Judgments are what a creditor, or someone trying to collect funds from you, will receive after filing and prevailing in a lawsuit. Money judgments award a specific sum of money to the creditor or collector. If a judgment is entered against you, it typically becomes part of the public record. A judgment has the potential to affect your credit score, ability to receive a car loan, the ability to receive a home loan and can stay on your credit report for many years. Further, the sheriff may execute the judgment garnishing your wages, freezing your bank account, and seizing your assets. Here are three tips on what to do if a judgment is entered against you.
Negotiate. You can negotiate with the creditor to pay the judgment in a reduced lump sum or as part of a payment plan. We can help you evaluate your current financial situation, the merits of your legal defense, and negotiate with the creditor. Once we come to an agreement with your creditor, we will make sure to protect you with a strong written settlement agreement.
File a motion to vacate the judgment. If you were not served or did not receive notice, and you have a meritorious defense to the judgment, you may be able to vacate the judgment and remove it from public record. To do this we will file an application with the court to vacate the default judgment.
File for bankruptcy. A chapter 7 bankruptcy will vacate your judgment(s). However, it is important to understand the risks of filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Declaring bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years, meaning that getting a mortgage, credit card, or even renting an apartment may become very difficult. In some cases, filing for bankruptcy may have consequences that are worse than the judgment itself.