Being sued by a creditor gives them legal means to collect from you when you haven’t paid toward your debt. If you receive a summons you may wonder whether or not to appear in court. Many debtors assume that if they don’t have the money, what is the point in showing up in court? While you should appear in court at the scheduled time listed on the summons, you are not required to do so.
If a creditor fails to show in court, the case may get dismissed since the creditor won’t be present to provide evidence regarding their claim. If a debtor fails to show up, it is often grounds for a default judgment. This allows the creditor to schedule an inquest or hearing to present information to the court without your presence; meaning you won’t be able to defend yourself while they present supporting documents of their claim.
Keep in mind, there are consequences that follow a default judgment. The creditor may obtain a judgment order that allows them to seize assets, property or wage garnishment to satisfy outstanding debt. Some states have regulations in place that protect certain items or assets from being seized by creditors for unsecured debt.
You may choose to work out an agreement with the creditor before the court date on the summons. If you and your creditor reach an agreement, a Notice of Settlement is filed with the court. This lets the court know an agreement has been reached and proceeding with the lawsuit isn’t needed. While you have the option to show in court, you should review all possible outcomes for either option.