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Debt Collections Defense

Collections and Creditor Lawsuit Defense Attorney in Oakland

One of the scariest things about being in debt is the threat of a collection lawsuit. If a creditor sues you in state court you must act quickly to protect your assets. The Bay Area Law Offices of Melanie Tavare understands how stressful a debt collection lawsuit can be.  Melanie Tavare has years of experience helping people being sued by their creditors file for bankruptcy relief. If you don’t want to face your creditors alone, contact our office today for a free consultation. Areas served include San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Oakland and more.

Automatic Stay:

Even if a lawsuit has already been filed against you, bankruptcy can help. 11 U.S.C section 362 provides that the filing of a bankruptcy acts as a stay that prohibits your creditors from continuing attempts to collect on their debt during your bankruptcy. This stay is in effect until your bankruptcy is over and your debt is discharged, or the creditor successfully petitions the bankruptcy court for relief from stay. Generally, relief from stay is only granted to secured creditors under certain circumstances. Because of the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, a federal bankruptcy case supersedes a state court action. This means that the lawsuit in state court action must be stopped and the matter will instead be resolved in bankruptcy court.

Bankruptcy Discharge:

A discharge of your debt in bankruptcy means that in most cases, no creditor can ever again attempt to collect on a debt that was listed in your bankruptcy case. There are limitations to this however. Child support arrears, domestic support obligations, student loans, and certain taxes cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. But in general, unsecured debt like credit card debt, medical debt, payday loans, and personal loans can all be discharged unless they were obtained through fraud. The bankruptcy discharge is how you get a fresh start. Once you get the discharge, there are strong federal laws that prohibit your creditors from ever attempting to collect from you again.

Dealing With a Debt Collection Lawsuit Without Filing For Bankruptcy:

For some people, filing a bankruptcy in order to deal with a lawsuit may not be the best option. In these situations, if you can afford an attorney to represent you in state court, you may want to seriously consider that option. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may represent yourself. Most court websites have information on what you need to know when representing yourself in state court.

Time to Respond to a Lawsuit:

In most cases, you have 30 days to respond to a debt lawsuit. That 30 day time period starts once you have been served with the summons, not when the summons was filed with the court. However, if your creditor cannot locate you and has made reasonable efforts to do so, the time may run without you knowing it. If you do not respond within 30 days, the creditor will receive a default judgment it can then use to go after your assets to collect on its judgment.

Court fees:

In order to respond to a lawsuit, you must file a response in the court in which the lawsuit was filed. Every court charges a filing fee to do this. This fee can be upwards of $200.00. If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can ask the court to waive the fee. Each court will have its own fee waiver forms. You can go to the clerk’s office and ask for one. It is important to do this before the 30 day limit to respond has expired.

Contact us Today!

If you need help dealing with debt that has resulted in litigation, don’t hesitate to contact our office. We serve San Francisco, Oakland, Walnut Creek and other Bay Area locations. Don’t be afraid to open your mail for another day. Bankruptcy relief can provide you with the fresh start you are looking for. Call today for a free consultation. Evening and weekend appointments available.

The Law Offices of Melanie Tavare are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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"Melanie is the best she very responsive and helpful throughout the process everything was taken care of smoothly. If you are thinking of going through bankruptcy she is the best attorney for you. I will forever be grateful having the chance to work with her. She is very honest too."


"I can't thank Melanie enough for helping me through a challenging process and doing so with incredible knowledge, professionalism and tenacity! She went to great lengths to keep me informed, she responded quickly to my questions, and communicated in terms that I could understand. I highly recommend getting in touch with Melanie should you have the need."


"Choosing to work with Atty. Melanie has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. She was a very patient professional to work with and attentive while providing valuable solutions to all of my concerns. If you are searching for of an Attorney who is knowledgeable, transparent, and diligent - well that's Atty. Melanie."


"What I liked about working with Melanie was how prompt and easy to work with she was. She made the process clear and understandable with as little stress as possible. I would work with her again and recommend her to others."