If they contact my friend, and he just says that nothing can proceed because I haven't paid him, then what will happen?
A: Your friend, assuming that he is treating your arrangement as an actual attorney-client relationship, can be instructed to say nothing at all. All correspondence with your lawyer is confidential and privileged, and you hold the right to maintain that status. I'm sure your attorney is well aware of this obligation, since it is the fundamental duty of every attorney to maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself or herself to preserve the secrets, of his or her client.
Assuming that the attorney is instructed to simply say that the bankruptcy filing is "pending," then that would probably cause the creditor to back off for a while longer. How long can I play this game?
A: Six months, in my opinion. After that, the creditor will decide that you're playing games, charge off the debt and sell it to collections. Alternatively, I would have been happy if there was a way to insure that Capital One sues me only here in London -- is there any way to stop them from sending lawsuit papers to the old address? I mean, if they do, and win a judgment, then I would have to go to court back in the U.S. to fix the mistake -- at least this is my concern.
A: The creditor doesn't know that your mail is being forwarded. Under FL Stat. 48.194(1), service of process to a person outside of the USA may be required to conform to the provisions of the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters. See this link (open the section entitled "Service of Process."
If the creditor can serve you in London, then it can sue you in the USA. However, it is far more likely that the creditor will simply charge off your account, send you an IRS
Form 1099-C, and then sell the debt to a debt collector. The debt collector will transfer the debt to a London affiliate and sue you in London.
Please let me know if my answer is helpful, or if I can provide further clarification or assistance.
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