I share a lot of my life on this blog, and I’m always a little cautious about just how far I should go. I know that people that know me personally read my blog, so I try to be not too offensive and leave some of the most personal details of my life out, but I realized that doing this has caused a roadblock for the content of this blog.
Something happened about 3 weeks ago that has totally consumed my life, and I’ve been trying hard to not write about it, but by doing so, I haven’t been able to write with my usual passion and fervor, and you’ve noticed. For that, I apologize. So, it’s time to come clean. What’s the road block in my life? I’ve been sued for some debt I owe.
Some of you are not sitting there thinking, well that’s not bad. You might have been there and done that, but I’ve never been sued in my life. I pride myself on struggling through the whole debt thing and paying things down, but this one blindsided me.
If you’ve followed my blog from the beginning, then you know that I got into this mess from a business that failed. More than half of my debt is from that business, but this one came out of left field. You see, I apparently still owed the state some money in conjunction with the close of the business and they must have been sending notifications to the old business address and not to me. Long story short, they got a default judgment against me (meaning that I didn’t show up to court) for taxes to the tune of $10K. Now, I would have shown up, had I known about it, but I didn’t! The only reason why I even know about this judgment is because I had a free trial membership to a credit monitoring service and this popped up on my credit so they notified me. Now, here’s the thing. I didn’t even owe $10K originally. I probably owed closer to $4K-$5K.
I can’t tell you how negatively this affected me. The day that I found out, I attempted to go to sleep only to wake up about 2 hours after going to bed with this debt weighing me down into the mattress. I never did go bad to sleep, but instead laid there all night thinking of how in the hell I was going to get $10K to pay these people off before they garnished my wages or put a lien on my property and come get my car or whatever.
I can honestly say that everyone had a limit to how much stress they can take, and that day, I hit the wall going 100 miles per hour. Very irrational thoughts as to how to make the money kept swirling in my brain and I know that had I been in the right frame of mind, I would never have had those thoughts. I finally, mentally and physically just broke down sobbing to a very trusted coworker. She understood the mental state that I was in based on her own financial troubles.
At some point I realized that I needed to act. I called up a bunch of attorneys to see if I could get it overturned since I was never notified. The fees that they would charge would have amounted to about $3,000 – money which I don’t have. I finally spoke to an attorney over the phone that sensed that I was in a panic. He said that I could pretty much handle this on my own by negotiating with the state. I could call them and try to have then accept some the original amount due, but he doubted that they would do that since my state needs whatever money they can get. He also suggested that I not keep any money in my bank accounts and to open new ones, probably under some else’s name (gotta love lawyers) until I could either set up some payment plan or resolve everything with the state. Finally, with regard to the hit my credit had taken, he said that having a tax lien wasn’t as bad as having a lien from a creditor like a credit card company, and that since I had never had a history of these issues anyone viewing my credit would take it into consideration. His fee would have been $2,500 but he said that he did not recommend an attorney when I could use that money towards the debt. An honest lawyer!
So, where am I now? Bank accounts empty. Still trying to negotiate with the state and waiting for some paperwork. Thinking about this every single day is blocking my creativity. What did happen though, was that I tried to compartmentalize this part of my life into a very small box that will not be the center of my universe. I’ve also realized that I’m going to have setbacks, but I won’t let this break me. I’m a New Yorker.