Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Are You Being Sued?

Are you being sued?  If a civil lawsuit has been filed against you by a creditor or collection agency, my law office can provide you with representation.  Once you have received the Summons and Complaint, it is important for you to respond.  Should you fail to respond appropriately it is likely that judgment will be entered against you followed by post-judgment collection process proceedings.

I am licensed to practice in Maryland, District of Columbia, and Florida as well as the federal courts in those jurisdictions.  I have represented individuals, like you, who need legal assistance.  I have years of varied legal experience in defending lawsuits and resolving problems.

If a complaint has been filed against you, I can help.  If you are reluctant to answer your own phone because of harassing calls from creditors, I can help.  If you have found it difficult to meet your financial obligations and have been unable to persuade your creditors to work with you to resolve your debt, I can help.

I practice in the areas of: Debtors’ Rights, Bankruptcy, Consumer Law, Mortgage Loss Mitigation, Divorce & Family Law, Wills & Estates Law, Traffic & DUI/DWI, and Immigration.  If you are interested in resolving your case effectively and efficiently at a fair cost, with an experienced attorney, please consider my law office.  I am available to meet with you in Baltimore County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, or downtown in the District of Columbia.

I may be reached at (301) 325-3322 or (301) 262-7353.    


Camille R. McBride, Esquire

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Debtors’ Rights: Some General Information About Dealing With Creditors

           One of the most stressful situations in life is dealing with creditors and debt collectors who are demanding payment for money that is owed.  It is even more stressful when you owe money to several creditors.  Stress and frustration results when you borrow money from a person or entity and you do not or cannot honor your financial obligations.  

            You are called a “debtor” if you owe money to an individual or a corporate entity.  The “creditor” is the individual or corporate entity that you owe.  The creditor may sue you and attempt to collect what is owed if there is a judgment against you.  However, debtors have rights.  Collection activity is regulated by both the state and federal government. Collectors are not allowed to harass you by engaging in unlawful practices such as the following:

·                   Calling at hours that are defined as unreasonable under state law.

  • Threatening violence.
  • Threatening criminal prosecution, unless the debtor has violated a criminal statute.
  • Threatening to tell your employer and neighbors.
  • Using intimidating, abusive, and offensive language.

         If you believe your rights have been violated, contact an attorney immediately.  You should hire a professional with legal training if you want to be successful in an unfair debt collection practice claim.  Now, this does not mean that the creditor cannot sue you.  It deals with the unlawful collection activity and not the debt that you may owe.

          Before the creditor or collection agency files a Complaint against you, they will typically contact you by telephone and in writing in order to get you to pay.  Any written notice from them should contain the following:

  • The name and address of the collection agency.
  • The amount of the debt, stating the original debt and a breakdown of other costs or interest.
  • The name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed.
  • The collection agency’s account or file number and the creditor’s account number, if that is the case.
  • A statement that unless you dispute the debt within a certain time after you receive the notice, the creditor or collection agency will assume the debt is valid.
  • A statement that, if requested within a certain time, the collector will provide the name of the original creditor, if different from the collector.
  • A statement that if you dispute the debt, the creditor or collection agency will get verification of the debt and mail it to you.  

          If you do not believe that you are responsible for the debt, you should dispute it in writing.  Some defenses include: 1) the debt has already been paid; 2) a third-party was responsible for paying the debt and you have proof; 3) it is not your debt; 4) the statute of limitations defense; and 5) the amount is incorrect because of a computational error.  

          If a civil lawsuit has been filed against you by the creditor or collection agency, consider hiring a lawyer.   Once you have received the Summons and Complaint, it is important for you to respond within the time specified on the Summons.  Should you fail to respond appropriately it is likely that judgment will be entered against you followed by post-judgment collection process proceedings to include garnishing the debtor’s bank account, wages, seizing the debtor’s personal property or real estate, serving the debtor with written discovery to locate assets, and even holding the debtor in contempt for any failure to comply with court orders.     

          A lawyer can help you protect certain kinds of property from being taken to collect a debt.  A lawyer can advise you on whether Bankruptcy may be a good option.  Let a trained legal professional in your area represent you so you can get on with the rest of your life.

Legal Disclaimer:   The informational content presented in my blog should not be used as a resource or considered legal advice.  These are my thoughts, and you should seek advice from a lawyer admitted to practice in the state where you reside. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What If I Feel I Am Unable to Survive Financially During the Divorce Proceedings?

If you believe that you do not have enough money to live on during the proceedings, and your spouse earns enough money to support you financially, you can seek a hearing on temporary relief.  The court can order your spouse to pay you during the pendency of the proceedings.  There are various forms of temporary relief from the court; however, this discussion will address temporary alimony/spousal support/maintenance.
            You can ask for temporary financial support when you file your complaint or petition or you can request it by motion after you file your initial pleadings.  However, you should ask your attorney to discuss with you the practical aspects before you file.  A temporary relief hearing is a mini-trial.  Temporary relief that is unlikely to be granted should not be requested.  It may look like the request was not filed in good faith, and it is a waste of judicial resources.  It may also set the tone of the case, so avoid it if unnecessary and focus on other matters that are worthy of attention. 

            Generally, the court can order temporary alimony if one souse has a need and the other spouse has the ability to pay.  The court has wide discretion in awarding temporary alimony, and it may take into consideration the standard of living during the marriage and marital misconduct such as adultery and domestic violence, among other factors.  Financial disclosure is needed for the court to order an award.  A financial statement detailing monthly expenses with accompanying pay subs, W2s, and tax returns should be produced by both spouses to aid the court in making a determination.  The spouse seeking relief to preserve the status quo during divorce proceedings, for example, making sure necessary household expenses are paid, must present evidence of income and expenses.  Again, this is a temporary order, and the spouse in need should not rely on receiving the same amount at the time the divorce.