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What Should I do with Large Credit Card Debt?


daxbr
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I have been diligently reading posts on this forum but due to very limited legal knowledge, I have hard time understanding it and I am not confident to go to court on my own.

Here is my situation:

- living in Florida, age mid 50s, grown up children, not currently married.

- $180k debt, 14 different credit card accounts; stopped paying between January and June 2011; current status: sending validation letters to collection agencies.

- current income: $800 social security disability; not expecting future income.

- property: fully paid condo value $120k, homesteaded for years.

- bank account balance $500.

- no car.

- personal property $2k

- legal knowledge: very limited.

- currently living with gf 300 miles away from residence, address not known to creditors.

What should I do?

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Ouch.

Once the suits start rolling in, I'd be filing BK7. If all 14 file suits against you, it could possibly stress you out enough to cause a heart attack, and I'm not joking about that. How far you want to fight it is up to you, but it is definitely worth picking a point at which you will throw in the towel.

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I would also file bankruptcy with all those cards and debt. Give yourself a fresh start. You might plan for your bankruptcy. Try to pay off one card before you file to keep. Make sure you have the car you want. Sometimes its better to owe on the car and make arrangements to keep it by paying the loan but thats up to you.

You are pretty much judgement proof. They can't take your house or your ss check. But I would remove any $$ in your bank accounts if you have someone suing you. You might wait awhile too and see how many do sue you. Maybe this will be the only one or maybe they won't bother. Let them know you are disabled or something and only have ss as an income and no assets.

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Sec. 207. [42 U.S.C. 407] (a) The right of any person to any future payment under this title shall not be transferable or assignable, at law or in equity, and none of the moneys paid or payable or rights existing under this title shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law.

(B) No other provision of law, enacted before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this section[97], may be construed to limit, supersede, or otherwise modify the provisions of this section except to the extent that it does so by express reference to this section.

© Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit withholding taxes from any benefit under this title, if such withholding is done pursuant to a request made in accordance with section 3402(p)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by the person entitled to such benefit or such person’s representative payee.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[96] See Vol. II, P.L. 83-591, §§86, 861, and 871, with respect to income subject to taxes.

[97] This section was enacted August 10, 1939, [P.L. 76-379, §207].

This subsection was enacted April 20, 1983, [P.L. 98-21, §335(a)(2)].

See Vol. II, P.L. 83-591, § 3402(p)(1).

Edited by racecar
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I agree with the others, if your income is permanetly reduced to the SS amount then debt repayment or settlement is not feasible given the info you posted. File BK 7.

You have an issue though. You would need to live in the condo you own free and clear and file in that district. In Fl, homestead is automatically renewed every year unless you have moved. Hopefully you have just been visiting your gf for an extended stay and will return shortly to your homesteaded residence.

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Thank you so very much to everyone for valuable information.

I currently live at an alternative residence 300 miles away and this address is not known to anyone. Only come back home once a month to pick up mail and to maintain homestead.

Will I be able to avoid, delay or schedule suits by making it difficult/impossible to be served?

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I don't think that will help. In fact they may be able to file anyway and get a judgement without you even knowing if you don't show up and answer their lawsuit. If they are going to serve you a lawsuit in CA it has already been filed by the time you get it. I guess all states will be different tho. I don't know the situation in your state.

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If it were me, I would not pass GO nor collect $200.00.

Instead, my next move would be a BK 7.

For the amounts involved, it's only a matter of time before they hit hard. Since you are away so often and might miss the mail, there is need to have judgments entered & go through that madness.

Cut 'em off at the knees now. They won't go away. Remember, these scavengers might start calling neighbors & family, etc., trying to find you.

BK 7 is quick. You'll have a new beginning in no time.

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Please excuse my total ignorance. Instead of keep on asking questions, I have been trying to read previous posts and also read legal statues but it is tough tough going.

My objective at this point is to delay or stop lawsuits before they even start by avoiding being served.

I found a link on this site to Florida Rules of Civil Procedure that states I can be served one of three ways:

- be served by county sheriff (most common) or process server.

- by publication (told by non-lawyer friend this is not used)

- by mail if I elect to receive certified mail, sign return receipt and send back service waiver back to court.

If none of this happens within 120 days, then lawsuit is dismissed without prejudice.

Do I understand it correctly?

Florida Rules of Civil Procedure:

RULE 1.070. PROCESS

(a) Summons; Issuance. Upon the commencement of the action, summons or other process authorized by law shall be issued forthwith by the clerk or judge under the clerk‘s or the judge‘s signature and the seal of the court and delivered for service without praecipe.

(B) Service; By Whom Made. Service of process may be made by an officer authorized by law to serve process, but the court may appoint any competent person not interested in the action to serve the process. When so appointed, the person serving process shall make proof of service by affidavit promptly and in any event within the time during which the person served must respond to the process. Failure to make proof of service shall not affect the validity of the service. When any process is returned not executed or returned improperly executed for any defendant, the party causing its issuance shall be entitled to such additional process against the unserved party as is required to effect service.

© Service; Numerous Defendants. If there is more than 1 defendant, the clerk or judge shall issue as many writs of process against the several defendants as may be directed by the plaintiff or the plaintiff‘s attorney.

(d) Service by Publication. Service of process by publication may be made as provided by statute.

