Attorney Suzanne ShinnHave you been served with a lawsuit recently? If so, the most important thing to do is to stay calm and call for help! Many people do not understand that they may have a very short window of time to act before even more serious consequences may occur. The most common problem we see is that someone may be served with a lawsuit, however, they don’t realize that the time to take action is immediately. Most lawsuits that are filed in Alabama have a short window of fourteen (14) days from the date you were served for an answer to be filed. There are other lawsuits wherein you may have thirty (30) days to answer from the date you were served. Check the papers you receive closely to determine how long you have to answer.

How an Attorney Can Help

At Bond and Botes, we want to help you avoid the pitfalls of not taking action by coming into our office and speaking with an attorney immediately after you have been served with a lawsuit. These pitfalls include garnishment of your wages or even bank accounts which can wreak havoc on making ends meet each month. Statistics show that most Americans are not likely to even have $1,000.00 in savings because most are living from payday to payday. Obviously when you receive a paycheck and 25% of it is missing due to a garnishment, or you are trying to purchase groceries or gasoline and your debit card is not honored because there is a garnishment against your bank account….well….that’s when it’s really hard to stay calm.

Can Filing For Bankruptcy Help?

Let’s face it. Life is busy and we all think there is plenty of time, but two weeks goes by in a flash and if no answer is filed or action taken, it’s virtually impossible to “undo” a default judgment. Many people do not want to file a bankruptcy even when a lawsuit has been served for fear that the bankruptcy filing will “ruin their credit”. But keep in mind, a lawsuit and most other negative credit will be on your credit report for a period of seven (7) years or more. So, it may be that the slow payments, late payments, or “write offs” in combination with the lawsuit are each affecting your credit score. In many instances, if not all, it is probable that after the filing of a bankruptcy case, your credit score may even improve….possibly dramatically.

Also keep in mind, that creditors, collectors, etc., are fairly savvy. After all, this is what they do for a living, all day long, every single day. As such, they may have the upper hand in obtaining information from you regarding employment information, bank account information or even updating the account information which may translate into bigger problems for you down the road.


It’s always best to get sound legal advice from one of our knowledgeable attorneys at Bond & Botes. There is nothing wrong with good strategy-a good game plan. Proverbs says that there is wisdom in counselors. Most of our attorneys have many years of experience advising clients as to options, strategies and solutions. Therefore, keep calm and contact us for help and a free initial consultation. The sooner the better!

Suzanne Carlson Shinn
Written by Suzanne Carlson Shinn

Suzanne Shinn is a shareholder of several of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Alabama and Mississippi. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. She joined the Bond & Botes team in 1992 as its first associate attorney and has been helping clients navigate the bankruptcy process ever since. Read her full bio here.

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