How long will it take my credit card to sue me (file a lawsuit) after I stop paying and default?

Usually at least 6 months.

Theoretically, the day you fall behind on a payment, they can file a lawsuit against you for breaching the contract, or cardmember agreement.  However, this is a tiny breach of contract, not material, and they never do.

What generally happens is this:

1.  the week after you miss your first payment —– your phone starts ringing

2.  three months after you’ve stopped paying — phone still ringing and you get a letter that the account has been turned over to collections

3.  six months after you’ve stopped paying — you get contacted and/or sued by a collection law firm.

4.  seven months after you’ve stopped paying — if you haven’t responded to the suit with an answer, they’ll have a judgment.

What this means is that you generally can expect a lot of phone calls and nasty letters for the first six months or so, but that’s it.  Your credit will take a hit for those late payments, but they cannot garnish you yet.

Even when they sue you, you have another month until they get a judgment.

This doesn’t mean that they can’t sue you more quickly.  This also doesn’t mean that they may decide to drag this thing out for 8 or 9 months before they file a lawsuit.  Simply put, you have some time to prepare your bankruptcy petition after you stop paying on that credit card.

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