Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
When is the last time you made a payment? Did they require you to make more than the agreed upon payment each month? What is the reason you cannot afford tio pay? The answers to these questions will help me help you.
If they demanded payments more than once a month, they violated the terms of the contract and therefore breached the contract. The reason they are demanding so much at this point is an accumulation of fees, etc.
You must keep the court date, or the court will enter a default judgment againt you for the entire amount. Technically speaking, the statute of limitations for a contract in most states is six years. This means that the statute of limitations may have already theoretically expired on your contract. However, each time you re-affirm the debt by admitting you owe it, or make a payment, the contract renews itself, so you are still under the contract terms. But their breach of the contract by demanding payments more than once a month is an affirmative defense for you.
If you can get an attorney, that would be best. Sometimes your county bar association has a list of pro bono attoneys who will accept cases like this free of charge.
But you do not need an attorney if you cannot afford one. On the day of the hearing, you should take a copy of the contract, and also any canellled checks or any other proofs of payment. Also, if you are receiving public assistance or any other benefits, please take proof that you are on a limited income to the court.
The court will allow you to explain your situation and then will make a decision as to whether you have to pay back anything at all. It might be that the court will ask you how much you can afford and then force the bank to take that amount of money per month or in one lump sum.
However, if you do not keep the court date, you will not be able to get any adjustments to the debt. Hope this helps.
Perhaps your bank can get you copies of cancelled checks. If you cannot retrieve them, though, that may be a problem. The lender however may have the payment copies (if they are honest). As for the contract, the lender will have to produce a copy of the contract, and you can verify the terms and your signature to the Court. You are still in a better position keeping the cort date, no matter what. Hope this helps.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).