Bankruptcy Law Questions? Ask a Bankruptcy Lawyer.
I will try to best answer your question.
Since you have advised that you have a court date I'm going to assume that the creditor has filed the complaint, served you with the same and that this is the first court date. If you have not already done so you need to file an answer to the complaint denying liability. My next step would be to request a continuance. If the matter is in small claims court you will also have the option of filing an appeal in the event that you have an unfavorable verdict on December 29th. However if you can put off the hearing date that I'll save you the headache of filing the appeal.
I would also suggest contacting the creditor's attorney in making an offer to settle the matter with a payment plan. Although you and I know that you do not want to file bankruptcy, they do not know that. This will be to your advantage as you can threaten to file bankruptcy if they don't agree to your settlement proposal. Unless there is a threat that they will get less why would they accept your offer? You can use the bankruptcy threat as a leverage to try to negotiate a better deal. Always start with low offer so you have room to come up. They will never accept your first offer.
If you have additional questions I would suggest that we set up a phone call as it is much easier to answer multiple questions in that format. I'll send you a phone offer next in case your interested.