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Dear JACUSTOMER - It is doubtful you will find any pro bono or free attorneys to assist you in this situation. There are so many people needing legal help for cases that can be won and these debt cases are usually not among them. The problem is that most of the time the debts are valid and there is little an attorney can do to actually win the case in court. That doesn't mean you don't have some options but most of them are things you can do without an attorney unless it is bankruptcy.
In your case there is already a judgment which makes it even more difficult since there is no case to go to trial on because the case was already won by default in the beginning because you failed to respond to the initial complaint. So now your only option is to get the judgment vacated and start over.
In order to be successful with a motion to vacate you to show two essential things. One is that there was a reasonable excuse as to why you didn't respond to the initial complaint and two that you have a viable defense to the cause of action, in other words some reason why you don't owe the debt. That is what the court will want to know at your upcoming hearing.
There is an additional problem in your case in that it has been more than a year since the judgment was filed an only in very rare instances are judgments vacated after a year. So it is not likely you are going to get the court to vacate this judgment. That leaves you with trying to get the matter settled or resolved in some other way.
You said you have no regular income so you would not have wages subject to garnishment and that would leave the creditor to have to try to attach any assets you may have such as a bank account.
No one can do anything to you for not paying such as jail or fines since this is a civil matter. The easiest way to get rid of debt is to file a bankruptcy and get all of your debts discharged. With the exception of taxes and student loans and a few other types of debt virtually all debt can be removed in a bankruptcy. The other option is to try to settle the debt for a lesser amount or to make payments.
Hiring an attorney for anything but a bankruptcy is really a waste of money and this is why most attorneys don't even bother to take cases of this type unless there is a valid defense or there is a client who doesn't mind spending big bucks to fight the case.
So when you go to court you will need to demonstrate that there was a good reason you never responded to the suit and that you have some defense if the court will agree to vacate the judgment. The reason for that is that the plaintiff would simply be able to get another judgment and you would be back where you started.
I hope this puts things into perspective. I cannot actually represent clients from this website as we are here for general information purposes.
Educator, Esq: Follow up question: Is the following
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