(e) Copies of Initial Pleading for Persons Served. At the time of personal service of process a copy of the initial pleading shall be delivered to the party upon whom service is made. The date and hour of service shall be endorsed on the original process and all copies of it by the person making the service. The party seeking to ef-fect personal service shall furnish the person making service with the necessary copies. When the service is made by publication, copies of the initial pleadings shall be furnished to the clerk and mailed by the clerk with the notice of action to all parties whose addresses are stated in the initial pleading or sworn statement.

(f) Service of Orders. If personal service of a court order is to be made, the original order shall be filed with the clerk, who shall certify or verify a copy of it without charge. The person making service shall use the certi-fied copy instead of the original order in the same manner as original process in making service.

(g) Fees; Service of Pleadings. The statutory compensation for making service shall not be increased by the simultaneous delivery or mailing of the copy of the initial pleading in conformity with this rule.

(h) Pleading Basis. When service of process is to be made under statutes authorizing service on nonresidents of Florida, it is sufficient to plead the basis for service in the language of the statute without pleading the facts supporting service.

(i) Service of Process by Mail. A defendant may accept service of process by mail.

(1) Acceptance of service of a complaint by mail does not thereby waive any objection to the venue or to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant.

(2) A plaintiff may notify any defendant of the commencement of the action and request that the defendant waive service of a summons. The notice and request shall:

(A) be in writing and be addressed directly to the defendant, if an individual, or to an officer or manag-ing or general agent of the defendant or other agent authorized by appointment or law to receive service of process;

(B) be dispatched by certified mail, return receipt requested;

© be accompanied by a copy of the complaint and shall identify the court in which it has been filed;

(D) inform the defendant of the consequences of compliance and of failure to comply with the request;

(E) state the date on which the request is sent;

(F) allow the defendant 20 days from the date on which the request is received to return the waiver, or, if the address of the defendant is outside of the United States, 30 days from the date on which it is received to re-turn the waiver; and

(G) provide the defendant with an extra copy of the notice and request, including the waiver, as well as a prepaid means of compliance in writing.

(3) If a defendant fails to comply with a request for waiver within the time provided herein, the court shall impose the costs subsequently incurred in effecting service on the defendant unless good cause for the failure is shown.

(4) A defendant who, before being served with process, timely returns a waiver so requested is not required to respond to the complaint until 60 days after the date the defendant received the request for waiver of service. For purposes of computing any time prescribed or allowed by these rules, service of process shall be deemed effected 20 days before the time required to respond to the complaint.

(5) When the plaintiff files a waiver of service with the court, the action shall proceed, except as provided in subdivision (4) above, as if a summons and complaint had been served at the time of filing the waiver, and no further proof of service shall be required.

(j) Summons; Time Limit. If service of the initial process and initial pleading is not made upon a defendant within 120 days after filing of the initial pleading directed to that defendant the court, on its own initiative after notice or on motion, shall direct that service be effected within a specified time or shall dismiss the action with-out prejudice or drop that defendant as a party; provided that if the plaintiff shows good cause or excusable neg-lect for the failure, the court shall extend the time for service for an appropriate period. When a motion for leave to amend with the attached proposed amended complaint is filed, the 120-day period for service of amended complaints on the new party or parties shall begin upon the entry of an order granting leave to amend. A dismis-sal under this subdivision shall not be considered a voluntary dismissal or operate as an adjudication on the me-rits under rule 1.420(a)(1).

Edited by daxbr
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We are here to help you. You are making common mistakes that all potential pro se litigants make. This is not your fault. Believe me, I know, because I made more than my share until I got a good grasp of the legal system. We are going to criticize your opinions to the point where you will want to give up, but that's the learning process. That's how we got here. That's also why you are here, so benefit from what we tell you and don't misinterpret it. Think of it as a learning process in which you'll learn how to appear in court and decimate somebody who went to law school. Take my word for it, this is a lot of fun. Don't think you can beat an attorney in court? Think again. Ask Coltfan1972, our resident expert on the FDCPA and also an expert on digging graves for attorneys who think they know more than him. After you hang around here for a while, you'll get the hang of it. It just takes some work.

My objective at this point is to delay or stop lawsuits before they even start by avoiding being served

This is a total waste of time. You cannot stop someone from serving you with suit. Concentrate on mounting a good defense to the suit they file. We'll teach you how.

We gave you some good advice previously, I sggest you look into it.

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Thank you so very much to everyone for valuable information.

I currently live at an alternative residence 300 miles away and this address is not known to anyone. Only come back home once a month to pick up mail and to maintain homestead.

Will I be able to avoid, delay or schedule suits by making it difficult/impossible to be served?

Does the language in your Fla RCP"s state that The Defendant must be served ''personally" ?

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My objective at this point is to delay or stop lawsuits before they even start by avoiding being served

This is a total waste of time. You cannot stop someone from serving you with suit. Concentrate on mounting a good defense to the suit they file. We'll teach you how.

Legaleale is dead on correct avoidance is the worst possible strategy, in dealing with this type of issue.

You spoke that you show up to your legal residence every 30 days or so to pick-up mail. In some jurisdictions, not sure about Florida, service can be done by public notice, via the newspaper, for those avoiding service.

Also eventually a CA or JDB is going to forge service and move ahead with Default Judgement. Then you will have to show up and try to vacate, at which time you may have to give information where you can reached.

Better strategy is to deal with them as they come, knowing that you have the nuculear option of BK if you need to use it. With a little knowledge and time it is not uncommon to get settlements that you can live with.

It is hard for them to violate your rights so that you might collect from them, win you are in a bunker 300 miles away....

Best of Luck.

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