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(This page is outdated - It remains so that any bookmarks will not come up blank. For the resources listed here, however, use the resource pages associated with question you have - namely debt defense, credit repair, or debt negotiation. You will find those materials easier to use)

Guide to YourLegalLegUp.com Articles

Here is a list of articles arranged by category and topic. This list will be updated often, so please check back if you do not see an article that answers one of your questions. Also, please note that many of the articles could be included under different categories, so if you don't see what you're looking for under one category, keep looking, or try a "site search" by topic to look for specific issues. There is, of course, a lot of overlap between Credit and Debt law.


Links to Topic Listings:

Credit & Credit Reporting

Debt & Collection Law

●  Amending Pleadings
●  Bankruptcy  
●  Collection Issues  
●  Counterclaims  
●  Debt Troubles  
●  Defending Yourself  
●  Discovery  
●  Evidence  
●  Motions
●  Settlement
●  Suing Debt Collectors  
●  Wider Political Perspectives

 

Credit and Credit Reporting

Repairing Your Credit after Litigation

You probably know that I am a big believer in filing a counterclaim. As I mention in the featured question section this month, having a counterclaim gives you some very important control over the lawsuit itself and whether you get sued or harassed again by the same, or a different debt collector.

There is also another reason relating to your life after litigation: Repairing your credit after the lawsuit.

Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

You've heard about having rights to a fair credit report. Here, in plain English, is a list and explanation of your most important rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Download a copy of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.


Debt and Collection Law

Amending Pleadings

Filing Motions to Amend

An Answer to a Petition doesn't have to be perfect, but it must be timely. What do you do if you made some mistakes in what you filed? This article tells you how and why to amend your petition and provides a (simple) sample motion.

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Bankruptcy as a Solution to Debt Troubles

If you have debt troubles, can bankruptcy help? It seems like it should be able to, but in fact there are big limitations. This video discusses some of the pros and cons of bankruptcy.

Is Bankruptcy an Option for You?

When people are being sued for debts, they often panic and look for the quickest, easiest, or least scary way out. And bankruptcy often occurs to them as the solution. I believe there are often much more effective ways to handle old debt, especially credit card or merchant account debt that has been sold to a debt collector, than bankruptcy. Panic is not necessary, and bankruptcy—at least at first--is seldom the best solution in a real-world sense. Here's why.

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Can they Garnish Your Social Security

If you are an elderly or disabled  American—or are receiving Social Security Payments for any other  reason—you may fear that debt collectors could seize or garnish  your income. The debt collectors may have suggested they could, or would do so if you do not pay them. Can they do it?

Secret Danger of Garnishment to Social Security Recipients and Others

If you have a judgment against you - or are in danger of getting one, you are not the only one at risk of garnishment. Anyone whose assets have your name associated with them is also at risk. Especially the elderly - you may need legal advice.

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About the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the centerpiece of legal protections for debtors against debt collectors. The law was passed in its essential form in 1977, and its goal was to protect debtors against the abuses of debt collectors. It has been a pretty good law, and you should know it.

Importance of Filing Counterclaims

There's a great deal to say about counterclaims in debt law cases, and I suggest you look closely at the text of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act itself as you consider what, if any, counterclaims you will bring. In this article, though, I simply want to tell you why counterclaims are so important.

"In the Shoes" of the Original Creditor and Other Essential Lies of Debt Collectors

A lot of times debt collectors claim in their petitions that they lent you the money. Then they claim they stand "in the shoes" of the original creditor. This is a type of deception the FDCPA was meant to outlaw. There are opportunities for the pro se defendant.

Debt Collector States its Attorney's Fee in Suit – Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

If a debt collector states a specific amount as a reasonable attorney's fee as provided by contract and asks for it in the lawsuit, it probably violates several parts of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Sending I.D. Theft Affidavits as Part of Discovery Violates the FDCPA, Pt. 1

Some debt collectors got a bright idea - why not make people think they have to prove the debt isn't theirs, rather than the debt collector having to prove the defendants owe the money? Or better yet, why not scare them into giving up? The latest trick they use for this is sending a "I.D. Theft Affidavit" which you're supposed to send to the police. I think this violates the FDCPA.

Sending I.D. Theft Affidavits as Part of Discovery Violates the FDCPA, Pt. 2

Some debt collectors got a bright idea - why not make people think they have to prove the debt isn't theirs, rather than the debt collector having to prove the defendants owe the money? Or better yet, why not scare them into giving up? The latest trick they use for this is sending a "I.D. Theft Affidavit" which you're supposed to send to the police. I think this violates the FDCPA.

Three Things the FDCPA Makes Illegal

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a source of many protections against "unfair" debt collection practices. It enumerates many of these practices but leaves room for more general use of the law, too. This article discusses three specific violations as examples of what the law can do.

