Have you ever fallen behind on a debt? Maybe you missed a few payments on a credit card or a car loan? If you have, you know that is when the phone calls start. The creditor starts calling you to find out when (or if) they will ever get paid. This is the first step in debt collection. As unpleasant as debt collection phone calls can be, it only gets worse from there.
After the creditor you owe money to gives up on trying to collect, they will often give your account to a third party debt collector. This results in not only MORE phone calls, but also damaged credit. The phone calls that come from a debt collector will usually seem even more harassing than the phone calls from the original creditor. You are now dealing with a professional debt collector. Their only job in life is to harass you, embarrass you, coerce you, or convince you to pay them money. But what if you can’t afford to pay them?
The next step can be a lawsuit. This is where the creditor or debt collector hires an attorney and sues you. Assuming you have no defense to the lawsuit, this will most likely end up with a judgment against you. What’s so bad about a judgment? Well in Florida, a judgment can result in 25% of your paycheck getting garnished until the judgment is paid in full. Imagine losing 25% of your paycheck and still trying to pay all of your bills!
The good news is that even if you have let your debt situation get to the point where judgments are entered against you, you still have hope. Filing a bankruptcy can make all of this unpleasantness go away. The second you file for bankruptcy, all debt collection efforts, including garnishment, must stop immediately. If you are dealing with debt collection calls, lawsuits, or even garnishments, do not delay! Call your lawyers at Berkowitz & Myer today to find out how the bankruptcy laws might help you in your time of need.
Jesse D. Berkowitz is the managing partner at Berkowitz & Myer. He has been recognized by “Top 100 Lawyers” and has recently been recognized as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers. Berkowitz & Myer has offices in St. Petersburg, Florida and Bradenton, Florida.