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If you have debts that you don’t know how you will repay, you may feel like you’re drowning and have no way out. Your financial situation is probably keeping you up at night, or may be giving you anxiety, stress headaches, or other physical problems. You undoubtedly have questions running through your mind…What am I going to do? Will I lose my house? How can I make these calls stop?
There are many emotions and questions that can run through your mind when you find yourself dealing with insurmountable amounts of debt. Most of us are responsible with our finances, but circumstances collided to create this unbearable financial difficulty. Or maybe you were never taught how to properly manage your finances, and your use of credit cards got out of hand. Maybe you had a series of emergencies that left you with no other options but to use credit. No matter what the cause, if you have found yourself to be buried under high amounts of debt, there may be a way out for you.
That’s why I’m glad you are here. Even if you are not ready to hire an attorney, I hope you will find lots of good information here that will answer at least some of your questions. Check out the link below to get my FREE Book on Bankruptcy in Virginia. Yes…it’s FREE.
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WARRANT IN DEBT
(FOR FREE RESOURCES – MINI INFORMATIONAL GUIDES)
Have you received a notice called a “Warrant in Debt” (WID)?
Don’t worry – a “Warrant in Debt” is different from what we usually hear about a criminal warrants.
There is no jail time on the table here. All that’s behind that Warrant In Debt is a person or company who believes you owe them money – and they want you to know that they intend to collect.
What should I do if I am served with a WID?
As an attorney, I would advise you to…well….contact an attorney! I suggest you sit down with someone familiar with helping people through their debt problems. An experienced attorney can advise you on how to respond to the warrant, give you tips on what NOT to do, and you can even retain them to appear for you in court if you so choose.
What if I don’t show up for the Court Date Listed on the Summons?
If you don’t show up on a WID, you are essentially pleading “guilty in absentia”…much like failing to show up to contest a speeding ticket. If you’re not there to defend yourself, the process continues without you. Generally, if the creditor (or the creditor’s attorney) shows up, they will be awarded a judgment against you. This is bad news for you, particularly if you DON’T think you owe the debt. The only option for you to contest the creditor’s assertion that you owe the money they’re trying to collect is for you to show up at the hearing.
Ok, I’m Going to Show Up – What Will Happen In Court?
If you do appear for the hearing date, the court will ask you whether you owe the money.
If you say yes, then you just pleaded guilty, but will still have the option to work out a payment plan with the creditor.
If you say no, then you will be assigned a trial date. The creditor will probably be asked to submit to you and the court, a document called a “Bill of Particulars.” This document will provide you with information on why the creditor believes you owe them the amount of money they have asked for. It’s a good way for you to see how strong (or weak) their case is against you.
In return, after receiving the Bill of Particulars, you will be asked to submit a “Grounds of Defense.” This document is essentially your position on why you do not owe the money in question. Both documents are due to the court and to the other party BEFORE the trial date.
What if I Owe the Money But Can’t Pay?
Best advice may be to contact the creditor BEFORE your hearing date to see if you can work out a payment arrangement and have them dismiss the Warrant in Debt. This may prevent a judgment from being entered against you, which can adversely affect your credit. Also, when a creditor is able to obtain a judgment against you, they are one step closer to being able to garnish your wages, bank accounts, or otherwise coming after you to collect.
Do I Need An Attorney?
Maybe, and maybe not. If you’re going to plead guilty (admit that you owe the amount they are asking for), then you may not need an attorney. You can call the creditor and sometimes they’re willing to work out a payment arrangement with you.
BUT, if you don’t believe you owe the debt, or at least not the total amount they are asking for, then you may want to set the issue for a trial date. If you go through the trouble to do this, you may want to have an attorney prepare your defense. An attorney will know what the creditor has to prove in order to prevail, and can review the creditor’s Bill of Particulars to let you know what your chances are if you go to trial.
If you believe a creditor is harassing you, you may want to discuss those details with an attorney. Creditors must act within the law on all attempts to collect a debt you may owe as a consumer. If you are uncertain, contact an attorney to be properly advised of your rights.