsuit being dismissed or settled for a substantial discount. This means the debt collector will no longer have the right to bother you.
Your final option, if you cannot agree on a settlement that works for you is to file for bankruptcy. Many people also use this option if they are faced with several debts and they know there is no way they will ever be able to create a settlement arrangement long-term.
If the debt in question is unsecured, you can be granted a discharge in bankruptcy, which means you won’t need to pay the debt and the collector will no longer have the legal authority to attempt to collect on it.
If you’d like to explore your options or you’ve been notified that you are being sued for debt in Texas and you aren’t sure what to do, contact 1.800.220.4318.