Is there a statute of limitations on collecting money owed on a timeshare that was awarded to one spouse in a divorce judgment (dissolution of marriage), but where the collection agency (and attorney) are seeking money from the other spouse because the first spouse cannot be located? My name was inadvertantly not taken off the deed/contract and the attorney claims I owe the money. It has been over eleven years that the divorce was final. Can they legally collect after so much time has elapsed? I haven't used the timeshare since the divorce. My ex has skipped the country and can't be found.
SOL for lawsuits to collect a debt in CA is FOUR YEARS for both open-ended (credit cards) and WRITTEN contracts - the timeshare. They can make all the noises they want, the debt is legally unenforceable and if they DO try to sue you, you have an absolute defense in the expired SOL to have it thrown out.
Send the collection agency a cease and desist letter. You tell them never to contact you again about the debt as it is time-barred. Send it certified, RRR and keep copies of everything.
Received your reply. In May, 2003, I received a letter from the collection agency making a demand for $12,552.00 for the timeshare. I wrote them back, sending a copy of the divorce judgment, telling them I was not responsible, and not to contact me again. On May 18, 2004, I received, in person, from a marshall, a Summons for a Complaint for Breach of Contract. I am being sued for $4,309.00, plus 12% interest, attorney fees, costs of suit, etc. for the years 2000 through 2003. Is this their way of getting out of the four year SOL law as they are not demanding money starting back in 1992? We purchased the interest in Nov. 1991. I called the plaintiff's attorney over a week ago and received a time extension to July 15th, 2004. He represents the collection agency I heard from in May 03.
We (I remarried two years ago) moved from southern Calif. to northern Calif. a year ago. We cannot afford to travel eleven hours to appear in court down in Tulare County. Plus, I do not have any records whatsoever of the contract. Do you have access to the actual SOL law? Is there a way for me to get hold of it? Would me quoting that to the attorney get me off the hook? We cannot afford this lawsuit and I told Mr. Fine (the attorney) that all we could come up with would be $1000.00 cash to settle out of court just to get rid of this problem. He is waiting for a letter from me explaining why we can only afford $1000.00 plus any documentation I deem necessary to prove my assertion, so he can forward it to the R-Ranch in the Sequoias Owners' Association. He said he didn't know if they would accept it or not but he would fax them my letter, etc. I don't want to send him that letter. I want to send him a copy of the SOL law and pray that that will be enough. Thank you for your first response and I am looking forward to hearing from you again.
They can't 'get around' the SOL. When did the payments for this timeshare go delinquent ? THAT is when the SOL clock started and if its been ticking like that for 4 years or more, then the SOL has expired. If the payments stopped early in 2000 or before that, then the SOL has expired. If they got the lawsuit filed even a DAY before that SOL ran out, then they could win.
You really need to find out EXACTLY when the EX stopped paying on the timeshare. If it WAS 11 years ago, then you have a great defense against this lawsuit. However, what you're going to HAVE to do something about this court date. Did you have to file an Answer to this lawsuit with the court ? The thing is, if you don't use the affirmative defense of the expired SOL, the you will LOSE your right to use it.
Go to this page:
At the bottom of that page is a contact for Pacific Law Center, its an email to a lawyer in CA that may be able to help you out. She's a very nice person and very knowlegable about consumer law. If you email her, put in your subject line some reference to WhyChat and CardReport, she deletes any mail that may look like spam and that subject line may keep her from deleting yours. You could also mention that I directed you to her, my ID on Cardreport is the same as it is here, she knows who I am.
Creditors don't give a rat's patoot what your divorce decree says if your name was on the contract, you can be held liable for the debt no matter what a divorce court order says. Creditors are not bound by divorce decrees.
Ladynred, I wrote out a letter to Pacific Law Center like you sugested and when I hit the send button, it came up "no matches found" on the email address 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. So I sent it to freeadvice.com addressed to you, hoping that you will have her correct e-mail address and can send it on to her. Did you receive it?
I am calling the attorney tomorrow and asking him to send me a copy of our contract from 1991 and also a copy of the last payment made to R-Ranch in the Sequoias and the date and by whom it was paid by. I don't believe payments have been made after 1996 (if at all after 1992).
We did not file an answer to the lawsuit with the court as that would mean we would have to show up for trial in court (according to a clerk of the court in Tulare County that I talked to on the phone). We called Mr. Fine, the attorney, instead and asked for an extension of time and he has given us one to July 15, 2004.
When I went into WhyChatsCredit/page6.html there was the Calif. penal code section 518-527 which I printed out.
Would any of those sections pertain to my case? It is so hard to understand the legal jargon, I wish they would write so the normal everyday person could understand it!
How can I get back to this dialogue we are having without
hitting "previous thread" 10 times or more?
No, none of the penal code applies here - except trying to get money from you on a long time-barred debt *could* be considered extorsion, which is why WhyChat put that in there.
You asked for the right things, I only hope he will be able to provide it before 7/15, otherwise he is going to go to court, you won't be there, and you'll wind up with a default judgment - on a debt that's most likely time-barred. That's why you really need to talk to the lawyer I gave you the email for, if you don't appear, you could be screwed. You could always ask for an appearance by phone considering its an 11 hour drive, or you could ask for a change of venue to a court in your area.
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