You didn't really say, but because of the category, I assume you are asking if bankruptcy is a good option for you.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When you had some money, it would have been good to consider what the consequence could have become if you settled with less than all your creditors. If you could not settle with all of them, bankruptcy might have been a good option then, particularly if you could have "sheltered' the $13,500 in some asset exempt from your bankruptcy estate. But that is now water under the bridge.
The first thing you should look at is the statute of limitations
issue. You said that they requested a judgement in 2004, but did not say that they got a judgment. If they did not, it may be that the length of time between your default and the date they brought suit may have exceeded the allowable time to bring suit. In most states, that is three years.
Assuming that they did get the judgment, they are probably now just adding on the interest that continued to accrue. In some states, there is a specific judgment rate of interest, perhaps 5%. In other states, the contract
rate of interest continues until the judgment is satisfied. On a credit card, that was probably 24% or upwards.
All this being said, you have two principal concerns in bankruptcy as follows:
Do you pass the "means test
" that was enacted with the 2005 bankruptcy amendments. This is a calculation based upon income, family size, local cost of living, and some related factors. If you are unempployed, this will not likely be a problem for you.
Would you have to surrender any assets to the trustee
in bankruptcy to pay to your creditors. Different states have different laws as to what you can keep in bankruptcy. Depending upon your state, you may be able to choose a uniform federal list of "exemptions," meaning what you can keep. Perhaps more importantly, if this is your debt alone, and your husband is not jointly obligated upon it, and you own your home (I assume by "what is in my home," includes the home itself) with your husband as tenants by the entirety (you may have to look at your deed for this), it is likely free of the claim of a bankruptcy trustee.
I suspect that these questions are mostly answered in your favor and that you could be released from this debt in bankruptcy without surrendering any asset. To confirm this, you will need to sit down with a local bankruptcy attorney. Many will give you an initial consultation free to determine whether you are a good candidate. Call a few to see. If you go to meet with him/her, take a copy of your Deed.
I hope this has been helpful. If so, please click on "accept." If you have any follow up questions, please ask them, but try to include as much detail of your circumstances as possible.