There's so much misinformation and ignorance in this thread I'm trying to figure out where to start denying it. Sheesh.
First of all, what happens if you don't show up for court depends on the type
of hearing it is. If you are sued by a creditor in small claims
court, properly served, and don't show, a judgment is issued against you and the creditor can then proceed to garnishing your wages (if you have
If you offered up collateral
for the debt and don't pay and are called for an asset hearing and don't show, then a warrant can be issued.
Basically you've said to the creditor "I'll pay you this debt or I'll give you my _____ (computer, TV, car, whatever)" Now you haven't paid and
the creditor has the right to take possession of the collateral. Not much different than foreclosure or having a car repossessed. If you don't show
up in court (presumably to avoid turning over the promised collateral), you should face some consequences!
Secondly, if you are sued or garnished, you can show up in court and defend yourself, and it does
work. In fact, the court clerk will send you
a petition form along with the judgment or garnishment notification, and it requires you only to check a box or two, sign it, and return it to the
court. Show up with proof of your income (or lack thereof) and a reasonable budget with some documentation, and the judge will either "exempt" you
for hardship or negotiate a reasonable payment that you can make, and will often require the creditor to stop all late fees and interest.
And really, let's keep the child support out of this particular discussion. Child support is not a debt, it's an obligation. You brought the child
into this world and it is at least half your responsibility to take care of it. Refusing to pay child support is no different than neglecting or
abandoning the child, and that rightfully is and should be a crime!
Whining about how terrible your ex-spouse is doesn't cut it. For one thing, it in no way negates your responsibility to care for your child, and for
another thing it was your stupid mistake to marry them or have a child with them if they're that bad.
Also, there is a big difference between people who have "fallen on hard times" and are having trouble because they've gotten in over their head
through some misfortune or even just poor planning, and people who deliberately defraud creditors (over and over again) and laugh all the way to the
bar or bingo parlor because they know (or think) you can't do anything to them.
If your buddy borrows $100 from you and then tells you he isn't going to pay it back and never intended to pay it back, how is that really any
different than him stealing the $100 from you?
So how is walking into a loan company and signing a contract to get a loan that you never had any intention of paying back different than stealing the
money from that company? It isn't! So why shouldn't it be a crime?
I now work for one of those small loan companies, and I'm seeing both sides of the coin. The people who return my calls and keep me informed, and are
trying to pay something .. anything .. those are the people we WORK with. The people who put rude insulting messages on their voicemail, hang up on
me, refuse to return my calls, and threaten to sue me for harassment if I don't stop calling them (once a day only during normal business hours, I
might add) .. those are the people who get sued and taken to court.
It's one thing to lose your job in hard economic times, or have an accident or medical emergency and end up with bills you can't afford to pay.
It's another thing to get loans and credit that you know you won't be able to pay back, or get yourself into trouble by constantly living beyond
your means because you won't live within them.
[edit on 20-6-2010 by hhott]