Attachment of Earnings

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I have just received by post a notice of application for attachment of earnings order for 26,334.45, and a Judgement for Claimant in default for 63,113.11. The latter was addressed to a house I left in 1991, which I shared with my ex-partner, yet sent to my current address - both have the same date.

I checked your site for advice, and called the court to apply for the judgement to be set aside, as I have never received a summons, nor the claim form to which I have apparently not replied. This is because both were sent to my former address.

I have no idea what this debt is for - I must presume the house was repossessed at some point and this is a shortfall claim. The 63k is around the amount of the original mortgage as I recall, which they seem to be claiming in addition to the 26k.

The court is sending me the original summons and papers and a form to set the judgement aside, but tell me that I will have to attend court give reasons for the jugdement to be set aside.

I do not know how they have got my current address, but if they have that, why did they send the summons and the claim form to the old address, particularly if the house has already been repossessed - it would be unlikely that I still lived there if they have sold it and are chasing for a shortfall...

When I called the court however, they told me that they believed that my ex-partner was replying from the address, so it could not have been repossessed. If this is so, how can a debt of 26k be outstanding on the property - surely a mortgage company wouldn't let you get that much into arrears before repossessing?

It's all very confusing until I receive the papers and hopefully an explanation, but from reading your site, I feel that a full explanation from the mortgage company (Citibank) or their solicitors (Chivers Easton Brown) is highly unlikely.

Once I apply for the judgement to be set aside, on the grounds of the summons and paperwork going to an old address, and presuming this is accepted by the court, what action should I be taking next??

Thank you for your help.

-- Julie Dawes (kgc096@hotmail.com), June 22, 2001

Answers

Your ex-partner got his post forwarded to the Post Office for pick-up - that's how he replied from the old address. The house was clearly repossessed from what you say in your post. Unfortunately this leaves you in a real pickle and if you can afford it, I would make sure you have legal representation at the Court hearing. Because he responded to their papers, as I understand it, the summons is considered served on both of you, where there is a joint and several liability and they won't normally set it aside without a huge fight. You will have to show that your ex deliberately misled thema nd kept you in the dark...not easy I am afraid.

The 26k will be the shortfall between the mortgage balance and the sale price, plus all the lender's costs etc and no doubt spurious additional charges. You have an uphill battle now, because all this has happened in your absence, but you must have known that this was a possibility if you left the property (with or without your ex in it.) The Court may [read *will*] state that it was your responsibility to ensure that the financial affairs connected with the property were appropriately dealt with. In these situations you are damned if you do and damned if you don't; even if you had maintained contact with the Lender, this scenario could probably still have arisen. If you do manage to get the judgement set aside, you will be a ray of hope for a lot of people, so do post an update.

-- Too scared to say (iwasduped@yahoo.com), June 22, 2001.


Thanks for your prompt reply. If my ex had answered the summons, then would they still have sent me the judgement stating that I had not replied to the claim form. If he had responded to them, and that counted for both of us, then 'we' would have replied to the claim form, albeit in my absence. It's so confusing, but hopefully when I receive the documents from the court it may shed some more light. Thanks for your help.

-- (kgc096@hotmail.com), June 22, 2001.

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