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Tried to serve me papers but I live abroad


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Hi,

I have lived abroad for 18 years now. I have some old debt that I was paying the minimum payments on for many years and about two years ago I stopped paying because I just didn't have the money anymore.

First the credit card companies tried to collect then all of the debts (around $40,000 total from 12 different credit cards) went to collection agencies. I sent them letters asking to validate the debt. Only one responded and I sent a letter negotiating the debt but never hear back from them. Everything was sent registered mail return receipt.

Now my mother informed me someone came to her house (my US mailing address is her house) to serve her papers for me. She said I don't live there (which is true) and that I've never lived there (which is also true). I'm registered to vote there and have a US drivers license with her address.

Can anyone please tell me how I should deal with this?

Thank you!

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I will assume that you do not know who is attempting to sue you. Check if the county court where your mother lives has online access. You should be able to search for your name there and then you will have a better idea of who it is.

The court would not have jurisdiction over you since you are not in the county or state. However it would be up to you to notify them of that. The proper way would be through a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, but you need to know more before you can do anything.

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Guest usctrojanalum

The court would not have jurisdiction over you since you are not in the county or state. However it would be up to you to notify them of that.

Let me play devils advocate,

But your honor, how can the defendant claim he does not live there when DMV records show that he has a US license with a valid US address. Also the US Post office states that he still does receive his mail there.

He either lives there, or he has broken the law by not notifying the DMV of his address change within 30 days.

You can't trick the your creditors into believing you live at an address, then when you get sued by the same creditors pull out the, hey - I'm just kidding I never lived there card I was lying!

The address issues were created by the OP, not by anyone else.

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usctrojanalum takes the argument that most of the JDBs may try, but would fail. The Dept of State strongly recommends all ex-pats establish and keep a US based forwarding address. The thing to do is establish your current residence status via documentation to include with your motion to dismiss. One of the best is to get the embassy or consulate to document your presence, they do this all the time. Also include a copy of your passport and anything else that may prove you area and have been out of the country for some time.

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Guest usctrojanalum

It might fail, it might not. When I served process I was a witness to a traverse hearing on this same exact issue once. Judge slammed the defendant saying you can't tell your creditors you are living somewhere, then when they go to serve you at that address - claim you no longer live there and the court has no jurisdiction.

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I would argue that the poster is a US citizen and maintains a valid driver's license at his family residence, wich is his right. He has not denied the validity of the address, his mother merely stated that at this time it is not his primary residence, which it is not. He has in fact been in contact with the creditors and has made efforts to resolve the issues. That aside, the debtor is currently residing in a foreign country and has done so for 18 years. The debtor has no intention of returning to the US at this time. Therefore, any judgements gained will be uncollectible as the debtor is collection proof. Have a nice day. Any problems, take them up with the State Department.

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Thank you everyone for your answers. This helps me a lot.

The US Consulate where I live knows that I'm here. I registered with them when I moved here and have been in touch with them. Each of my children received US citizenship. They know who I am and where I live.

What I'm must frustrated about is that I had my father send every creditor letters asking to validate the debt and only one responded.

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Okay, we had a guy living in Poland a while back with the same problem. If you're not going to live here again, they can't get anything from you. As far as I know, that does not impede your ability to enter the country as a citizen if you want to visit. Check with the consulate to see how Israel treats foreign judgments.

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You need to read this, it has some information you need to know. You may be able to contact some of these people, it appears that if there is a judgment against you here, it can be enforced in Israel. Many countries have this, it is like extradition in criminal matters.

Judgment Enforcement News - Foreign Judgments in Israel: Recognition and Enforcement

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This depends on whether or not they want to spend the money for a foreign enforcement. If you let them get a massive judgment against you for 40 grand, they'll just hire a lawyer in Israel to enforce the judgment. Your assets there may then be up for grabs. I don't know, there are issues involving dual citizenship. I have heard that all members of the Jewish faith are naturalized Israeli citizens by birth if they so choose. This gets into foreign law, you really need to retain counsel in Israel or Florida to find out how to pursue this. I have enough trouble figuring out Connecticut law, international law is a bit beyond me. Although I will say, they are many attorneys in Florida who are admitted to the bar in both countries. One of these would be your best bet. Here's one, this could be a good start.

Israel Lawyer | Israeli Lawyer | Israeli Attorney| Israeli Law Office

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Keep in mind that enforcing foreign judgments is not easy...in many countries, it is harder to bring suit than in the US.

For example, many countries require a plaintiff to post a bond with the court before a case can be heard...so if a US judgment holder were to try and enforce a judgment against a debtor, the system is not necessarily on their side.

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I have a few more questions:

1. Will there be a court case even if I'm not served the papers?

2. Would it be wise to contact the lawyer and tell him I'm abroad?

3. Should I contact the court and tell them that I'm abroad?

4. I am willing to negotiate my debt. I sent an offer to the company that is suing me and instead of answering the offer they just sued me. Should I contact the lawyer and tell him I'm willing to negotiate and end this?

Thank you!

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Depends on who owns the account. If this is some junk debt buyer, they will attempt to serve you at your last known address. That will be where your driver's license says you live. You won't show up for court, they will get a default judgment. That's what they are counting on, especially since they know you live abroad. We need more info. I think Nascar should weigh in on this, it involve FLA law with which he is familiar. Maybe a power of attorney would allow someone to appear in court for you. If this is a JDB, fight them. If it is an OC, weigh your options according to whether or not you think they'll try the foreign law thing. I think it would be too expensive for them, that's why I suggested an attorney conference.

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Could you please answer the following questions? It would help me out.

1. Will there be a court case even if I'm not served the papers?

2. Would it be wise to contact the lawyer and tell him I'm abroad?

3. Should I contact the court and tell them that I'm abroad?

4. I am willing to negotiate my debt. I sent an offer to the company that is suing me and instead of answering the offer they just sued me. Should I contact the lawyer and tell him I'm willing to negotiate and end this?

Thank you!

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The answers will depend on whether or not you plan on coming back to the US... if not, then I'd fax the lawyer and tell him to kiss my @a$$...

If you do want to come back, then fax the lawyer and make an offer - see what happens. Be sure you fax where the local phone number is visible (UPS store).

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