Here is some more info about possible consequences if you do not show up, as well as some info on how to possibly get out of the hearing.
You can go to jail if you fail to appear for a debtor's exam. If you do not show up, the court may find you in civil contempt for disobeying its order. If you ignore the court's summons, it may also issue a warrant for your arrest. If you are found in contempt, the court may issue sanctions against you, which can include fines and jail time.
If you do appear for the debtor's exam, you must answer the judgment creditor's questions honestly. If you give false or misleading answers, you could be punished for perjury. Usually, you cannot refuse to answer its questions, unless the judgment creditor is being abusive or harassing or does not follow the court's rules and procedures. If you refuse to answer, then you could be found in contempt of court.
At the debtor's examination, you are not allowed to dispute the debt or raise arguments about the creditor's judgment, including whether you feel you owe the debt. The exam is limited solely to how the judgment creditor can collect the debt from you.
How To Avoid Contempt Charges
If you receive a summons, order or some other court-issued document requiring you to appear for a debtor's examination, do not ignore it. If the time and date of the debtor's exam poses a hardship for you (such as a work or school conflict), contact the judgment creditor's attorney to discuss rescheduling it for a more convenient date and time. If the judgment creditor's attorney refuses to work with you to reschedule the debtor's exam, then you should file a written motion requesting a continuance of the debtor's exam with the court.
How To Avoid Appearing at a Debtor's Examination
If you are served with papers requiring you to appear for a debtor's examination, you can legally avoid it in some of the following ways:
- paying the judgment off in full
- making alternative payment arrangements with the judgment creditor, or
- filing bankruptcy, if you are eligible.