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Cease-Communication Letters - Make Them Stop Bugging You

If the debt collectors are bugging you, you can make them stop writing or calling by writing them a letter. This article discusses how and why to do that.

Debt Consolidation -Two Hidden “Legal” Risks

Debt consolidation is often a very bad idea, although it sometimes has its advantages. This article discusses two of the most important reasons consolidating your debt is very risky.

Debt Prison - Getting the State to Do Debt Collectors' Dirty Work

There's no such thing as "debt prison," any more - but debt collectors - with the connivance of judges in certain states - are bringing lawsuits and creating settlements that cause people who owe money and aren't careful to go to jail.

Is Defending Yourself from Debt Collectors Hard?

When you're being sued by a debt collector, it can seem like it's hard to defend yourself, but the difficulties are mostly in how you look at it. This is part of a series on defending yourself if sued.

Requiring Verification - A Consumer's Secret Weapon against Debt Collectors

In my opinion, requiring the debt collectors to verify or validate a debt when they first contact you about it, is an underused weapon. It doesn't cost anything and surprisingly often causes the debt collector to leave you alone.

Reviving Old Debt through Trickery - New Credit Cards and Old Balances

A lot of people are getting credit card offers from a surprising place - the company they owed money to but did not pay. The only problem, though, is that they have to agree to pay what they used to owe. If you get that sort of offer, should you take it?

Scam Alert - 100 Days Till Debt Slavery

This video warns about a particular on-line payday loan conduit - a site that suckers people into getting payday loans. It goes through the ways this company straddles some legal lines as it tries to make sure you don't think about their truly ruinous interest rates.

Should You Talk to the Debt Collectors

Should you talk to the debt collectors when they call? That depends on whether you have a good reason to do so. This article discusses some of those possible reasons but reminds you that silence is often golden.

Statutes of Limitations, a Table

A table of statutes of limitations by state

What to Do If You Have Debt Troubles, Pt. 1

This is the first of a series of videos and articles that will give you guidance in you are facing debt troubles. This starts putting the problems in context - sign up for the series to get the rest.

What to Do If You Have Debt Troubles, Pt. 2

This is the second of a series of videos and articles that will give you guidance in you are facing debt troubles. This starts putting the problems in context - sign up for the series to get the rest.

Wishful Thinking - The Dreaded Enemy of People in Debt

It would be so nice if you could make the debt go away by arguing, once and for all, that only gold is money, that Federal Reserve Notes have no value so it doesn't matter that you borrowed them, or that there was no contract for the credit card you used. These arguments usually don't work but lead, instead, to disaster. Here's why and what to do instead.

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Another Dirty Trick by the Debt Collectors to Get You to Default

If you're being sued by a debt collector and the petition includes the language "this is a communication from a debt collector" or "this is an attempt to collect a debt," you should consider bringing a counterclaim under the FDCPA. This article talks about why - and what the advantages of doing that could be.

Arguing Motions in Court

What to expect and how to prepare for arguments in court. This article tells you how motions work when and how to argue, what to expect and things you need to know before you walk into court.

Blaming Banks for the Problems They Caused

We all know that the banks have caused most of the problems in our economy - is there some way you can use that to win in court against a debt collector or a specific bank? Not likely...

Business Debts and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

If you're being sued on a debt that is clearly business-related (and not many of them are) or that you have taken income tax deductions as business expenses, the FDCPA will normally not apply to your case. But that doesn't mean you don't have options, or that the YLLU materials won't be helpful to you.

Debt Law is the Law of the Jungle!

If you're being sued for debt (or sued for anything), you're in the jungle.Don't expect nice. Don't expect anyone to look out for you. Don't expect fair. Do what you can to win the suit.

Demanding a Bill of Particulars - Your Secret Weapon in Debt Litigation, Part 2

Even more than discovery or any right provided by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you have a secret weapon if you live in one of a few jurisdictions, including California. You can demand a bill of particulars. This article will tell you all about it.

Entry of Appearance and Other Essential "Red Tape" in Debt Defense

If you're defending yourself pro se from a debt collection suit, there are some basics that will be helpful to know - formalities that every party has to do in the case. Miss them and you risk losing on a technicality.

Estimating Risk and Value in Debt Collection Cases

If you're being sued by a debt collector, what they consider the risks in pursuing you and what your case is worth to the debt collectors are crucial facts. Knowing these facts will start to make you see how smart it is to defend yourself.

Estoppel, Issue, and Claim Preclusion

If you are being sued by a debt collector, do you have to file a counterclaim? what happens if you do not? These questions are determined by the doctrines of issue and claim preclusion - also known as "collateral estoppel" and "res judicata." You need to understand these concepts if you are considering suing the debt collector other than by counterclaim.

