How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Law Pro Your Own Question

Law Pro
Law Pro, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 24796
Experience:  20 years experience in consumer advocacy, debt collection violations, contracts, construction
11688690
Type Your Consumer Protection Law Question Here...
Law Pro is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I live in LA, CA and received a letter today stating that I

Resolved Question:

I live in LA, CA and received a letter today stating that I am being sued by Midland Funding LLC that I have 30 days to respond after this summons dated (10/25/13) it is already (11/13/13) so I have already lost 18 days. That my written response must be in proper legal form if I want the court to hear my case.
The amount is $7,057.51. The majority of which is accrued interest, I believe the original amount that I was paying when I had the means was around $2,500.00.
I did not pay my cc bill as I have been out of work for over a year and simply did not have the means to pay. The collection agency that called were very aggressive so I ignored the telephone calls.
I am married with 2 children, my name is XXXXX XXXXX the mortgage, my only assets my name is XXXXX XXXXX is our family car.

My question is is that as I am unemployed and not able to pay the full amount is there an organization that I may contact in Los Angeles that may help me sift through this situation and come up with a payment plan with this company?

I do not want to embarrass my husband by having his salary garnished.
I take responsibility for non payment and would like to resolve but do not have the means to pay an attorney a retainer to resolve this situation.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
Hi! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'll be the attorney assisting you.

Sorry for your situation.

When is the last time you paid monies toward this alleged debt?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Fred,

Thank you for your swift response.

Its been a while, I would have to look back at bank records but probably at least a year.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
Could it be more than 4 years ago?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am reading the documents now and the First cause of action (Account Stated) relays;

13. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates by reference the foregoing paragraphs.

14. Within the last four (4) years, Defendant became indebted on the Account to the Plaintiff in the sum of $7,057.51.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
The reason for that paragraph's statement - the statute of limitations.

A statute of limitations is a law which places a time limit on pursuing a legal remedy in relation to wrongful conduct. After the expiration of the statutory period, unless a legal exception applies, the injured person loses the right to file a lawsuit seeking money damages or other relief.


The statute of limitations in CA for breach of contract or open account (credit card account) is 4 years.

So they are stating you paid within the last 4 years so that they have a valid claim.

If you haven't paid in over 4 years - they would now be too late to be able to sue and collect upon the alleged debt.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I understand that I am being sued, I do not believe it has been 4 years. Do you have any advice as to my question;

As I am unemployed and not able to pay the full amount is there an legal organization that I may contact in Los Angeles that may help me sift through this situation and come up with a payment plan with this company?

Or is my family at risk of my husbands wages being garnished and or our family car being confiscated?
Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
As I am unemployed and not able to pay the full amount is there an legal organization that I may contact in Los Angeles that may help me sift through this situation and come up with a payment plan with this company?

Regretfully, there is not a Legal Aid that will assist you with this type of legal problem.

What assets do you own?

Did you incur this debt during the marriage?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The only asset that my name is XXXXX XXXXX is our family car. If we do not have our car the children will not be able to attend school, my husband to drive to work or my elderly mother in law will not be able to attend Dr.s appointments it will be a fiasco.

Yes I was married when the debt was incurred.

Would you advise filing for bankcruptcy?

I am at my wits end, is this a situation that can be resolved via filling out the documents myself online?
Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
The problem is - that because the debt was incurred during the marriage - it's a joint debt.

In the handful of states with "community property" rules, most debts incurred by one spouse during the marriage are owed by both spouses.

In community property states, most debts incurred by either spouse during the marriage are owed by the "community" (the couple), even if only one spouse signed the paperwork for a debt. The key here is during the marriage. So if you incur a debt, such as a student loan, while you're single, and then get married, it won't automatically become a joint debt.

In community property states, a couple's income is shared as well. All income earned by either spouse during marriage, as well as property bought with that income, is community property, owned equally by husband and wife. Gifts and inheritances received by one spouse, as well as separate property owned before marriage that's kept separate, are the separate property of one spouse. All income or property acquired before or after a divorce or permanent separation is also separate.

In a community property state, creditors of one spouse can go after the assets and income of the married couple to make good on joint debts (as stated before - in a community property state, most debts incurred during marriage are considered joint debts).

For example:

When Linda's business fails, she owes $45,000 to suppliers and other creditors. Because Linda and her husband live in a community property state, these creditors can sue both her and her husband to collect the money owed. Linda no longer has an income to take, but her husband's is significant, and her creditors are able to garnish $3,000 of her husband's income per month until the debts are paid off.

Creditors can go after joint assets in a community property state no matter whose name is XXXXX XXXXX title document to the asset (in CA they cannot go after the house).

 

 

For example, a business owner's name may not be on the title to her spouse's boat, but in most community property states, that won't stop a creditor from suing in court to take the boat to pay off the business owner's debts (assuming the boat was purchased with community funds, and not separate funds).

