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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I am in Wa State, Divorced in 2008, Ex got the car with an

Customer Question

I am in Wa State, Divorced in 2008, Ex got the car with an order to refi in his name and signed "hold harmless agreement". He got the car repossessed with both of our names still on it post divorce. I was just served a summons for lawsuit (for both my Ex and I - to which I informed the process server that I don't receive the docs in behalf of my ex who has not lived in my home since 2007) for $9,700 from Patenaude & Felix APC. This has not been filed in court yet although it appears to have been. Several years ago I sent HSBC copies of divorce/hold harmless ageements and asked them to stop collections with me and proceed with the Ex. How should I best respond to the summons? (ie? Notice of Acceptance, Order for Plantiff to file in the court or what?)
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you this afternoon.

I am sorry that you are in this situation. However a 'hold harmless agreement' does not mean that the other creditor cannot collect, merely that if they do attempt to collect, the other party (your ex) would be responsible to you for your losses and your expenses. It may therefore be wise to deny the claims in the summons by claiming that this is no longer your vehicle, and even if it was, you are not liable for the debt. What you would really need to do is file suit against the ex for both contempt of court order (so that the judge may admonish, fine, or even jail him for failing to properly fulfill the requirements of the order), and sue him directly for your losses. The creditor here has the right to seek a judgment 'jointly and separately' against you both. What that means is that they can sue just him, just you, or you both for the money, and if they get the funds just from you, it would be permissible for them to do so. This is where the hold harmless kicks in and allows you to get the funds back from your ex based on his written agreement.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I alreaday had him charged for "Contempt of Court Order" and the judge stated that they really don't jail people for being in divorce contempt. Does this make any difference? Unfortunately, I have no idea where he is living at the moment and he does not work (has not for the last 2 years). Are there any other alternatives? Have you ever known a judge to rule in favor of the harmed one in this type of case?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up.

While it is true that judges rarely jail for contempt, for constant contempt they absolutely can do so. They tend to jail more over failing to pay for child support but spousal support is likewise possible. You would need to try to find him somehow so you can ensure he gets served as otherwise you will get this judgment against you. The only other alternative is bankruptcy which I doubt you want to consider. As for judges ruling in your favor, once a blue boom it is possible, but generally they go by the contractual language. So if your name and signature is listed, you are responsible.

I am sorry.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Since the attorney of record has not actually filed this document in the courts but appears to be the actual legal suit, should I still reply? I don't have any sort of court record to respond to at this point. Wouldn't I have to be served again once they file it in the courts? They are giving me 14 days to respond or a default judgement will be entered against me. I did not think they could be granted a default judgement from something that has not been officially filed in court. Your thoughts?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your follow up.

Since the attorney of record has not actually filed this document in the courts but appears to be the actual legal suit, should I still reply?
If there is no suit yet, there is no legal reason to reply. I cannot tell you whether you should or should not, but without anything filed, this summons as yet has no value.

I don't have any sort of court record to respond to at this point. Wouldn't I have to be served again once they file it in the courts?
yes, you would.

They are giving me 14 days to respond or a default judgment will be entered against me. I did not think they could be granted a default judgment from something that has not been officially filed in court. Your thoughts?
I agree, a 'default' judgment means you failed to appear in court OR you failed to contest their petition. But if there is as yet nothing filed, there is nothing to respond to.

Good luck.