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You got papers, now what?

A lawsuit is a document filed with a court that seeks to enforce a party’s rights. In most cases, this is a complaint that sets out that you owe money and why you owe it. This is a creditor’s first step for getting a judgment that can be used to garnish your wages, clean out your checking account, and put a lien on your house.

First, service has to be made. This is legal talk for proper delivery of the documents. Most service is done by certified mail or service by sheriff. The Bullitt County Sheriff will send you a letter telling you that papers are ready to be served on you and that you can pick them up. Generally, I do not recommend picking the papers up. Make them deliver them. However, usually, unless you are really lucky, you’ll eventually get served.

A lot of people mistakenly believe because the complaint may not contain a court date they don’t need to take action. Nothing can be further from the truth. Failure to reply allows the Plaintiff to get judgment without having to litigate the case. If you haven’t contacted a lawyer yet, this is the time.

The second you get papers, if not before, is the time to call a lawyer. Unless you know how to do it yourself – and really, you probably don’t- things start happening quickly at this point. (Lawyers have 7 years of college along with a mountain of continuing education. Unless you have this too, call a professional).

What do at this point? Well, there’s litigation, settlement, or bankruptcy. We’ll talk about those next time.

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