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Credit is a wonderful thing, or at least, it can be. However, dozens of things threaten how and if we can pay back our credit card debt. In the event you fall behind on your credit card payments, it is important to know that your delinquent debt will not just disappear. Your delinquent debt follows a timeline, from the point you fall behind to the point you become current. Knowing your rights and staying informed every step of the way may help you better understand and repay your debt.

Typically, the first 30 days of delinquency is relatively forgivable by lenders. Most of the time individuals that fall only 30 days behind can remedy the situation with a phone call. In the event that your delinquency continues, your balance may fall into collection status. What was once easily fixed with a phone call has now become a major issue. Individuals with accounts in collection status may receive harassing phone calls, letters or even emails that threaten legal action.

After several months of delinquency, your creditor will likely close the account associated with the balance. Collection efforts will likely continue, and become even more aggressive. When delinquent debt goes beyond this point, creditors will likely charge off the amount due. This could mean a third-party collection company may be responsible for collecting the debt, and your credit score will reflect the delinquency.

At this point, you may be summoned to appear in court regarding the debt. Your creditors may file a judgment against you to garnish your wages or seize your property. However, as scary as that sounds, there are options for individuals every step of the way. Whether you are 30 days behind or six months behind and facing wage garnishment, working with an attorney could help put a stop to harassing collection efforts and get you back on track. Just as creditors have a right to collect a delinquent account, you have a right to defend yourself against creditor harassment and collection efforts.