My wife, unemployed and mentally ill, is being served for credit cards. Options?

Q: My wife had several credit cards that she was paying on when we were dating. She eventually became unable to work due to her mental illnesses and has been unemployed for over a year now. As a result, she was unable to make her credit card payments.  Today, she received a notification that she has a certified letter at the post office from “Court”. She is assuming that this is serving some lawsuit against her but the largest debt she had from any creditor was less than $2000. She is mentally unable to handle stress like this. She has not been able to work for over a year, has harmed herself in the recent past, and has no property or any money to speak of. What should we do in this situation? We have asked to have the letter redelivered tomorrow. (North Huntington, PA)

A: I am sorry for your situation. However, your wife’s unemployment or mental health will not be a defense to credit card debt. My advice is if she owes the money and you can afford it, pay the credit cards that haven’t sued her yet. Perhaps you can call and negotiate a lower payoff. As far as the one who has sent her mail, you need to take the papers to a lawyer for a consultation. If this mailing from the “Court” is a Civil Complaint, you need to answer it in 20 days or she could lose by default. The attorney may advise to pay it, or may assess whether she has a defense or not. Many credit card claims are defensible, for example, there is no contract or the original contract has not been properly assigned to the present creditor. If the credit card debts as a whole are not able to be satisfied at this time, you may want to talk to a Bankruptcy attorney.

I got a notice of deposition in aid of execution and I’m scared they will take my property

Q: Five years ago, I had to abandon my home to Bank of America and moved in with friends in another state because of impending foreclosure. Since we had no money we stopped paying credit cards. Most of the debts have since been forgiven but one. Discover was large, about 12K. About two years ago they sent a subpoena and I was scared and dealing with panic attacks. I gave in and signed forms and agreed to the law firm to pay 100$ a month. They set up a payment plan with automatic withdrawal for I think 6 months. When I called to reset the payments, they badgered me for more. They told me the amount was going up from interest and my payments weren’t even covering it. They reluctantly agreed to set up further payments for only 3 months so they could harass me some more when I called back. I told them that my sole income now was about $1,500.00 per YEAR, after my husband of 17 years had left. It didn’t matter to them. They would only set for another 3 months. I couldn’t handle it, and stopped paying after. I own nothing of value but an 18-year-old Pontiac. I am married for a year and husband owns this house. The bank account is mine and his check goes in so I can pay house bills. (Jeanette, PA)

A: I would consult with a consumer rights attorney to deal with these vultures. My thought would be the old proverb, you cannot get blood from a stone. If all your husband’s assets are in his name, he should be protected. From what you describe it sounds like they already have obtained a judgment against you? Therefore, they can only execute on your property-property in your name only. This does not include your husband’s property. If you have no property to execute on, it is not worth their time. I am not telling you to commit fraud, but someone in your situation may not want to have a bank account. I would need to know more information but I would be inclined to not pay them if you do not have the money. They have only sent a Notice of Deposition. This is not a court order and it is not a subpoena. You could choose not to attend. If you receive any more paperwork from them, take it to an attorney.

I got this email from Cash Advance Inc. threatening law suit.

Q: It says you are going to be legally prosecuted within a couple of days in the Court House and Internal Revenue Service will put your social security number on hold causing severe damage to your credit history or credit report and your income paychecks will be put on hold any child support or disability or unemployment or retirement benefits will be either place on hold or will be stopped until you will pay the outstanding amount of 783.67 dollars to us

A:  It is nothing but junk mail from a con artist hoping you will give them a credit card number.