Judgment

Is it Legal For a Lawyer to Take My Payments for a Creditor?

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

I filed for Bankruptcy then after a month I decided to cancel it. I received a judgment from a law office from one of the creditors. I called this lawyer and came to an agreement on a payment plan.

I have been asking for documents stating what we agreed on, but still, to this day all I have is an email agreeing to what I would send a month. The check is made out to the creditor but its the lawyer’s name that endorses it and mailed to a P.O Box to him.

I just don’t feel that this is legit? I’ve checked out the firm he works at and it is a legit firm. Why won’t he send me documents? He did cancel the judgment on me, but I called a local law office and asked them to check if I had any judgments on me and I was told NO and that there were never any judgments on me ever!

My question is, is it legal for a lawyer to deposit money that is made out to the creditor even though the creditor has dismissed and canceled my account. They don’t own it any longer. Why won’t the lawyer send me documents stating our agreement?

Thank you

Lisa

Answer:

Dear Lisa,

It certainly sounds as if you have an interesting situation. There are a number of issues going on here.

All I can do is give you my best advice on this and you can decide what you want to do.

If the law firm was acting as the agent of the creditor then I can see how they might have the authority to accept payments made on accounts they are servicing and remitting payments to the creditor.

You would have to check with the creditor to confirm if they, in fact, receiving payments from the attorney and crediting your account accordingly. That would be a smart thing to do and the only way to tell.

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It is unclear if there was a judgment initially. In order to get a judgment, the creditor would have to first sue you. You made no mention of being sued. So I wonder if you were given the impression a judgment would be pursued if you did not come to some agreement.

Filing bankruptcy and then discharging it is typically a mistake. The bankruptcy will still impact your credit and remain in your credit report. What you have now are the downsides of bankruptcy and none of the legal protections or debt forgiveness. I wish we could turn back the clock on that decision.

Ultimately what you are looking for is a legal opinion about the actions of the law firm and attorney as the collector for the creditor.

The best route to take in that situation is for you to seek the legal opinion of an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the state you live in. That is the only person who can give you a legal opinion on a specific situation.

One place to look for such an attorney is here.

One issue you did not mention here is if the amount being collected is a valid debt. The minute you agreed to start making payments you rest the statute of limitations on that old debt. If there was any question about the validity of the debt, that would have been to question the debt to see if you even owed it.

Talk to an attorney who is licensed in your state and let’s get to the bottom of this mess.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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