Home > Managing Debt > What is a Judgment?

Comments 737 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


A judgment is an order issued by a court of law. When you borrow money, you are legally required to repay the debt. This includes opening a credit card account, getting a line of credit from your bank and obtaining financing for a big purchase.

You can also become indebted to service providers. This can include utility companies, medical professionals, cell phone service providers and auto mechanic shops. They provide a service to you and then bill you, similar to a credit extension.

So, what happens when you don’t pay a bill or repay a debt? The company, creditor or collection agency has legal ways to pursue payment. One of those options is to sue you. If they are successful, the court issues a judgment against you.

What Happens After a Judgment Is Entered Against You?

The court enters a judgment against you if your creditor wins their claim or you fail to show up to court. You should receive a notice of the judgment entry in the mail. The judgment creditor can then use that court judgment to try to collect money from you. Common methods include wage garnishment, property attachments and property liens.

State laws determine how much money and what types of property a judgment creditor can collect from you. These laws vary. So, you need to look to your own state for the rules that apply. A consumer law attorney can help you understand your state’s laws on judgment collections.

What Is a Judgment on Property?

Your property includes both physical items and money. That means judgment creditors can seek debt payment from more than your wages and bank accounts. They may also take back a car you financed or other personal property. Another option is placing a lien on some of your property, such as your home.

What Property Can Be Taken to Settle a Judgment?

Creditors must follow the law when applying a judgment to take, or seize, your property. Some things are exempt—which means they can’t touch those items or properties. Some examples include the home you live in, the furnishings inside it and your clothes. State laws identify these items and set limits based on their value.

Non-exempt property can be taken to help meet a judgment debt. Your creditor can take or leverage these possessions in the following ways:

  • Wage attachments.This is known as wage garnishment. When your employer receives the proper legal notice, they must withhold a percentage of your wages. These payments are sent to the judgment creditor until your debt is paid.
  • The Consumer Credit Protection Act caps these types of garnishments. The limit is 25% of your disposable weekly wages or the amount you earn that’s above 30 times the minimum wage. The lessor of these two amounts applies. Some states set the cap even lower.
  • Nonwage garnishment.If you’re retired, unemployed or self-employed, your bank account may be garnished instead. Here, too, there are exemptions. Veterans payments, social security and disability benefits are not eligible for nonwage garnishment. Some states add even more restrictions to the garnishment of bank funds.
  • Property liens.If you own real estate, your judgment creditor may file a legal claim against it. These liens notify lenders of the creditor’s rights to your property. That way, if you sell your real property, the debt must be paid out of the proceeds. In many states, liens are placed automatically when a judgment is entered.
  • Property levies.Judgments may also allow some of your non-exempt personal property to be taken through a levy. Law enforcement may seize things like valuable collections or jewelry to be sold at auction. Sales proceeds are applied to your debt.

What Can You Do to Avoid a Judgment?

Heading off a lawsuit is the best way to avoid a judgment. To do so, don’t ignore calls and correspondence from your creditor. Reach out to learn if they’ll accept suitable payment arrangements. Educate yourself on smart ways to pay debt collectors, and consider using the services of a debt management agency.

What if the loan company or debt collector has already started the lawsuit? Don’t skip court. Show up and fight. You may win if the statute of limitations has expired.

If you haven’t made a payment on an old debt for many years, you may have a successful legal defense. Most states set the time frame between four to six years. Collectors often still file suit because they win by default if you don’t show up. So, it’s important that you go to court with proof of your last date of payment.

If you successfully defeat or avoid a judgment, don’t stop there. Take some sensible steps to help you get out of and stay out of debt. Adopting these smart financial habits can also help prevent future judgment actions.

How Long Can the Judgment Creditor Pursue Payment?

The answer depends on where you live, since state laws differ. Some states limit collection efforts to five to seven years. Others allow creditors to pursue repayment for more than 20 years. With the right to renew a judgment over and over in many states, it may last indefinitely.

Judgment renewals may be repeated as often as desired or limited to two or three times. This is another state-specific issue. Judgments can also lapse or become dormant. The creditor must then act within a specific time frame to revive it.

What Happens When You Can’t Pay a Judgment Filed Against You?

If you own a limited amount of property, it may all be exempt from judgment collection efforts. Also, you may not work or only work part-time. With the CCPA cap, that may mean you don’t earn enough for garnishment.

This inability to pay your debt is called being judgment proof, collection proof or execution proof. While these circumstances exist, the judgment creditor has no legal way to collect on the debt. It’s not a permanent solution. The creditor may revisit collection efforts periodically for many years.

For a more permanent solution, you may want to consider filing bankruptcy. This process can discharge or eliminate most civil judgments for unpaid debt. Exceptions apply for things like child support, spousal support, student loans and some property liens. Speak with a bankruptcy lawyer to learn whether this will help your situation.

Can You Settle a Judgment?

If you can afford to pay a decent lump sum, you may be able to negotiate a settlement. The judgment creditor may be willing to settle if they fear you will otherwise file bankruptcy. Get the terms and settlement amount you agree upon in writing. Be sure the creditor agrees to file a satisfaction of judgment with the court after they receive your pay off.

Can a Judgment Be Challenged or Reversed?

Challenging and overturning a judgment is difficult, but not always impossible. This is the case if there were errors. Perhaps you weren’t notified of the suit or it was never your debt to begin with. Consult with an attorney to find out whether you have grounds to challenge the decision.

If you want to challenge a judgment, act fast. If you received prior notice of the case, you may have up to six months to reopen it. If you weren’t notified, you likely have up to two years to appeal. By reopening the case, you have the opportunity to fight the claim anew.

Do Credit Reports Still Include Judgments?

For many years, credit reports included judgment information. But that changed in 2017. The National Consumer Assistance Plan is responsible for creating more accurate credit data requirements. These changes resulted in the removal of civil debt judgments from credit reports.

Judgments are still a matter of public record. But the NCAP now requires that there be identifying information on these records for more accuracy. That data includes a social security number or date of birth along with the consumer’s name and address.

Public records cannot include this type of identifying information. It would violate privacy laws. This is the reason these judgments are no longer reported on credit files.

How Do You Find Out if You Have Any Judgments Against You?

You should receive a summons when you’re being sued. So, you can expect a default judgment will follow if you don’t show up in court. You can also expect a notification when a judgment is entered against you.

