Responding to a New Jersey Credit Card Law Division Summons
If you owe a substantial amount of credit card debt and have not made a payment after a significant amount of time has passed, it is probable that the credit card company or a collection agency will eventually attempt to sue to obtain a judgment to enforce the debt.
A successful legal action solidifies the creditor’s right to collect the debt, making it important that you pay close attention to the summons and seek out qualified legal advice to determine how best to proceed.
Whether or not you believe you owe the debt, responding to a New Jersey Credit Card Law Division summons is important to prevent the judge from entering a default judgment. An experienced credit card debt attorney can help explain the requirements for filing an answer, as well as viable defenses that can be used in your case.
The Summons and Complaint
Filing a lawsuit against a delinquent debtor allows the creditor to pursue several collections avenues that are unavailable without a judgment. Collection cases may be filed in the New Jersey Law Division—Special Civil Part if the amount in question is under $15,000, or the New Jersey Law Division if the debt is $15,000 or more.
A formal judgment from the New Jersey Credit Card Law Division allows the creditor to:
- Levy bank accounts
- Garnish wages
- Levy against the debtor’s personal property
- Place a lien on real estate owned by the debtor
The creditor begins the process of pursuing a lawsuit by filing a complaint with the Law Division court, which sets forth the general basis for the lawsuit. The complaint is sent to the debtor along with a summons that provides instructions as to how to answer the complaint.
In general, the debtor must respond to the complaint within 20 or 35 days, depending upon where the lawsuit is brought, in order to prevent the judge from entering a default judgment against the debtor.
Importance of Filing an Answer to the Law Division Complaint
Even if the debtor does not recognize the party listed on the summons and complaint, responding to a New Jersey Credit Card Law Division summons is still necessary.
In many cases, the original debt may have been sold to a collections agency and this process may have been repeated enough times that the debtor is not actually aware of the party that owns the debt when a lawsuit is filed. This can often serve as a viable defense to a lawsuit seeking to collect a credit card debt.
If the debtor fails to respond to the New Jersey Law Division summons and complaint, a default judgment will be entered and can no longer be contested. This means that the debtor will be responsible for the debt even if a defense strategy could have prevented the creditor from successfully pursuing the claim. A written answer responding to the summons will lay out potential defenses and can even contain a counterclaim against the creditor who filed the original lawsuit.
Contacting a New York Lawyer to Discuss Responding to a Credit Card Law Division Summons
A skilled credit card debt lawyer can be a valuable asset in responding to a New Jersey Credit Card Law Division summons. An experienced lawyer will have experienced many of these cases in the past and will be well versed in constructing possible defenses to prevent entry of judgment for the creditor.
If you have been served with a summons and complaint from the New Jersey Law Division, the importance of filing an answer within the prescribed timeframe cannot be overstated.
Once a default judgment has been entered, there are no further options for contesting your liability for the credit card debt, meaning that your home, assets and even ongoing wages could be in jeopardy. Contact an attorney today for guidance and support in navigating the legal process.