 

As to one spouse's separate debt, such as one spouse's child support obligation from a prior relationship, or a debt in one spouse's name only where the spouse hid the fact that he or she was married, a creditor can go after only that spouse's half of the community property to repay the debt.



In California, a judgment may be enforced for a period of ten years from date of entry. A judgment may be renewed for a period of ten (10) years after it has been entered for a period of five (5) years from the date of entry. The life of a Judgment therefore may be extended beyond the ten year period if it is timely renewed.

Judgments may be enforced (collected) in a variety of ways. An Abstract of Judgment recorded with the County Recorder in a county where defendant owns real property may create a judgment lien. This may require payment if certain real property is sold or refinanced. Other lien and enforcement mechanisms may be available in specific circumstances. If a debtor is a plaintiff in a different lawsuit, or a beneficiary in an estate proceeding, the creditor may be entitled to a lien against a recovery from the lawsuit or inheritance. Judgments may also be enforced by garnishment of wages.



So, you can defend this civil action certainly. If you are sure that you have paid on the alleged debt or incurred some of the debt within the last 4 years - they are within the statute of limitations to collect on the debt.


The collection company will agree to accept payments definitely. They do not want to go to court.


Usually a debtor can set up payment arrangements paying them 75 cents on the dollar over time.


The problem with filing bankruptcy is - that it costs about $2,500.00 to retain an attorney and file bankruptcy.


Moreover, the court would probably make you pay back some of this debt. So, by the time you get all done with that - you've paid off the debt indirectly.



I would advise that you contact Midland Funding and see what kind of payment plan you can negotiate with them.


I would inform them that your marital income is nominal and you have no assets but want to try and resolve this without going to court.


By saying that - they will realize there are little to no assets that they can garnish and will work with you setting up a payment plan.


I know this isn’t going to be the answer you want to hear, and it’s certainly not what I want to tell you.


However, I wish to be completely honest with you, so I feel obligated to not give you false hope.

 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I appreciate your candour.

I just spoke with the collections agency, they were indifferent to my situation and want a lump sum of $5,975.00 or $300 a month for 2 years inclusive of court fees.

Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
Ouch. I don't want to say something and set you up for a false impression that's wrong and too good to be true.

Well realize they can't take what you don't have.

You would be entitled to keep your car.

They can garnish wages but are limited.

A judgment creditor may be permitted to obtain up to 25% of net pay during each pay period. However, this remedy may be subject to a claim of exemption by individuals. The Court may determine that all or a larger portion than 75% is necessary for the support and maintenance of the defendant and his family members.


So, they don't necessarily automatically just get to garnish your wages - they have to jump through some hoops AND then the court decides.

They are limited. I would call them back and say $150 over 2 years or take your best shot because we/I have nothing and you won't be able to garnish our wages under the circumstance.

They might accept that given that they know you've done your homework.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I spoke with the collection agency again and they are mailing paperwork tomorrow referencing proof of hardship which will be submitted and the amount of $150 will potentially be considered.

Thank you for your assistance.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
OK great. They usually will work with you somewhat. They only get paid if the debtor pays them.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne - they want paid.

If you threaten them with - go ahead I'm "judgement proof" - they will jump over backwards to negotiate a resolution.

I'm glad it worked out - bankruptcy is really not an option for you considering.


Kindly do not forget to positively rate my answers so I can be credited for assisting you.

Thank you!


If you have any questions, about this or anything else, please ask for me, Law Pro, directly in the question and I will try to assist you as best I can.

For example, you would state, "This question is for Law Pro . . . (then on with your question).
Law Pro, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 24796
Experience: 20 years experience in consumer advocacy, debt collection violations, contracts, construction
Law Pro and 3 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Infolawyer

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    5518
    Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/NY/nyclawyer/2012-6-7_22011_photo66139201112041.64x64.jpg Infolawyer's Avatar

    Infolawyer

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    5518
    Licensed attorney helping individuals and businesses.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    2620
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/lawpro/2012-6-25_171315_PT206740s.64x64.jpg Law Pro's Avatar

    Law Pro

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1711
    20 years experience in consumer advocacy, debt collection violations, contracts, construction
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1415
    16 years legal experience including consumer protection law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1160
    25 years of private practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mnphillips2/2009-03-13_203105_10984459-249293407.jpeg Phillips Esq.'s Avatar

    Phillips Esq.

    Attorney-at-Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    1065
    B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/barristerinky/2012-6-10_22423_office.64x64.jpg Barrister's Avatar

    Barrister

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1023
    Attorney with 14 years experience in various consumer protection areas
 
 
 

Related Consumer Protection Law Questions

Chat Now With A Consumer Protection Lawyer
Law Pro
Law Pro
1896 Satisfied Customers
20 years experience in consumer advocacy, debt collection violations, contracts, construction