Mistakes happen, though. You may have missed the notice or moved to a new address. If that happens, you may not learn of the judgment until collection actions start.

What if You Find a Judgment on Your Credit Report?

Take action if you learn that judgments are still being reported by Equifax, Experian or Trans Union. The NCAP eliminated this practice. So if there’s a judgment on your report, this is definitely something that you should dispute. Credit repair services, like Lexington Law, can help you dispute the error and correct your report.

If you’d like a more in-depth look at your credit score, give ExtraCredit, our newest product, a try. It has five killer features that all work together as a solution to your credit troubles. Plus, you’ll be able to see all 28 of your FICO credit scores. 

Disclosure: Credit.com and CreditRepair.com are both owned by the same company, Progrexion Holdings Inc. John C Heath, Attorney at Law, PC, d/b/a Lexington Law Firm is an independent law firm that uses Progrexion as a provider of business and administrative services.

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Jeanine Skowronski

    Is this post-judgement or pre-judgment. Pre-judgment you can try working out a payment plan with the creditor/collector. Post-judgment, depending on where you live, you may be able to appeal the judgment or garnishment. It may be worthwhile to consult a consumer attorney in your area about your best recourse. Some do offer free consultations. You can find some tips for negotiating with creditors are here:




  • deb

    being sue for about $1200 credit card debt, if they attached my check account,,[only check that goes there is SSDI,] can the money be taken for the debt?

  • bob

    after a judgment can the agency that won the case take a leased car being your name is not on the title as it would be if you had purchased it and had a loan against it ???

  • Dana

    I’ve been making payments to a creditor on a regular basis but not always on the exact date and some payments are late but Im still making payments, can they get a judgement against me?

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      It really depends on what type of account you’re talking about. Late payments on a credit card will probably show up as a series of late payment on your credit report and incur late fees, but issuers typically don’t charge-off accounts or move to collections until an account is at least 90 days overdue. Collections accounts, on the other hand, are debts that you’ve already defaulted on and a creditor/collector can move to secure a judgment on the amount, even if you’re making small payments sporadically.



  • T Hal

    Richard, I agree with much of what you’re saying. Many people abuse bankruptcy to walk away from their debts. And as commenters here demonstrate, it’s assumed that those of us who advocate making avoiding debt repayment MUCH harder are wealthy. Very, very many of us are NOT wealthy. We are AS POOR as those who’ve walked away from debt to us. We have no recourse when we fall into bankruptcy because someone who’d earned our trust manipulated us or stole money from our accounts, then claims they’re financially insolvent, as they make hundreds to thousands a week in unreported income. Many of these are already breaking the law to acquire funds AND they get to walk away from their debts, leaving ex-friends and family close to death from eviscerated accounts.

    I’m not heartless. But many of these people won’t even agree to pay $10 a MONTH on their debt–simply because they know the system won’t force them, when they can afford more than $10 a month on non-survival needs. And while many of us owed money are single and barely surviving, many who owe us money are married, with new cars, handsome houses, and protected 401Ks and other sources of wealth. It’s absolutely unfair that if person A is worth $100,000+ (protected house value & other protected assets) and is indebted to person B who’s worth NEGATIVE-$20,000, person A should be allowed to walk away from her/his debt simply because her/his future is considered too important to threaten financially, even though person B’s future is now destroyed.

    Where are all the you-heartless-rich-people! pundits when the ones exploiting bankruptcy are far wealthier than those whom they own money to? Why aren’t these same people clamoring for justice then? Of course, because this doesn’t serve their own interests.

  • T Hal

    Yes, people get down on their luck. We all know this. Those of us who’re advocating for a change in debt laws, however, have significant experience with people who exploit the system. Laws need to be changed so that it’s far less difficult to prove fraud, which protects those who’re legitimately down on their luck while forcing those who’re just trying to exploit the system to defraud others to pay their debts with the considerable resources many of these hide from the courts and the IRS.

  • T Hal

    No, it’s not absurd at all. You mean YOU believe it to be so. That’s an opinion, not a fact. There are many of us who are in just as dire straits as Sammy, but who’ve been duped out of our meager life savings by predators who then manipulate the system to avoid any responsibility. Even more, besides not paying the debt many of them can afford to pay but feign inability, many of these predators want their records expunged so they can do it again. That’s not fair. Someone entered into an agreement when they were struggling–from someone else, family, spouse, friends–also struggling, and then they USE that struggling person’s resources to build their own security, leaving the person who helped them in absolute shambles, but then expecting to get their own credit back on track AND to be free of the debt.

    What about the family member or friend who helped when no one else would, and is therefore now out of her/his life savings? So exchange one person’s financial and survival woes for another person’s, even when the one to benefit has obtained the money fraudulently? Do you realize how extremely hard it is to prove fraud, even when attorneys, police, and the state (attorney general’s office) believe fraud has occurred (because you have the bank, tax, and other legal evidence)?

    The way the system stands is not fair at all. I’m poor, and I can prey on other people to survive, and even when I defraud them, since the law makes it extremely expensive and difficult to prove fraud, I get away with it, while the other person who did nothing wrong or illegal gets destroyed. That’s just not fair.

  • T Hal

    It’s unfair to encourage people who have borrowed money from family and friends not to pay back that debt, when those who’ve lent the money are themselves struggling to survive. It encourages people to hide money, earn cash under-the-table… all to avoid satisfying their legal debts. It also encourages people not to take seriously a lawsuit, since often people will exploit bankruptcy or even just circumvent record-collections that determine their true worth.

    Making one person bankrupt and threatening her/his survival for the crime of being duped by a loved one or friend, while protecting the financial state of social and financial predators is reprehensible.

