Step 4 Dealing with your non-priority debts

Reducing payments on court orders

Remember:

what about the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)?

If you have money left over after your essential outgoings, you may be able to apply for a DAS debt-payment programme. This will also stop diligence.

The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

  • You can apply to reduce the payments you have been ordered to make if your circumstances change, or if you can’t afford the payments. You might need help from a money advice centre, local citizens advice bureau, law centre or legal aid solicitor. Contact us for advice.
  • If a creditor has already taken you to court, you can still apply to the court for a time to pay order if you have not previously broken an arrangement set up by the court. However, you need to wait until the creditor moves on to the next stages of recovering the debt, called ‘diligence’. If you are given a time to pay order, this will stop most types of diligence and, as long as you keep up the payments, you should not be asked to pay more of the debt.
 

If my creditors take court action, what are the advantages?

 
  • The court is more likely to let you pay an amount that you can afford. But it can only do this if you explain your income, outgoings and other debts on the reply form to the summons.
  • Often you won’t have to go to the court for a hearing. Much of the procedure is done through the post.
 

If my creditors take court action, what are the disadvantages?

 
  • Court costs and interest can be added on to your debt, although creditors cannot add on what they want. The amount of the court costs will depend on the amount of money you owe.
  • Details of sheriff court decrees are recorded by Trust Online and are available to credit reference agencies. This may make it difficult for you to get credit in the future.

Can I get credit again?

  • If you pay off your decree within one month, you can ask to have the entry removed from the register.
  • If you do not pay the monthly amount which the court orders, or if the court orders you to pay the whole amount straightaway (called an ‘open decree’), the creditor may take further action against you. So make sure you pay your monthly payments, or apply for them to be reduced, if you cannot afford the first amount the court fixed.
 

How to get help with court fees

 

If you need to apply to the court, there may be a fee to pay. Check the Scottish Courts website for more information about court fees in Scotland.