Subject: Civil Judgement
Question: I have a credit card that was opened in 2001.I live in Ohio and now they have sent papers that there is a civil lawsuit against me for $3000.At this time I have a van that is in me and my husbands name its worth $1500. And he has the house and all utilities in his name. I work 5 months a year. I have requested to pay them over the next year, but they attorney office has said I must show that I tried to get a personal loan through my bank and then possibly they can make arrangements for about $300 a month for 3-4 months and then use my income tax to pay the remaining balance. My questions are can they put a lien against my house with it being in my husbands name only. And if they are not going to work with me then maybe I should take my name off of the one checking account that we have together and let them try to garnish me for all of nothing..what should I do???
Answer: It is indeed sad to see so many people with such a defeatist outlook. I say that because the last part of your post ends with "let them try to garnish me for all of nothing." What that says to me is that you believe that there is nothing you can do except let them get a judgment and then try to garnish you. It says you have already resigned yourself to what you and millions more people believe is the inevitable.
It does not need to be that way. While it does take a lot of learning, those debt collectors and attorneys can be beaten and my students are doing it all the time. You can too if you really want to. Now then, on to your questions. I would recommend that you have him take your name off the van even though they can't take your only means of transportation in most states unless it is of an extremely high value and maybe not even then. If you owe money on it then I wouldn't worry too much about it. In any case, it wouldn't hurt to be on the safe side and remove your name from it.
There may be some insurance ramifications there in your state so I would check with your insurance company to be sure that you will still be able to stay on the insurance and drive the van but there probably won't be any problem there either. Just check to be on the safe side.
Can they put a lien against the house with it being in your husbands name only? Well, if you are in a community property state then they probably can but otherwise not. And yes, I would say that you might want to take your name off the checking account too. But those are just small safeguards against immediate ruin. The real truth is that even if you have no assets, aren't working, and claim that you are poorer than the proverbial church mouse you can count on the fact that they will put enough pressure on you to convince you that you must somehow or another find some way to pay at least something on a regular basis.
Now then, let's change the outcome at least a bit if not altogether. They have apparently served you with a summons which says you have a certain number of days to respond to the summons not counting the day upon which you were served. So you respond to the summons with a properly prepared motion for more definitive statements from the plaintiff instead of the answer containing nothing but poor excuses for why you did not pay thereby instantly losing the case. Then you learn how to follow that up with more motions, demand for interrogatories, admissions and demand for production of documents. At least make them work for their money like you have to. Don't go down without even a whimper.