  • MOE

    I have a judgment against me in PA , civil action , and now I live in NJ , I own nothing in pa , can they collect from me in NJ ( garnish wages or hold bank Acount) I don’t own in NJ

  • MOE


  • Marissa Dominguez

    i just got a letter saying i need to file a letter with the court in 30 days then a judgement be sent its not my account so im going to court for another person using my info

  • angelina esposito

    We don’t know what he is on ssi for? I feel like you with people I grew up with , some just don’t want to work, but some pl really need it? I am in situation with a judgement, and I don’t feel it is right 100%! I understand I need to pay it, but when your a single parent and just want to work. I think if I you show true effort to want to satisfy. Mine is personally uninsured motorist, I take full blame, I did unexpectedly lose my job overnight due to them closing down , and my insurance lapsed. However not being able to drive only makes it harder to ever pay? I find jobs that pay decent, but due to not having anyone , but a Daycare from 6-6 p.m Mon- Fri I can’t take them? I could understand getting driving privilege’s with the stipulation that I bring proof of insurance, along with a receipt that I am trying to pay on it? But to feel so stuck? How can anyone get out of it, unless the accumulate a lump sum? Which is my next post , and I pray I don’t get put through a ringer on here? I am struggling, but not lazy or just a bad person! I made a mistake, and have severely paid already and will continue for a long time! Thank you

  • Rj

    I had student loans from a private lender. They went bankrupt..after learning this from watching the news I attempted many times to figure out where that leaves me but could get no answers. Now some debt collector has it and get judgements filed against me for double what the loan was before I even get a court notice. The last notice I received was the day of court…court at 8am my mail doesn’t arrive until 1pm and I’m not home from work u til 5pm so there is nothing I can do to stop them. I called wanting to make arrangements bit they won’t even talk to me until I have 11k to give them. I had four separate 5k loans

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Here are some things you need to know about dealing with debt collectors — I hope this helps: https://www.credit.com/debt/top-10-debt-collection-rights/

  • Mama 6

    My fiance got a letter saying that personal finance loan do have and recover of his name the amount he owe.can anyone tells me what this means?I’m thinking it means he paid off what he owes them

  • Steve

    I’m being sued for an amount both I and the one suing me know is false. I live in TX and they are sueing me in IN. I made a motion for a change of venue and they ruled against me. They said according to the contract, (which had expired months before and was never to cover these activities) Then put a default judgement against me. My CR dropped from 805 to 680. I had the default judgement set aside, then they sued me again for the same thing. I sent another change of venue and they refused to hear it as they said it had already been ruled on, even though the one that was ruled against me was based on a lie from their attorney. When I was in court the attorney agreed that he was in error on that, yet they told me that small claims court is not recorded, so no help there. When I was there the attorney was obviously tight with the lady judge, and got special privileges. So even if I prove without a doubt I don’t owe the money, they can still rule against me. Even with my signed “receipt requested” signed cards they say they didn’t receive the documents I sent and say they aren’t responsible if it doesn’t make it’s way from the clerk that accepts the mail, to my file! I’ve already spent over $1,000 on principal, because I don’t want to give in to blackmail, only to discover it feels to me like a totally corrupt system.

    Last time I went up there, 1100 miles from my home, it cost me over $1,000 and now they say I owe them $667 on the original $350 extortion attempt. The lawyer that at the first trial said he would check into the “debt”, according to his staff he never did, just refiled the suit against me. I lose either way. Should I just pay the ransom, or try again in what my opinion is a corrupt court? It’s in Fort Wayne, IN.
    If I go up there and they rule against me and I pay it right then, does a judgement still go against me that will affect my credit?

    I certainly have lost all faith in our justice system, and feel like a victim of Corporate blackmail. The trial is on the 11th, so I need to leave here for the two day drive on the 9th.

    Thanks for the help.

  • Al

    We have a collections letter that is for a debt owed. It stems from having received payments judged as being receiving preferential treatment from a company that still owes us money. What is the statue of limitations on owing a “debt” for receiving payments of goods sold preferentially when a company was about to file bankruptcy?

  • camiel

    sounds like a bunch of losers after Richards comment, i agree YOU owe the $$ why should you not have to pay, you spent it!! you enjoy being a theif and sucking the life out of the working class

  • tammy m

    I have not been able to read the comment of “Rich”. I am however a proud Veteran of the USAF. I am also service connected disabled. I am also receiving Social Security Disability. So one may think I have it made; however, my combined income isn’t even $1300. / month. Yes I have debt what American doesn’t? I served my country so that any uninformed idiot could spout off all their ideas on how everybody can afford whatever they can, even if the idiot was born with a silver spoon in a certain orifice of their anatomy. We all have the right of speech even the idiots out there.

  • Jeanine Skowronski

    I had a default judgement filed against me because I did not come to court because I made an agreement with the credit agency before court. I filed a petition to open and it was granted. I do owe the debt but thought making an agreement I would avoid a judgement. Now we are going back to court what are the possible outcomes.?

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      You may still be able to negotiate a payment plan with the creditor, but they can sue for an outstanding debt. The outcome depends on the whether or not they secure a judgement and for how much, but it could result in wage garnishment. You may want to consult a consumer attorney to find out what your best recourse is. Some do offer free consultations. You can find tips for negotiating with creditors here:


      Thank you,


  • Gena

    I don’t have a judgment yet but I just was served the complaint paper saying they where filing a suit. can I still try and make payment arrangements

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      Yes, generally, you can still try to work out a payment plan with the creditor or collector.

      Thank you,


  • Petre C

    I signed an Loan agreement with confidenciality clause, now I got a Judgement. Can I disclose the agreement?

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      You may want to consult a consumer attorney with regards to your options.



  • Amanda Filosa

    Hi, I am wondering if a debt collector can legally acess our bank account for payments before a judgement is even entered? I called my bank about an unknown item on our bank statement and he didn’t see any liens or judgements so he gave me their number and that’s when I found out what it was.

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      As far as I know, a debt collector can only garnish accounts once a judgement has been secured. It is possible a judgement was secured that you don’t know about. (Cases often get settled in favor of the creditor when the consumer misses the summons and doesn’t show up to court.) You can try checking your credit report to see if one appears. You may want to also consult a consumer attorney about any recourse you may have.



  • Laura

    Good morning i have been working with debt collector when I received a notice if i didn’t pay off a medical bill they would take me to court I contacted them someone their talked to me made an agreement where they take 75.00 off my bank account and they do every month this was agreed in July and the debt collector told me she would not send me to court and would send this in writing they took their first two payments like normal so I thought everything was okay I received the receipts showing they take the money out in September I get a notice saying I have a judgment I called and asked them why as we had an agreement they said they sent a paper and I needed to sign it I explain I never received and all I get is the receipts of what they take out the lady told me you should be lucky were nice because we can take your garnish your wages I told her why if my part of the end is being respected I put the money in the bank and they take it w no problem can I get legal help on the situation?

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      Hi, Laura,

      You may want to consult a consumer attorney for legal advice.



