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Ellen, Lawyer, Consultant
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36714
Experience:  25 years of experience helping people like you.
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This is regarding a 7.5 year old defaulted small joint equity

Customer Question

This is regarding a 7.5 year old defaulted small joint equity loan (in a different state from where I live now). An attorney's office is handling the debt collection for the bank. I only found out about the still open debt & 5 year old judgement for lien against real & personal property by calling the bank to see why they were checking my credit every year (the judgement or the debt is not on any of my credit reports). They offered a settlement but I cannot come up with that amount & they will not work with me on payments etc. They are only coming after me, not my ex because they know where I work etc. They state if I don't pay the amount tomorrow "collections will continue." I fear wage garnishment, frozen assets and/or a lien on my recently purchased home. I am not sure what to do at this point.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ellen replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for your question. I am happy to assist you.

I am a lawyer with 25 years experience. While I am permitted to provide you with legal information, I am prohibited by and various state bar associations from giving legal advice, representing you or entering into an attorney-client relationship through this open and nonconfidential forum.

Please tell me which State the equity loan was taken out in
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Expert:  Ellen replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for that information.

The statute of limitations in Mississippi is 3 years. Therefore if you have not made a payment in 3 or more years and suit has not yet been filed, you may raise the statute of limitations as a defense to any action brought against you to collect.

I hope this helps
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Really only 3 years? Is this info available through the MS courts so that I can raise this as a defense? The judgement is 5 years old & I am guessing they are trying to cross state lines now. What about the wage garnishment?

Expert:  Ellen replied 6 years ago.
If the court has already entered a judgment against you, the 3 year statute of limitations would not apply. The three-year statute of limitations applies to the filing of the lawsuit to obtain a judgment.

In Mississippi, wages may be garnished. 25% of wages are subject to garnishment.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
As stated earlier, I am no longer in MS. Now in FL, so I don't know how the judgement or a possible wage garnishment process works or will apply.
Expert:  Ellen replied 6 years ago.
I did not know that you now reside in Florida. I am a Florida licensed attorney.In Florida wages may not be garnished if you are a head of household. However Florida will recognize the Mississippi judgment
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I apologize, yes I am a FL resident. I have read somewhere that the homestead law of FL can protect someone against liens on their house?
Expert:  Ellen replied 6 years ago.
Yes that is also correct. Homestead property may not be attached in Florida
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ok great. So it appears the only continued collections they can do is seek wage garnishment--not sure what other options I have to avoid this except to file for head of household when I qualify.
Expert:  Ellen replied 6 years ago.
Other than the head of household's exemption to wage garnishment, you can consider filing bankruptcy. If you would like more information concerning your bankruptcy options, please let me know
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Filing bankruptcy for this 7.5 year old semi-small loan? No thank you. Looks like they will have to spend their time & money to file suit for wage garnishment in this state. They have refused to send me any paperwork showing the amount owed or the judgement. They state I "have to take their word" that it is due & if I "pay then the loan & judgement will clear." But they will not send a bill or letter showing exactly what's due & what offer they are trying to settle for. It seems that an attorney's office would be able to mail something, just doesn't seem right that they won't or don't.

Expert:  Ellen replied 6 years ago.
I agree that a bankruptcy for this one debt may not be necessary. The fact that you have not received any information from the creditor may be because no judgment was in fact entered and the SOL has run.