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the legal eagel
the legal eagel, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 113
Experience:  Over 30 years experience in hundreds of bankruptcy matters for both debtors and creditors.
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Judgement- I defaulted on a credit card in 2001 for ...

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Judgement- I defaulted on a credit card in 2001 for $8900 after an organ transplant operation that let me without income beyond my husbands income and part time income on my part for over 2 years. In 2004 National Asset Manatement bought the account & requested a judgement to include intrest from 2001 forward to a total judgment of $14793.87. Now they are requesting a new judgment to take the balance to $18589.96. The only time I have had any ability to pay this account was in 2005 when I sold a house in which I realized about $13500. I called everyone I owed money to & made a verbal offer to settle including these people who I offered $10,000. They said no o anything less than full payment. So I paid the others. I ended up with no money but 20 out of 21 criditors were paid off. I am currently unemployed do to downsizing, have no assets beyond what is in my home, a car I owe more than it''s current value. I also do not live in the county the suit is filed in.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  the legal eagel replied 9 years ago.
You didn't really say, but because of the category, I assume you are asking if bankruptcy is a good option for you.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. When you had some money, it would have been good to consider what the consequence could have become if you settled with less than all your creditors. If you could not settle with all of them, bankruptcy might have been a good option then, particularly if you could have "sheltered' the $13,500 in some asset exempt from your bankruptcy estate. But that is now water under the bridge.

The first thing you should look at is the statute of limitations issue. You said that they requested a judgement in 2004, but did not say that they got a judgment. If they did not, it may be that the length of time between your default and the date they brought suit may have exceeded the allowable time to bring suit. In most states, that is three years.

Assuming that they did get the judgment, they are probably now just adding on the interest that continued to accrue. In some states, there is a specific judgment rate of interest, perhaps 5%. In other states, the contract rate of interest continues until the judgment is satisfied. On a credit card, that was probably 24% or upwards.

All this being said, you have two principal concerns in bankruptcy as follows:

Do you pass the "means test" that was enacted with the 2005 bankruptcy amendments. This is a calculation based upon income, family size, local cost of living, and some related factors. If you are unempployed, this will not likely be a problem for you.

Would you have to surrender any assets to the trustee in bankruptcy to pay to your creditors. Different states have different laws as to what you can keep in bankruptcy. Depending upon your state, you may be able to choose a uniform federal list of "exemptions," meaning what you can keep. Perhaps more importantly, if this is your debt alone, and your husband is not jointly obligated upon it, and you own your home (I assume by "what is in my home," includes the home itself) with your husband as tenants by the entirety (you may have to look at your deed for this), it is likely free of the claim of a bankruptcy trustee.

I suspect that these questions are mostly answered in your favor and that you could be released from this debt in bankruptcy without surrendering any asset. To confirm this, you will need to sit down with a local bankruptcy attorney. Many will give you an initial consultation free to determine whether you are a good candidate.   Call a few to see. If you go to meet with him/her, take a copy of your Deed.

I hope this has been helpful. If so, please click on "accept." If you have any follow up questions, please ask them, but try to include as much detail of your circumstances as possible.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Bankruptcy was just the closest category I could find. This is about the judgment. They got a judgment in 2004 for the principle plus interest retroactive to 2001 & are now seeking additional interest in a new judgment. They also want a copy of ALL of my financial transactions for the last 5 years. I have no money for a lawyer as I have been laid off. What options do I have? In Florida I know only this: they can seek up to 10% interest and a judgment is good for 20 years. Florida does not tend to garnish wages or attach assets but can. Also, as stated, I did offer $10,000 in a verbal phone call in 2005 and they said no.
Expert:  the legal eagel replied 9 years ago.
Your creditor is under no obligation to take anything less than what he is owed. He may, nevertheless, choose to do so because of difficulties he anticipates in collecting. Your task is to convince him to take what you can offer, rather than to hold out for the possibility of getting more later.

A creditor is entitled to try to collect a legally valid judgment. To do this, a creditor is typically entitled to ask you questions and require you to provide documents that will show where you have assets or income that he can try to attach to satisfy the debt. If you feel that he has requested things that are not relevant to this, you can refuse to answer or produce them and file a written objection. A judge may be called upon to rule on what you must provide, and I don't thing you will be required to produce 5 years financial records. But judges have much discretion in deciding these things.

I strongly suspect that bankruptcy is your best option. If you do own your home, Florida has a pretty good statute that allows you to hold on to it. However, based upon part of the 2005 revisions, you must have owned it for a while. Again, I think you will benefit by sitting down with a local bankruptcy lawyer.

Good luck!
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