  • Rob

    We agreed to a judgement in March of 2014, it is spelled out in the judgement, 500.00 a month plus one last payment of 316.00.I spoke with them today and the balance they show is 2,100.00 higher than the agreed upon judgement, they say it is fees. Is that legal in Arkansas?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      It sounds as if you need to consult a consumer-law attorney. If you have a written agreement, and they are violating it, you may want a lawyer’s opinion.

  • Jason

    I have a judgement against me for 141k. It is against an LLC that was in my name and myself personally. I didn’t have anything to do with the Business. It was a default judgment, because I was unaware that I was even being sued. The suit was filed in court after the business was dissolved by myself. I did this because I started to get email and phone calls from people saying I owed them money. I was tricked by someone into opening the business in Florida in the first place. That person will not cover the debt or even talk about it for that matter. I only found out when I pulled my credit report. Is there a way for this to be reversed? I also thought that an LLC shielded the owner from liability.

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      Hi, Jason,

      You may want to consult a consumer attorney about what your best legal recourse here is.

      Thank you,


  • Shelley Cleveland

    I didn’t show up in court on a debt collection with a default judgement, will that go away when I do a bankruptcy?

  • Derrick

    I have a judgment (garnishment) against me and have been making 200$ per mo payments but was just laid off !! So can they garnish my unemployment!?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Generally, no. But severance pay usually can, and unemployment sometimes can if it’s for back taxes or child support, for example.

  • patricia

    I was trying to send them 5$ every when i can but if i miss senting the $ 5 they said they will sue me
    can I get this off of me

  • patricia

    I was on social security disability when a judgment was put on me i did know about it now i dont what to do

  • Lesa

    I have a judgement against me, I want to fill to get a trustee through the court to take the payments. Will this prevent the creditor from taking me to court again to reassess?

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      Hi, Lesa,

      You may want to contact a consumer attorney to find out what your legal options are.

      Thank you,


  • Eric James

    Can a lawyer charge me interest on a garnishment in Florida? The amount I owed $12,0000 was paid and now they started another garnishment for $5,000 in interest.

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      Hi, Eric,

      This may depend on what the judgment order says and what type of debt the garnishment is for. You may want to consult a consumer attorney about your legal options.

      Thank you,


  • Theresa

    I have a judgement for 17,000 for medical bill and my income for the year is 20,000 and I get paid once a year and collection agency wants the 17,000 that will leave me with 2,000 and I have custody of my granddaughter I have to raise , how can they take all my money

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      Hi, Theresa,

      You may want to consult a consumer attorney about what your options here are.

      Thank you,


  • Christina Williams

    I have a judgement against me for defaulting on a unsecured personal loan due to the fact my now ex-husband lost hours at work and fell behind and was not able to keep up on the payments. In that judgement attorney fees and lifetime interest was applied to the judgement. An Attorney’s office is willing to work with me on payment arrangements but is wanting to charge me 10% interest rate and if I dont pay they will apply to garnish my wages. My only concern is I will be FOREVER paying on this loan. The loan amount is almost $6000.00. I accept I am responsible for this loan and want it off my credit report. I am a single mother with no assistance. Is what they are doing legal? Is there anything I can do or say that might help?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Christina —
      You could run it by a legal aid lawyer to be sure. But a repayment agreement is unlikely to remove a judgment from your credit report. Here’s more about that:
      How Long Does Negative Info Stay on My Credit Report?

  • RicanBabeNY68

    Can anyone explain to me the statue of limitations for WA State? I got a letter from a firm that has been retained to collect a judgment. Said judgment was transcribed in county superior court on 02/06/06. Now, November of 2015, they send me this letter! I was never contacted about this. Should I contact the company first? What should I do? Out of my wits but I want to get this resolved.

  • Maria Askrino

    I receive a judgment letter from court for $1,500 to my Daugther house I don’t or have living there and I’m over seas for a year I’m coming home in May 2017 what should do?

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      HI, Maria,

      You may want to consult with a consumer attorney to find out what your best legal option is.

      Thank you,


  • Christine Wooten

    I found out that I have a judgment against me while trying to buy a house but was I was never subpoenaed by anyone. I never saw any paper saying this was happening to me. I looked at my credit report and nothing is on there as a judgment. How can I find how who ordered this judgement against me?

    • Jeanine Skowronski

      Hi, Christine,

      The lender is required to furnish a copy of the credit report they used that resulted in the adverse action so you should ultimately be able to see who is reporting the judgement once that paperwork arrives in the mail. However, in the interim, you can pull a copy of your credit report from each of the three major bureaus. There is a possibility that the judgement is only appearing on one.

      Thank you,


  • Heather Shafer

    First of all does the matter really have anything to do with you, does it hurt you, you say that people that get SSI or SSDI is a burden to you, well let’s see Thousands of Americans loose a Job, get in a car accident that wasn’t their fault, or was over seas in the war defending the US so again, for many Americans around the world who actually CAN NOT WORK anymore cause of a accident of some sort we are just suppose to Die cause we shouldn’t get help from SSI or SSDI for less then what we got working. It’s not a choice that we have, it was decided for us by Judges, and Doctors saying you CAN NO LONGER WORK now for 2016 US citizens that worked may or may not have enough work credits so they receive SSDI for those that didn’t have enough work credits receive SSI which in 2016 they receive 733.00 a Month and maybe 78.00 in Food benefits that’s it. They may even qualify for Medicaid but yet again when you live in a 2 bedroom apt, they rental cost is 600.00 at the least in Michigan, and you still have to pay your Electric, Gas, and Water which if you are on a shut off protection plan it’s 313.00 a month for consumers Energy, and your water runs you like 75.00 a month and So you tell me how SSI or SSDI is hurting you any. Now you say that we are a burden to you how so, when we struggle every month to make ends meet, to survive which is very hard and we aren’t allowed to work cause you were placed on a DO Not Hire list from a Judge. Yet the Judgements that were placed was cause you were in a Accident and was forced out of work cause of your conditions you suffered in the accident or in war, so again it’s not that we don’t want to pay but we can’t afford to pay, and while they are stilling trying to collect something you don’t have it hurts your credit so you can’t get help to make things right. So again if you don’t know some ones situation maybe you should just butt out of peoples business if it doesn’t pertain to you.

  • Carol

    I totally agree. Your son is a hero! I don’t feel that him getting taken care of is a burden. It is a duty we have as citizens to support him. Please thank him on behalf of my family for his service.

