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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default What To Do If You Don't Answer A Summons On Time

    I received a summons from a sheriff earlier this month in Pennsylvania. Through some bad advice I did not respond in the 20 days that were given me to respond. How quickly can I expect a judgement against me? Do I have time to file for bankruptcy before any of my property is taken? I don't have any money to pay as I have lost my job and am making significantly less money and can barely afford to pay my bills. If someone could explain how these judgements work, and possibly give me some sort of timetable as to what I can expect I would appreciate it. I live in Pennsylvania, and I know there aren't many exemptions for these types of judgements. I know that I will get responses telling me to see an attorney immediately, but I can't see an attorney until May 18th as I will be out of state. I am hoping to get some advice on the speed of these judgements. Will I be expected to be in court sometime before May 18th? or can I take care of it when I return. If anyone has any advice I would really appreciate it, I am very worried about this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,633

    Default Re: 20 days of summons has expired, how much time do I have?

    Contact the court in the morning to see if a default has been entered. If not, try to get an answer filed before the default is entered.

    One way or the other consult a bankruptcy lawyer, ideally tomorrow as well. Your lawyer will be able to help you determine which type of bankruptcy to file (assuming you're eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy), and expedite the filing to get the automatic stay in place to protect you from this litigation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: 20 days of summons has expired, how much time do I have?

    Is there any way I can do any of these things while I am out of state? I won't be back to Pennsylvania until May 18th. Can I file an answer or get an attorney to begin a bankruptcy without me being there? There is no possible way I can return to PA until the 18th of May, and I am just hoping I am able to avoid walking into a huge mess when I get back.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,633

    Default Re: 20 days of summons has expired, how much time do I have?

    Contact a lawyer and see what they can do to get things started. They should be able to do quite a bit.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 20 days of summons has expired, how much time do I have?

    Are you talking about the 20 days to dispute the summons? Isn't there a court date associated with the summons? I think, that if you do not show for the court date than you will probably end up with a judgment against you. I just had someone summoned to small claims, had them served through personal service and the court date was about a 60 days from the date the summons was served. When they did not show up for the court date there I won without a debt. I definatly would miss the court date if applicable.

    Why didn't you contact the party that you have a debt with and explain your situation? They might have or still may be willing to work something out with you. I know I was more than willing to work with the person I took to small claims and still am, but they would never return my calls, letters, or etc. They totally skipped out on me, so I was left no choice to use the legal system.

    Regards,

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: 20 days of summons has expired, how much time do I have?

    There was no court date associated with the summons. It basically said that I was being sued and I had 20 days to respond or a judgment may be placed against me. To be honest I lost track of time and let the 20 days expire. I was going to talk to a lawyer before the 20 days was up, but I missed it. I am getting in touch with a lawyer on monday, I basically just wanted to know if I had time to respond or file for bankruptcy before they try to execute the judgment and put a lien on my house or attempt to freeze my bank account (which wouldn't be possible since it is a joint account with my fiance who is not on the debt). I have to be out of state until the 18th of May which is why I wanted to know if I could possibly hold off on filing my bankruptcy until then. I also won't have any money to file until may 11th. I don't think that contacting the law firm that is suing me would help because they would only want to set up some way of me paying them, and I simply can't afford it. I have 5 credit cards totaling 14,000 dollars and have hardly no income since I was laid off 6 months ago.

  7. #7

    Default Re: 20 days of summons has expired, how much time do I have?

    Oh! I think that they can still do something to your account, but only take part half of the funds or something like that. I would at least contact a lawyer and let them know the deal. I do not think that anyone can accurately answer your question unless they know all of the variables, including how aggressive the law firm is, how efficient it is and the time it will take to file the proper paperwork to freeze you assets. I would do everthing in my power to get something going, If I were you. Who knows how much time you really have, but the lawfirm who is seeking to recoupe the debt.

    Cheers,

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    354

    Default Re: 20 days of summons has expired, how much time do I have?

    If you had no real defense to the suit against you (i.e., dispute the validity of the debt or the accuracy of the amount sued for), then there would be no point in wasting your time trying to file a late answer. If you DO have a valid defense, then...as Aaron told you....call the court Monday to see if a default judgment has been entered and try to get your answer filed ASAP!

    Use the weekend to collect all of your financial records, including account numbers and creditor addresses. Arrange an immediate consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. However most, if not all, will require you to at least pay the filing fees in addition to a retainer, before they will file a petition for bankruptcy protection. Fortunately, current technology allows elecronic filing for bankruptcy protection 24/7.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: 20 days of summons has expired, how much time do I have?

    fortunately pennsylvania law states that if you have a partner in an asset such as a bank account, those funds can't be frozen unless both partners belong to the debt which they don't. this is good because my fiance has to pay most of the bills with her salary, and she is not responsible for this debt.

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