What to do about this debt?
August 11, 2011 9:00 PM   Subscribe

I've just received a Warrant in Debt (a "civil claim for money") in the state of VA for nonpayment of a credit card (around $1,700 after interest). I've been aware of the debt, but unable to pay anything against it. How best to proceed?

I made a couple of payments several months ago for around $150 or $200 each and decided to forget about it indefinitely, and after a while they stopped calling me and mailing letters. I've not had any contact with them in perhaps a year. A civil court date has been set for 10/11/11.

The thing is, I'm a working/touring musician. While I tend to be very content in general, I have very little money to spend, and it's very difficult for me to not consider this debt superfluous until I happen to have $1,700 I can throw out the window. I haven't had a "real" job in over two years now, and I pretty much live out of a van for 10 months out of the year, making just enough money to keep on going. I'm living some variation of what amounts to my "dream", but I understand that this is of no consequence to my debtors or to the courts.

I understand that I have an obligation to pay back my debtor, but I can't do so right now. I really don'y have anything to give them right now, not even $100. I may be able to pay about half of it in a few weeks as I intend to sell a piece of musical equipment, but in the meantime, what do I do? Should I go to court explain? Should I call the debtor and talk to them? After I make the aforementioned payment in a few weeks, I have no idea when I'll be able to make another as again.

Again, I really have zero expendable cash. It's no way to live for most people, but it does work for me. I do want to resolve this when I can, but I'm also not willing to upset the logistics of my life (i.e. hand to mouth so that I can do what I love to do. I know a lot of people will think "welcome to the real world", and I understand that argument entirely, but an issue like this almost boils down to an existential point for me. As I've tried to convey, it's difficult to reconcile that with the fact that I really do want to take care of this. As you can see, $1,700 is a fuckload of money to me. And no, I absolutely do not have any friends or relatives who can lend this to me.

Thank you once again, MeFi!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Check out this website for some good info on how to proceed. Don't ignore it. Don't plead guilty and don't be afraid to play dirty. Also if you google ' "warrant in debit" Virginia ' you'll find a wealth of information.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:44 PM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes you should go to court. Explain that you have chosen to be broke. The judge may set a minimum monthly payment. Court fees will be added. Defaulting on such an arrangement can result in wage garnishment if you have a regular job, which you don't. (I had hospital bills that my old crappy insurance didn't cover and other unexpected expenses.)

Got a few weeks for a paid drug trial?
posted by longsleeves at 9:48 PM on August 11, 2011

This is not legal advice.

My husband knows of someone in California who went to court under similar circumstances and plead poverty. Judge set the repayment plan at $20 a month. Better than a judgement for the full amount against you!
posted by jbenben at 10:18 PM on August 11, 2011

Actually, your life style does not "work" for you. You've put yourself in a position that you're being sued due to your choices, and that is causing you significant anxiety.

If I were the judge, I would want to see a sincere effort on your part to take care of the obligation you have to pay this debt (which was YOUR choice), that might mean that you actually forego the "dream" for a bit to take care of it.
posted by tomswift at 2:40 AM on August 12, 2011 [5 favorites]

jebenen, there undoubtedly was a full judgment against him. The payment plan ensured that the creditor could not seize property, etc. as long as the payments were made.
posted by megatherium at 4:37 AM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

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