  • carol

    I have a non collateral debt that I got a judgment against me in 2009. I filed bankruptcy in 2010 and the debt was charged off. I am trying to sell my house and have found that a lien was placed on my home before the bankruptcy. I have called Benificial Colorado on numerous occasions and get the run around every time. What can I do to get this removed?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      It sounds like you may need to get an attorney involved. Are you saying the judgment was charged off? (Or the original debt, which may not have been owned by the original creditor by then?) It sounds like you need legal help to unwind this.

  • Sheila Graham

    so i got a judegement letter in the mail. and i have paid them 10.00 from what i could at least pay. dont make alot of money and financial is tough. should i be worried even though i have at least put somekind of payment in?

  • Fred

    I just received a judgement against me and I too am on SSD out of Pennsylvania. I know I can’t pay the $6500 and they won’t work with me to pay it. I became disabled while having this card and my mental health illness caused me to add to my debt. What will happen next with a judgement?

  • joe smith

    I have a judgement and I have a pending insurance settlement what happens if anything

  • El

    My daughter has been paying on a Judgement for the last 7 years. Only 25.00 a month, she recently got a notice telling her that her balance was more than she originally owed. Most of this is interest, Is there a limit on how many years you are required to pay on a judgement? They agreed on the original amount of 25.00 but this length of time seems unreasonable. It’s in the state of NY

  • Val

    Hello I’m 29 with a young daughter, I have a leased car and pay rent w apartments that’s about it I am currently separated from my my husband and I am unemployed I have a current debt from a credit card of $4000 they threaten to get a judgment against me in 30 days as I do not pay half the amount what are my options I can’t afford to pay this

  • Pablo Lawson

    Being a debt collector several times in the past years of my life, I can tell you that if you have a judgement against you, it’s only because the creditor currently has an asset, to TAKE the money from you, without you acting. This could be a bank account, savings account, work wages, etc. I could care less about such things because I’m now disabled, retired, broke as a joke, and my type of SSI income is only privy to garnishment from the IRS, and you don’t pay anymore taxes on SSI. Not even child support can be garnished, even if you put your SSI into a bank account.

  • Jody Williams-Fabre

    In 2014 I had a judgement for $1159.20 plus cost plus post-judgement interest. My wages were garnished and total paid out was $2059.20. Now they are trying to garnish again for $484.40 stating court cost and 9% post-judgement interest. Can they do this?

  • travis quee

    I have a judgment with rent a center and they show on my credit report as owing $5,600 I tried to settle with them today they said the new number is $7,500… I offered them $4,000 to pay it they said no I needed to pay in full 🙁 but I don’t have $7,500 to pay them off and its occurring more interest is there anything that I can do to get this taken care off without filing bankruptcy.. I’m just lost I thought most people are willing to negotiate but they are not because the person I talked to was just a manager not the owner and the debt collection agency is not willing to negotiate at all because they said were going to get our cash either way… I would even been willing to pay what I owed in full minus the interest but the collection agency just isn’t willing to do anything 🙁

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Settling judgment debt yields different results. What you say (or don’t say) when negotiating can often need to be more particular. But even if you represent your hardship or inability to pay as well as can be expected, you may look like a 100% collection target to them (based on other bills that may show as being paid on time on your credit reports).

      Who is the debt collection agency you are dealing with now?
      What state are you in?
      How old is the judgment?
      Do you have other unsecured debts (whether current or in collection), and if so, how much does all of it add up to?

  • kat

    There is companies like Midland Funding that do not care if it is even the correct person they are coming after. The do things like get judgments against you without you even knowing it. It happened to me twice. I was never served and it was not my debt. Not everyone is guilty. The original creditor is one thing, once they sell it, these 3rd party debt collectors don’t play by any rules.

  • kat

    What if a judgment is filed against you and it isn’t yours? I recently pulled my credit and found that there was 2 judgments against me. I was never served or I would have gone to court. I went to the court house and they told me I was served (Not) and it was mine, I called the credit report agency and they removed them from my report and said they didn’t belong to me. Will the courts still keep them against me? What do I do now?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Kat – This is a situation where I would recommend you consult a consumer law attorney. As long as it is in the public record (with the courts) it could create problems for you. This more recent article may help: I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report. Now What?

  • Susan

    A collection agency was awarded a judgment against me on a doctor bill I felt was overbilled. The doctor has since called and offered to dismiss the bill and list it as Professional Services. Can I file a Motion to Vacate the Jusgement based on the doctor dismissing the origianl charges?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You’ll need to consult with a consumer law attorney or talk to the courts. Unfortunately this varies by jurisdiction and it’s impossible for us to say for sure either way.

  • l and p

    I had a judgement and my wages were garnished and I got a letter that my judgement was satisfied and it had both my husband and my name on it and now they are garnishing my husbands for the same case # and account #. The collection agent we spoke with said that when we were done paying the judgement that was just the beginning and we would still ow more

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Judgments often do accrue interest but if you received a letter stating it was satisfied I see no reason why it would continue. I would suggest you at least get an initial evaluation from a consumer protection attorney to find out if what they are dong is legal. You can find one via the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

  • Dawn

    I have been making payments to this person and i just recieved garnishment paperwork in the mail

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      What person? And did you have a question?

  • TallBearNC

    I got sued by a law firm representing Discover card a few years ago, had I realized it was passing North Carolina three-year statute of limitations, I would’ve gone to court and stopped iT. My stupid mistake was not going to court and not being informed. Always make sure you check your state statute of limitations. You can chk here: https://www.credit.com/debt/statutes-of-limitations/

    It was for 10,000. I settled for 4900$. I had a 16k citi credit card that got up to 36k with interest. I settled for 10k.

    I didn’t know about my SoL until Last year. Some states are 8-10 YEARS. Most are 3-5, that clock starts once you DEFAULT and close your acct. many creditors buy and sell ur debt to try to fake a court to restart it. Get your credit report if being sued. Iook at the month and year they CLOSED your acct. that’s when the clock starts for being sued. If it’s past your states SoL , GO TO COURT, show the judge your credit report – just the relevant part and state it’s past the SoL. I had FIVE creditors try to sue my last year (in NC) for defaulted debt in 2009. Time was up in 2012. In Nc it’s 3/3 for open and written (closed) contracts (a car loan is written / closed). So I stopped making payments wrote them all letters, now I’m not being bothered. Plus most of that debt will b 7 yrs old starting oct 2015-mar 2016 and will vanish from my reports. I already disputed it and all the credit agencies stamped a date on each debt when it will b discharged.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Veronica

    I lost a case and all of a sudden a receive a judgment in the mail. I was never given any prior notice of this debt that was owed as the case was no fault. The judgment is now on my credit report. What should I do? I was never given the opportunity to even fight or negotiate this debt.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You may be able to get it reopened if you weren’t served. It’s best for you to consult a consumer protection attorney (you can find one via the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates). I’d recommend you at least talk to one. The other option is to contact the court where the judgment was filed and ask if there is a procedure for challenging the judgment.

