Most credit card companies follow a similar process for debt collection. For the first six months a bill has gone unpaid, their in-house collection division will try to collect on the debt. If after six months they haven’t gotten any results, they will typically farm it out, either selling the debt or hiring a collection agency to collect it on their behalf. If they’ve been unable to collect the debt after another six months or perhaps a year, the credit card company will typically refer the matter to a collections attorney. The attorney will send you letters to attempt to collect the debt, and may eventually file a lawsuit against you if you’ve made no attempt to repay the debt.

Not every debt that goes unpaid ends up in a lawsuit, however, and the length of time it takes one creditor to file suit may be shorter or longer than another creditor. For this reason, it is important to be working with an experienced attorney who can help you prioritize your debts.