Absconding Debtor

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps

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One who absconds from creditors to avoid payment of debts. A debtor who has intentionally concealed himself or herself from creditors, or withdrawn from the reach of their suits, with intent to frustrate their just demands. Such act was formerly an act of bankruptcy.

A person who moves out of the state may be an absconding debtor if it is that person's intention to avoid paying money that he or she owes.

It is difficult or impossible for a creditor to serve an absconding debtor with a summons in order to start a lawsuit and collect his or her money. Where a court is convinced that a debtor has absconded, it may permit the creditor to begin the lawsuit in some way other than PERSONAL SERVICE of a summons.

For example, a franchisee bought a doughnut franchise and opened up a small shop. He also bought a house for his family. Unfortunately, the business failed after a year, and he turned all of the equipment and materials back to the franchisor. The franchisor claimed that additional money was owed to him and decided to sue the former franchisee. A process server was sent to take a summons to the apartment that was listed as the address in the original application for the franchise. The landlord there told the process server that the former franchisee had moved and left no forwarding

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address. The franchisor applied to the court for permission to serve him as an absconding debtor. The court allowed the franchisor to publish notice of the lawsuit on three occasions in...

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