      This newer article may be useful to you: I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report. Now What?

  • Niccole Vantiem

    So I just got served papers from a collection agency they’re trying to take me to court can I settle before they take me to court maybe call the agency and see if we can pay it before all those other fees or do I have to wait

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Many debts are settled “on the courthouse steps” as they say. If you reach an agreement get it in writing before you pay, make sure it says the lawsuit will be dropped and then check with the court to make sure it has been.

  • pam

    I have a judgement that was being paid on a monthly basis. Business got in trouble
    with debt I placed this into debt management also I was not aware if there was a judgment in place I could not place this into debt mgmt It is under 4000.00 I can go back to making payments on it of maybe 50.00 per month give me some suggestions please

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Judgments can often be negotiated but you don’t have as much leverage as you will on a pre-judgment debt (because the judgment gives them more leverage to collect, including seizing money from bank accounts or garnishing wages, depending on state law.) You’ll need to contact them and see what they are willing to accept. But remember that judgments often incur interest and at $50 a month it will already take you almost seven years to pay off – longer if they add interest.

      Have you discussed this with your counselor?

  • jeremy

    Hi I have a judgment against me and my wages are being garnished. Now I cant afford to pay my day to day expences is there anything that i can do

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Yes, talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney. They can explain your options with regard to the wage garnishment and will help you determine whether bankruptcy might be the best way to protect your paycheck.

  • Helen

    What are a persons legal rights in getting information about a judgement on a credit card that they have no recollection of. Do you have the right to request and be given a copy of the signed appication and/or any charges and who signed for them.

  • Lynn

    My husband has a 9 year old small claims judgement against him. We were not married at the time, and it is not longer on his credit report, I only found out about it because a collection company is now threatening to garnish his wages. I looked up the original judgement and it includes attorney fees, which are not recoverable in most small claims cases. I am willing to pay the original judgement amount less the attorney fees as well as the interest less the interest from the attorney fees, but the agency will not settle. Is there anything that can be done at this point to get the judgement corrected?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      They have the power to stand firm because they have the judgment. And with that comes the ability (in many states but not all) to garnish wages, seize bank accounts etc. If they won’t settle, then your choice is to wait and hope the judgment expires and they don’t renew it (check how long they last in your state – in some it’s 20 years), pay it, or risk possible repercussions (again, depending on what’s allowed in your state).

      I should add that the fees or interest they charge aren’t always correct but trying to sort that out can be challenging, and expensive if you hire a lawyer.

  • bryan

    I had a court day for a credit store but i missed the court day what can i do now? Do i leave it like that or what options do i have

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Find out what happened. If there is a judgment against you, and you don’t pay, you could end up having wages garnished.

  • Conrad

    My mother is 79 and we believe it was my brother who opened an account in her name in 2008. And never made a payment. She had no clue this existed until my sister was leaving Mt mother property and she was stopped in the driveway and asked if she new my mother she said yes she is my mother he handed her a paper and said her your mother has been served. My sister was leaving town and was going to give it to our mother the next day we’ll it slipped between the seats and was found 6 days after the collection agency won judgment because my mom didn’t show because she had no knowledge. The original creditor has dropped off her credit. They won judgement March 2014. It’s now Sept 2015. And no activity. Not a word until 2 weeks ago they are calling she doesn’t answer she is so upset she’s 79 years old and taking care of my 45 yr old brother with kidney disease he is fighting ssd. And my mom is now working two jobs and getting her ss and trying to survive she has a loan on a van worth 1,000. She has land with mortgage but home is falling apart. Mt brother opened a card in my mom’s name last month she got approved for 7 500 0% for 12 months and 12.9 to 18.9 after 12 months but my brother is the one using and paying the bills. Different brother, not the one who opened account in 2008 without her knowledge. ?how long do they have to garnish etc and why haven’t they after a year and a half. ? Can we do anything my momson income goes direct to all bills I have to pay for her gas bless her heart. Any info is appreciated.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I’d recommend she try to contact Legal Aid as soon as possible. She needs to try to get the judgment vacated or they will continue to try to collect from her. It’s a terribly unfortunate set of circumstances but the court has basically ordered your mother to pay the debt and she needs to get that changed if she doesn’t want to risk further collection activity. In addition, in some states collectors may go after wages, non-exempt bank accounts etc. And judgments last a long time in most states as well.

  • Mel Vierra

    Hi, Gerri I Have A Judgment Against Me For the amount of 1,098 Dollars, I told the Lady that I can only 20.00 a month she stated that is to low we need a payment of the amount of 50 to a 100 a month. I told her that i’m on a fix Income, I’m on SSA. can they take my SSA away from me. or put a judgment on my Drive’s Licence of my CHL Licence. Please get back to Thank You.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      What type of debt is this?

  • Mel Vierra

    I’m going to get a Judgement against me I’m on a Fix Income. i offer to pay $ 20.00 a month. and they said that they could’nt take that payment. i’m on SSA can they take away my SSA,

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    The fact that you are on disability may not halt the judgment, but it should limit what they can do to collect. Have you checked to find out if there is a legal aid office that can help you? Please also read: Seven Ways To Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit.

  • dellvostro

    Great information here. You have to keep in mind that hiring an attorney is very expensive. I tried calling several in my area and they all asked for half of what was owed up front as just a retainer! I owe 8k and they are asking for 3k + just to start and that could go up at any time.
    I find that hard to accept. So they can bilk you as long as you pay them then drop you when money runs dry. There must be a better recourse.
    My judgement was in Miami and I was never served. They got judgement on default in 1999. I was working at the time and continued to work as same employer for nearly ten years. I never even knew about the judgement til recently.
    What would be the grounds to vacate the judgement for never being served, and not being able to find any information of credit or judgement on my credit report for last ten years?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Have you checked to see if you qualify for Legal Aid?