Foreclosure Fraud - Are They Ripping You Off?

As I have argued a number of times, banks seeking foreclosure have been hampered by the “alphabet derivatives” known as “MBS's” (mortgage backed securities). Often, banks seeking to foreclose on allegedly defaulted mortgages do not own the title to the property in dispute and cannot find it, and therefore cannot (legitimately) pursue their foreclosure actions. It seems that some lenders may have found a convenient way past this objection: systematic fraud.   

Going "Pro Se" in Debt Litigation

Some advantages and disadvantages of representing yourself when you're sued for debt. This short article explains how the high cost of lawyers can work to your advantage, but also some limitations to self-representation.

How Your Ability to Pay Affects Your Defense When You're Sued for Debt

Sometimes people tell me they intend to explain to the judge (or the other side) that they cannot pay any judgment that might be entered in the case - they think that will help them win the case or affect the outcome in some way. Usually it does not, and it can have a very negative "boomerang" effect.

Is Defending Yourself Hard When You're Sued for Debt?

If you're being sued by a debt collector and can't or don't want to hire a lawyer, you might want to defend yourself "pro se." But is it hard to do that? Actually - no. The hardest thing may be to get used to standing up for yourself against the debt collectors. 

Local Rules and Discovery Limits

What the Local Rules are, where to find them, and how the affect your case. You need to know about the local rules for your jurisdiction because they control how much discovery you can give the other side and how it should look. Get it wrong and you give them a free objection which can cost you the initiative in the case and let them push you around or exploit you. You need to know the local rules for your court. Here's how to find them.

Mediation when you're Pro Se-understanding and preparing for it

A lot of pro se litigants end up in mediation, which is a sort of "assisted" negotiation. In order to protect your rights and keep from giving anything away, you need to prepare in a special way. This article will help you do that.

Opportunity Costs in Debt Law

Opportunity cost - the cost of doing one thing rather than something else - is a crucial factor for the pro se defendant to understand. Making your case difficult and unprofitable makes it less attractive for the debt collector to come after you. This article shows you how all this works.

Putting It All Together: Answer and Counterclaim

This is part of a series of articles and videos on what to do if you get sued. It's designed to help you get over the shock of being sued and begin to defend yourself.

Robo-Signing, Automated Filing, and the Debt Law

Debt collectors frequently file lawsuits based on little more than a “computer tape” containing some very basic information about the alleged debtor and debt. The computer program then does everything but walk the case to court and file it. This means that if you are being sued, there's a good chance you will win if you defend yourself. 

Settling with the Debt Collector

Should you settle with the debt collector? That depends on the timing and your ultimate decision whether to go for victory or try to accomplish other goals.

Sometimes a Rain Dance is Just a Dance - and it Rains - Winning Debt Lawsuits (Pt. 1)

Sometimes people do things in defending themselves and the debt collectors walk away from the suit. Does that make what they did a solution that might work for you? Or were they just lucky. These articles and videos discuss luck and how you can make your own luck in debt defense.

Sometimes a Rain Dance is Just a Dance - and it Rains - Winning Debt Lawsuits (Pt. 2)

Sometimes people do things in defending themselves and the debt collectors walk away from the suit. Does that make what they did a solution that might work for you? Or were they just lucky. These articles and videos discuss luck and how you can make your own luck in debt defense.

Time! Time!! It's All about Time, pt. 1

Everything in litigation is on a time-clock, and time is always important. This article discusses the way time can help or harm you, and the relationship between time, organization, and discipline.

Time! Time!! It's All about Time, pt. 2

Everything in litigation is on a time-clock, and time is always important. This article discusses the way time can help or harm you, and the relationship between time, organization, and discipline.

Unclean Hands and the Debt Law - Help from an Ancient Doctrine

The doctrine of unclean hands is an ancient doctrine in the law probably best summarized by the idea that one should not be allowed to profit by his own illegal acts. There are many areas of the debt law where this might apply.

What Is My Case Worth to the Debt Collector?

Knowing what your case is worth to the debt  collectors is very important in knowing how to proceed and understanding why your chance to win is so great. There are two kinds of risk involved for debt collectors, and they consider them in deciding whether the case is worth pursuing you. You need to know what these factors are so you can increase the collector's perception of risk.

What to Expect on the First Day of Court

What's going to happen on the first day of court? - the one mentioned on your summons. Is anything important going to happen? Are you going to have to get up in front of the judge and argue anything? This article tells you what to expect and how to prepare for that first day so that you come out of it with an advantage.

Why You Can Beat the Debt Collector

Why do you have such a good chance of making the debt collector going away if you fight back? What are your natural advantages and their biggest weaknesses? Here's what you need to know when deciding whether to fight back.

