Receiving a letter from a debt collector can be overwhelming, especially if you are behind on several bills. It is nerve-wracking to owe money to creditors and not have the resources to pay. This happens to hundreds of people every day. Most people find a way out by filing for bankruptcy. However, some creditors will stop at nothing short of intimidating borrowers into making payment arrangements they simply cannot keep. Texas residents need to know their rights regarding debt collection lawsuits and filing for bankruptcy.
What to Do if a Debt Collection Lawsuit Summons Arrives After Filing for Bankruptcy?
When you get a summons in the mail, you need to read it carefully and respond to it immediately. Be sure you understand the terms and if not, you need to consult a bankruptcy attorney. You have from 14 to 20 days to respond to the summons before you are found in default for not responding. During this period, you can obtain the legal help of an attorney that specializes in debt collection lawsuits. If you are found to be in default, you might lose any rights you have to challenge the debt or state your input in the case.
Nevertheless, weekends and holidays do not count in the required response time. The response time is different for Justice and District Court. If you receive a summons from the Justice Court, you need to respond within 14 days. An extension is only granted until the 15th day if the 14th day falls on a weekend. The District Court allows you 20 days or a little longer, to answer a summons, depending on which day of the week the 20th day falls on.
However, once you file for bankruptcy, your creditors should cease any debt collection efforts on their part. All of your debts, past and present, are protected from lawsuits if the bankruptcy is discharged. Be sure to consult an attorney if you have not already done so. If you have not filed for bankruptcy and received a summons, you can still reach out to a debt collection attorney for advice and help.
Who Can File Debt Collection Lawsuit Summons in Texas?
Any financial, lending, or credit card company can file a lawsuit in Texas. However, they must go through the court system to do so. Once the claim is filed, a legal representative or officer delivers the paperwork. The paperwork can be hand delivered or sent out through certified mail.
What are the Rights of Debtors Following a Debt Collection Lawsuit?
Debtors may think they do not have any rights because they are the ones being accused of owing the debt. Whether it is true or not, the creditor has the burden of proof to bear. Clerical mistakes are often made and sometimes these mistakes are costly and can cause stress and frustration on the part of those being summoned. As a defendant in a debt collection lawsuit in Texas, you have a right to take affirmative defense against any allegations. Here are your rights:
- The right to dispute a canceled debt
- The right to deny the debt due to clerical errors, including erroneous amounts of the debt
- Appeal the lawsuit because the statute of limitation is passed
- To prove that the creditor used illegal practices while attempting to collect the debt
Filing for bankruptcy protects residents from intense collection practices, which can be overwhelming. After an affirmation defense claim is claimed by the debtor, the creditor is required legally to cease all collection efforts. Debts that are owed, past and present, become part of the bankruptcy. To activate such protection, you need to answer the summons within the specified time frame. If you plan on hiring a debt collection attorney, you need to do so immediately. The clock starts ticking the moment you receive your debt collection lawsuit. Since Texas has no statewide forms for answering the summons, debtors can search online for the appropriate response forms. Anyone opting for an attorney can bypass this step if they have an attorney to assist them with their response.