  • Umar Abdul Wali

    Can I be legally taken to court if they’ve never contacted me regarding the debt, outside of court papers?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Possibly . . . Some people have found judgments they knew nothing about when they checked credit reports. You may want to contact a lawyer about the regulations in your jurisdiction.

  • alex f

    Hi My name is Alex. I live in california. I had a judgement against me from Wells fargo that I did not know about because they were sending the information to my grandmothers house which I did not live at any more. Long story short is they sued me and I owe 2100 to them now. What should I do about going about handling this? should I contact the number of the debt collector on my credit report or try to get a hold of the courts to pay it through them? And can I still make a deal with them as far as not having to pay the full amount? Also can a warranty be put out for my arrest in this case? Thank you in advance.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    In many states interest can be charged on judgments; how much depends on state law and the contract. If you have unpaid interest on this judgment then it will not be satisfied and the judgment creditor can take steps that are legal in your state to collect the remainder of the judgment. Whether or not that means they can garnish your wages depends on your state’s law.

    I am not sure what you mean by coming off your credit in three months…unpaid judgments may be reported longer than paid judgments though eventually they are typically no longer reported. And yes, unfortunately, an unpaid judgment can affect your ability to get a mortgage.

  • Brandy

    We have a judgement against our house it was put there in 2008, we are just know able to start dealing with it. My question is can we negotiate the amount or will we have to pay the full amount? Also who do I call to settle this the lawyer that filed or the company we owe?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Judgment can often be negotiated. Before you decide what to do you may want to check the statutes of limitations for judgments in your state.

  • Irma Johnson

    I have three judgements on my credit report, but I do not know who, how, or even why they are there. How can I fine out?

  • Michael

    My Judgement has been paid in full thru my employer wage garnishment whats next do i need to do anything or should i ask for a paid in full receipt.

  • MsLee

    Three of us were sued on same suit for eviction. Two of us are fighting it. Third person couldn’t make it to court and she had a judgement entered in on her for only the property damage portion. if we win the suit, or if the amount of judgement is reduced, will her judgement also be resolved or reduced?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Talk over this scenario with an experienced debt collection defense attorney in your state, but probably not.

      If the judgment against her was recent, also ask about her getting the judgment set aside if her nonappearance fits an excusable reason the court typically will agree with.

  • jj

    i have judgement againist im suppose to show smaill claims i live disability if dont show up can they send a warrant for my arrest if dont show up?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      It’s better to show up to defend yourself. Not showing up can result in the court ordering a judgment against you, and that could result in your wages being garnished.

  • Lara Olena

    I was just told that in NJ a lien can be put on my mothers house for my debt because I live here. Is that true? I can’t find any information. This person also told me that though they can’t touch my disability, then can take the money from the debit card that it goes to….please let me know if this is true, I also can’t find info on the web about it. A company who was hired to file a garnishment with the courts told me this.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Hmmm that doesn’t sound right to me either. I’d recommend you talk with a consumer protection or consumer bankruptcy attorney who handles debt collection cases. If this debt collector is threatening to take action they cannot legally take that would be an FCDPA violation and the attorney would likely be able to help you at no out of pocket cost to you. (The debt collector would have to pay the attorney’s fees.) At any rate the first consultation should be free. You can visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates to find one.

  • Betty Gaines

    I have a judgment against me which I do not think it’s fair. It says they served me in 2006, but the address that was served I haven’t leave there in over 4 yrs doing this time, so one day my checking account was garnish and when I called the company they stated I did not show up in court but I did not have no idea what was going on all the REP was saying it something to do with a credit card that I never own to this day I still do not know what they talking about look like my info was stolen from a old address.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Betty – This is now a matter of public record and it’s not always a simple process to undo a judgment. It would be wise to consult with a consumer protection attorney in your area to find out what your rights and responsibilities are, and whether you can get this judgment vacated.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Ryann —
    We’d love to help, but it sounds like you need an attorney and we are not lawyers. In many cases a consultation is free. Please check for a local legal aid society — and good luck to you.
    Also, if you were not informed of a lawsuit and a court date (when the judgment was handed down), that is also a problem — and it may be that the judgment could be put aside. Please get legal advice.

  • Chris

    I have a judgment from an old landlord. While attempting to contact the court to resolve the debt, I found out that the creditor is now deceased. What do I do now?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I’d suggest you contact the court involved, explain the situation and ask where you can find the paperwork to file a motion to vacate the judgment. If they aren’t helpful or you can’t navigate it on your own a consumer law attorney in your area should be able to assist you. Visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates for more information.

      This article may also be of help: How to Kill Zombie Judgments on Your Credit Report

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I’m sorry I am confused by your question. Can you try restating it?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It is possible that the judgment creditors could try to collect from the money you inherit, though that would be after you receive it. You may want to consult with a consumer bankruptcy attorney to find out what the implications would be. You should be able to get a free or low-cost consultation.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Check NACBA

    the National Association of Consumer Advocates website for someone in your area. We can’t make specific recommendations.

  • Marc Maruzzo

    I received a letter that is collecting a very old debt. I sent them back
    a letter asking for a validation. They sent me a copy of previous
    judgment that was filed against me that was stamped dated back in Sept.
    11, 2008 or 2000. I’m not sure what the exact date was because the
    photocopy seems like the stamped date was tampered with. This is all in
    Southern California in which I still live in. I’m not sure what to do at
    this point.

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      You might want to ask a consumer law attorney for his or her thoughts. A judgment is typically renewable. You can read more here:
      Help! I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report

  • Rosary Abate

    I have no idea how I am going to get out of debt. I have Lupus and Leukemia and my medical expenses our crazy. Most of the debt I have are from being sick i.e.; medical expenses or a car that was turned in. The bank (Credit Union) sold the car for about $2,000.00 but are charging me $7,000.00 I am keeping my utilities and rent currant Thank The Lord! However I am not and know I will not be able to pay any of the medical bills owed from this point on. Is there any advise I also have a judgment that is over 7 years old that also is medical. I wish I could get some advise would love to get my credit back in order.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Rosary – I am so sorry to hear of your struggles. Have you spoken with a bankruptcy attorney? A fresh start may be your best bet at this point.

  • Dana Troutman

    I had a loan and had a judgement, it has been paid but it is on my credit report 10 times as 10 judgements for one loan?

