Lately our office has been receiving more and more of these calls. Clients have received a civil summons from an old creditor and don’t know where to turn. Receiving a civil summons can be scary. Most of the time the Sheriff in your county will deliver the summons to your home or business and this can add an element of stress to the situation. Due to the Pandemic, it seems that many creditors held off on pursuing lawsuits but now we are seeing a lot of creditors start to take action again.
First of all what is a civil summons and what does it Mean? A Civil Summons is the process in North Carolina that a creditor uses to start a lawsuit against an entity who may owe that creditor money. The ultimate goal of the creditor is to obtain a judgment against the entity that may owe the creditor money and eventually recoup the money owed.
The first question I get asked the most is “Am I going to jail”. Fortunately there is no longer a Debtor’s prison. Furthermore, North Carolina is a debtor friendly state and does not allow wage garnishment for in state judgments. So take a deep breath and relax. You have options.
Still the process of receiving a civil summons is a stressful experience and it is best to immediately contact an experienced attorney when you receive a civil summons. Here at Wootton and Wootton our consultations are always free and we are happy to discuss your bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options if you have received a civil summons. There are bankruptcy options you have that may allow you to alleviate the debt completely if you move quickly. You also have a 30 day time period to respond to the summons in order to set up a hearing. If you fail to respond to the summons or take any action the creditor may file a default judgment against you.
Sometimes people have so much going on that they fail to respond to the summons and a judgment is entered. Don’t worry if this happens. Though it is always better to contact an attorney as soon as you receive a summons you still have options even after a judgment has been entered. Whether you have just received a summons or have recently had a judgment entered against you our attorneys will be happy to discuss your options and what your next steps should be.
We understand that this can be an extremely stressful time for people, which can lead to hurried decisions. I have seen that it is best to contact an attorney immediately and find out what options you have before making any hasty decisions. Knowledge is power. Having the knowledge about what your options are will help alleviate the stress and more importantly help you to save your property from the creditor.