If you have received a demand or collection letter, that often is a signal that legal action will follow, unless steps are taken to resolve the situation. You may have valid defenses to such a demand.
By meeting with an attorney early in the process, you may be able to negotiate a resolution and avoid the additional considerable time and cost of having to defend against a lawsuit.
If you have received a summons and complaint, typically you will have a period of time to file an answer to such a complaint. Depending on the court, you may or may not get a hearing unless you timely file an answer or other pleading in response to the complaint.
A good attorney can review and provide you options and a strategy for you to assess your cost and risk of proceeding as well as the prospects of settlement.
I handle debtor-creditor matters in pre-suit negotiations as well as post-suit after proceedings have been filed in state or federal court, including foreclosure defense, collection (both commercial and small claims) and defense of adversary proceedings in bankruptcy court.