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I am sorry to learn of your financial hardships, and if you are pursuing a bankruptcy with local counsel, it appears you are in good hands. With reference to the current suit, that is something you can handle yourself if your primary goal is to simply delay the entry of judgment.
thank you and I am doing well under the circumstances.
You can file an answer to the complaint, take and respond to discovery, and if necessary prepare for and go through trial prior to judgment. After judgment, you have 30 days to pay the judgment before they can garnish wages, get levies, etc. (absent special circumstances).
my problem is that I am not sure how to create an answer that will cause the lawsuit to go to court.
do you have any ideas or can you reference any links that might show examples?
While you do not need to hire a litigation attorney to handle your case, do keep your bankruptcy attorney advised as to what you are doing in the trial as it may impact your bankruptcy (not likely, but it is always best to keep them informed).
I will see if I can find a couple of links to examples of answers to complaints in Iowa.
Thanks. Also can social security wages be garnished?
No social security cannot be garnished. (Is that your only income?
No I have a job that pays a relatively low hourly rate also.
They can garnish your wages (assuming that they (1) get the judgment in place (2) before your bankruptcy petition is filed).
I suspect if I answer properly it could take many months before it even goes to trial
Generally, if you answer at all it will take longer - they cannot take your default. Here is a link to the Iowa small claims website. It has answers that are drafted specifically for small claims, but the general principles and defenses will apply to your general civil claim. http://www.iowacourts.gov/Representing_Yourself/Civil_Law/Small_Claims/Small_Claims_Forms/index.asp
Ok thanks I will take a look at it, but you do understand this is District Court as opposed to small claims?
I reread your answer and I think you understand this and it should apply to District Court. That being said is there anything you would like to add? Also would it be worth my while to try to convince the Plaintiff that they are wasting there time and money?
I do, the difference between the two is that small claims court cases are often done with "check the box" pleadings, allowing parties to file their case easily and quickly. A district court case requires more specificity and detail, therefore you are expected to draft it yourself on pleading paper (but you can still use the same legal information - there is no difference between a defense of "waiver" for example, in small claims and in district court.
thanks. and what about trying to convince the Plaintiff not to sue?
You can try to convince the plaintiff that there is nothing there for them to collect, and that pursuing this is not worth their time. From a plaintiff's side they may believe you are simply "bluffing" in an effort to buy time, and they want to secure their judgment as quickly as possible. But if they are simply wasting their time and money pursuing a judgment, there is not much you can do about it. Sometimes a call from your bankruptcy attorney can make a difference, it shows you are serious and that the bankruptcy actually is on a schedule to be filed, and perhaps they should save their resources.
Ok I will do that and that will not result in any extra attorney fees. Thanks for your good advice
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