A spot of online shopping here; a YOLO trip there, and bills can accumulate quickly. If you have received one or more payment reminder letters, you could be served with a Writ of Summons, which is a document filed in Court to commence legal proceedings against you.
Here’s what to do when you receive a court summons:
1. Seek legal advice immediately
It may be tempting to ignore the Writ of Summons. However, burying your head in the sand does not make it go away. When a Writ of Summons has been issued, there is a deadline to respond legally.
Not responding can result in a default judgment being entered against you, which enables enforcement action to be taken. This could lead to your salary and bank account being garnished, home possessions removed through a Writ of Seizure, and the possibility of bankruptcy. Once default judgment is entered, it can be more difficult and costly to be reversed.
2. If you do not dispute the claim
If you do not wish to contest the claim, you should inform your creditor’s lawyers and pay the amount you owe. If the claim is for a small sum, this option may be easier than hiring your own lawyers.
It is possible to enter into a private arrangement with your creditors to pay off your debts in installments or in scheduled repayments. You can also request for an extension of time to liquidate your assets to repay debts.
3. If you dispute the claim
However, if you wish to contest the claim, the usual course of action is to respond by filing a Memorandum of Appearance with the Court within eight days from the time you receive the Writ of Summons.
Aside from informing the creditor’s lawyers, you should also seek out legal advice to evaluate your options. This includes whether your defence has merit and whether you can counter-sue.
A lawyer should be consulted in preparing your defence. Preparing a defence requires the document to be drafted out in a particular manner that deals with the various elements of the claim that is being made out against you.
You have 14 days to prepare your defence; if not filed within 14 days, the Court will deem that pleadings have closed and your creditors are at liberty to apply for default judgment against you.
4. Debt repayment programmes
Seek help and counselling with a trusted organisation that can nudge you in the right direction with a debt management plan. When managing debt-related issues, reaching out to a debt helpline in Singapore can be the next best thing to equip you with the advice, analysis and guidance you need.
Being served a writ of summons can be incredibly stressful. However, not all is lost. By facing up to the situation and with proper planning to repay your debts, financial freedom can be regained. A reliable agency willing to help is advisable – If you find yourself ensnared in a debt trap or your credit rating is too poor to secure another loan, regain control of your finances by quickly enlisting with a capable organisation you feel at ease with.
Debt Aid specialises in helping people with unsecured consumer debt-woes through knowledge-sharing consultations and debt management programs. A credit counsellor can help consolidate your debts, and work out a customised debt repayment scheme to set you on the road to debt recovery.
Debt Repayment Scheme (DRS) – Triggered through a bankruptcy application, this scheme seeks a win-win outcome for both the debtor and creditor. The DRS assists debtors who have a regular income and debts not exceeding $100,000 to avoid bankruptcy along with its restrictions and social stigma.
If the debtor satisfies the relevant criteria, an administrator will devise a repayment plan requiring scheduled and regular debt repayments to the creditors over a fixed period of time not exceeding five years. When the debtor meets his financial obligations under the DRS, he will be released from his debts and have a fresh start thereafter.
From letters of demand to court summons, get back on your feet starts with a free assessment from Debt Aid on debt management.