I am retired, and live in Illinois on a pension. I have credit card debt of about $60,000. I have been unable to make payments. I have recently had my mortgage modified, but this just keeps my head above water. Can I be sued by the credit card companies? And can they take my home?
A creditor -- a debt collector that owns a debt account is a creditor -- has several legal means of collecting a debt. However, before the creditor can start, the creditor must go to court to receive a judgment. A court (or in some states, a law firm for the plaintiff) is required to notify the debtor of the time and place of the hearing. This notice is called a "summons to appear" or a "summons and complaint." In some jurisdictions, a process server will present the summons personally. In others the sheriff's deputy will pay a visit with the summons, and in others the notice will appear in the mail. Each jurisdiction has different civil procedure rules regarding proper service of notice. (See Served Summons and Complaint to learn more about this process.)
It is possible that a collection agent can place a lien against an debtors home. It is possible that a home can be foreclosed upon as a result of a lien being placed on the home. However, it is unlikely that a creditor would pursue foreclosing on a home because doing so does not guarantee that the creditor will be repaid. When a home is foreclosed the first to be paid is the first mortgage holder. The second to be paid would be any second mortgage. Any lien holders would come next. The concern with this scenario is that home prices, across the country, have fallen substantially and there may not be sufficient, if any, equity to pay off the lien. From a legal perspective it is within the lien holders right to foreclose on your home. However, as practical matter it is very unlikely for them to do so because of the reason I just cited. I recommend you visit Collection Laws and Statute of Limitations section to review the laws applicable in your state. For more information please visit our Web page that discusses collections advice.
To get a no-cost, no-obligation quote from a debt consolidation company, visit the Bills.com debt relief savings center. For more information about debt settlement / consolidation and other debt resolution options, see What Are My Debt Consolidation Options?
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn. Save.