Worried about "Frivolous" defenses of claims?

Lawyers for the debt collectors love to threaten people who are defending themselves with extra penalties for raising "frivolous" claims or defenses. Do you need to worry about that? This article discusses the threats and your options.

You Can Beat the Debt Collector

Just because you're the "little guy" in this litigation doesn't mean you have to give up. In fact, there are really good reasons you have an excellent chance and should fight back against the debt collectors. This article discusses the ins and outs of fighting back.

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Conducting Discovery, Pt. 1

Most debt cases are won or lost in the "discovery phase," the part where you're asking them questions and they're asking you questions. This article begins a detailed explanation of what discovery is and how you can use interrogatories, requests for production and admissions, and other discovery methods to your advantage.

Conducting Discovery, Pt. 2

Most debt law cases are won or lost in the discovery phase. This article continues a description and analysis of interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admissions and how they can give you an advantage in the case.

Conducting Discovery, Pt. 3

The third part in this series of articles on discovery. Most debt law cases are won or lost in the discovery phase. This article continues a description and analysis of interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admissions and how they can give you an advantage in the case.

Failing to Respond to Requests for Admissions on Time

What happens if you fail to respond to requests for admissions on time? They are "deemed admitted," meaning taken as true - this is an automatic process, and the debt collectors often follow up with an immediate motion for summary judgment or they can use them in the trial itself. What do you do?

Specific Methods of Discovery: Interrogatories

This is part of a series of articles and videos that take you from that first shocking knowledge that you're being sued all the way through your first day in court - and help you prepare to win the case ultimately. This one discusses how to create interrogatories. Sign up for the series.

Specific Methods of Discovery: Requests for Documents

This is part of a series of articles and videos that take you from that first shocking knowledge that you're being sued all the way through your first day in court - and help you prepare to win the case ultimately. This one discusses how to make requests for documents. Sign up for the series.

Specific Methods of Discovery: Requests for Admissions

This is part of a series of articles and videos that take you from that first shocking knowledge that you're being sued all the way through your first day in court - and help you prepare to win the case ultimately. This one discusses how to make requests for admissions, when to make them, and when not to make them. Sign up for the series.

Three Discovery Questions

When does discovery begin? How do interrogatories, requests for documents and requests for admissions relate to one another? and how is the court involved in the discovery process? 

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The Rule Against Hearsay - Your Best Weapon Against the Debt Collectors

Whenever you watch any television show based on courtroom drama, you're likely to hear one of the lawyers jump up and shout “Objection! Hearsay!” and then launch into an argument with devastating results. So what is hearsay? And how does it work? Can you object to it? And do the objections always work? Find out here.

The Business Records Exception to the Rule against Hearsay

The main legal battle in debt collection is usually fought over whether the debt collector has the records it needs to prove its right to collect from you. It usually does not. It will try to sneak the evidence in using something called "the business records exception" to the rule against hearsay. If you're ready, you should be able to win this fight.

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      Motions to Dismiss

Motions to Dismiss in Debt Law Cases,  Part 1

This is an article with video on how and when to file a motion to dismiss - often it's important to file before you even Answer the petition. This article explains why that can be so important.

Surviving A Motion to Dismiss

A Motion to Dismiss is supposed to check the "sufficiency" of the pleadings. That means, the other side is arguing that the facts that you allege in your counterclaim don't amount to a violation of the law. How do you defend against them? Here's how.

     Summary Judgment

Failing to Respond to Requests for Admissions on Time

What happens if you fail to respond to requests for admissions on time? They are "deemed admitted," meaning taken as true - this is an automatic process, and the debt collectors often follow up with an immediate motion for summary judgment or they can use them in the trial itself. What do you do?

Motion for Summary Judgment

What are motions for summary judgment? They present one of the biggest dangers to consumers in debt collection cases, and they take time and care to defend against - or to bring. This article discusses what motions for summary judgments are and how to defend against them.

Responding to Motion for Summary Judgment

Motions for Summary Judgment are one of the biggest dangers debt defendants face. This article discusses what they are and how to defend against them. From a slightly different viewpoint.

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Should You Settle

There are different kinds of settlement. Some amount to losing, while others amount to winning. What can you get if you settle? and why would you do it? What is the best time to settle if you're going to do it? This article addresses all those questions and many more.

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Eight Steps to Suing the Debt Collector

It's never exactly easy to sue anybody when you're not used to the court system, but this article takes some of the mystery out of the process and tells you what and how to do it. And it isn't all that hard.

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Occupy Wall Street

My view on Occupy Wall Street. Why I think they both have a point and why they have a lot to learn. I offer my suggestions of what they might do.

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