If a debtor is sued by a creditor and a judgment is reached, there are many collection methods creditors will use to collect money owed from the debtor. However, there are still options available to debtors to avoid these collection efforts.
Our knowledgable Miami debt defense attorneys are providing information debtors should know to help prevent a creditor’s collection attempts.
Negotiate With the Judgement Creditor
Once a judgment is filed against a debtor, the creditor becomes a “judgment creditor” and the debtor becomes a “judgment debtor.” However, it never is too late to try to negotiate. The process of taking a debtor’s property to satisfy the judgment can be quite grueling and frustrating for the creditor. A creditor might be fearful of the possibility that a debtor could file for bankruptcy, which would place a stay on the debt.
Generally, if a judgment creditor is presented with a reasonable offer from the debtor, they will often stop any collection attempts such as a wage attachment, lien, or levy. A qualified debt defense attorney can be extremely helpful when negotiating with creditors.
Claim Property as Exempt
Another way to stop a creditor from collecting a judgement is to claim property as exempt. If a judgement creditor levies on your property or attaches a debtor’s wages, that doesn’t qualify the creditor to also seize the property. Each state provides exemptions for certain property from creditors. Also, debtors might be able to keep the property even if it isn’t exempt if one proves to the court that the property is needed to support the debtor or their family.
How to Claim Property as Exempt
If a levy is placed against one’s property, the debtor must be notified. Once the debtor receives that notice, one can request a hearing which is usually referred to as a claim of exemption hearing. During this hearing, the debtor can argue that one will experience significant financial hardship if the property is taken, or demonstrate that the property is exempt under law.
A debtor cannot request a claim of exemption to protect wages if the debt was for basic necessities. Rent, mortgage, utilities, and food are some examples of basic necessities. The law states that one must pay for necessities, even if one faces a financial hardship after doing so.
Speak to an Attorney
If a judgment has been filed against you, it is essential to speak with one of our Miami debt defense attorneys to determine the best option to avoid collection from a creditor. Whether you need assistance with a negotiation or a claim of exemption hearing, contact Graham Legal, P.A. today for a free consultation!