  • Erin

    I know this is an old thread so I’m not sure if I’ll get a response, but I just recently found out there is a judgment filed against me but for a credit card I had never opened back in 2002. I’ve been attempting to contact the company that is currently attempting to collect the debt, but they don’t respond to me. How can I get this taken care of? I’ve requested copies of receipts and paperwork from the, but nothing. I don’t need my wages garnished or bank accounts frozen because of something someone else did in my name 13 years ago. It has also never shown up on my credit, which I find a bit odd. Thanks in advance for any help.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Erin – Talk with a consumer law attorney asap. There are procedures for getting a judgment vacated but it can be difficult to navigate on your own. Even if you decide to do it yourself, the attorney can hopefully point you in the right direction. (Visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates to find one in your area.)

  • erika

    A judgements was made against because failure to show up in court to protest, however I was never served and paper work showed they served someone living like a mile from my last known address therfore I never knew to go to court…Now what?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      It might be possible to get the judgment set aside for that reason. We suggest contacting an attorney for advice.

  • buty636

    I had a $5,500 judgement ordered against me. I am unemployed, head of household with 4 children. I own a vehicle worth $2000 that still runs and a crashed motorcycle worth $2000. I live in Florida. Can they take either of these from me since I have no wages to garnish? I am also divorced with no assets or property and I rent my home.

  • Patrice

    We just finished paying off a judgement and we called to get release of lien. We paid exactly what was in the court documents. Now the law office is saying that we owe $700 more because of interest!! Can they do this? We live in CA.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I checked with Southern California consumer law attorney Robert Brennan, who said: A “debt collector can judge interest which is stated in the contract. Also, a judgment collects 10% simple interest in California, so this might be post-judgment interest. The judgment probably says, “…plus interest from the date of entry.”

      If you still think there’s a problem you’ll need to contact a consumer law attorney or your state attorney general.

  • Trey R

    I went through mediation with my former landlord who was suing me for 6 remaining months on a lease agreement. She sold the home 1 month after I moved out on the lease which she had planned to sell the home anyway regardless of me breaking the lease. Landlord told me that she could sue me for remaining months on the lease and I accepted that as the case in mediation. She had an attorney and I didn’t so I didn’t feel that I had a fighting chance although, I had emails that landlord had sent to me stating that she would only charge me for the months that the home was vacant after I had moved which were only 2 months. Mediator basically told me that the emails wouldn’t help me if I went before the judge so due to ignorance, I agreed to payments toward judgment.
    About 3 months after I had began making payments, I discovered the Georgia Tenant and Landlord Handbook created by the state of Georgia and on page 26 it clearly states that if the landlod moves another tenant in a property after a prior tenant has moved out on a broken lease, then the landlord cannot hold the prior tenant responsible for the remaining months of the lease. I recently brought this fact to the attention of the landlord’s attorney but was told that it holds no merit. Meanwhile, she and her attorney expects me to pay for 6 months on a lease for a home that was sold 2 months after I moved out. I don’t have much debt on my credit; therefore, I don’t want to file bankruptcy in order to fight this garnishment but I don’t know what else to do. Please help!

  • Brittney

    Hello my name is Brittney and I am 26, I have a judgment from my first Apartment complex, I finished the lease out and then I was staying one last month extra so month to month. I didn’t have the full amount so I paid them half. They still evicted me and asked me to leave in 30 days. I didn’t go to court I just got my things and cleaned and got out of there. I got into a new apartment and then they come back with 2,525$ worth of fees. I was at my 13th month and I had already paid 260$ of a 520$ rental agreement. What happened to me and how can I fight it??? Please help me and my kids are homeless. Also they are trying to get 3 different amounts from 3 different people and they are all on my report for the same apartment complex.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Brittney – Have you tried reaching out to
      Legal Aid for help?

  • Wilhemina

    I received a letter from a lawyer saying they have been authorized to start a lawsuit for my medical bills, is there anyway to stop this from going to court other than paying the bill, I’m only working part-time.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      If you have a defense to the debt, then yes. But it would be wise for you to consult with a consumer bankruptcy attorney asap to consider those options.
      Seven Ways To Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit

  • Phoebe Watts

    I have a credit card debt of $3500 that went to judgment status. It’s an old debt, over 10 years. I called the credit card company who directed me to Legal Recovery Law Office. They informed me the total debt is now $5580 includes legal fees and interest. I offered $2000 to pay it off, they countered with $2800. Is this fair or should I fight for a lower pay off? I have since established two additional credit cards with this creditor. My credit score is 650, but I want to buy a house soon. What should I do?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      That is not all that bad an offer on a judgment debt. I may try to shave some more off with a counter offer meeting in the middle.

      Be sure to get everything you agree to documented before you fund the deal.

      You will not be able to get a home loan through with the unpaid judgment. That is just one reason to resolve this sooner than later… now that you may have alerted the debt collector to your interest in paying the debt.

      • Phoebe Watts

        Thank you Michael. I tried to negotiating to $2300, they were “firm at $2800”. Did I open a can of worms by calling them? Should I expect to be attacked?!? Also is it possible to submit a letter and a check to them for $2000 and see if they accept it? Please share your thoughts. Thank you.

        • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

          Submitting a letter and check in some accord and satisfaction effort is ill advised in nearly all the work in this area I have ever done.

          It is better to get the arrangement negotiated and documentation on their letterhead in advance of payment. See this article for more about that: http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/debt-settlement-letters-agreements/

          I do find in these situations that debt collectors can become more active with efforts to collect the judgment. When a debt goes this long without payment, and suddenly wants to do something, it means the person has a goal in mind and is motivated. You will generally have a better collection follow through percentage with someone who is motivated.

          Is the $2,800.00 doable? Can you get closer to it, say as much as $2,600.00?

          There are instances where the bottom line offer is the first one out of the gate, and that may be the case here.

          • Phoebe Watts

            Yes I can get closer and make the $2600.00 doable. I was told the $2800.00 offer was good until 6/26/15. Do you suggest I call again and negotiate for a lower pay out, like $2600.00? In your experience should I expect more correspondence since my initiation? Would it be wise to settle? Do you think they may become aggressive?

  • http://www.bankruptcysoapbox.com Cathy Moran

    The usual civil judgment is for a fixed amount. Interest runs on that amount until it’s paid. State law may allow a judgment creditor, the entity who got the judgment against you, to add certain of its collection costs to the judgment. As you make payment toward the judgment, the total judgment goes down.

    So it may be most useful to think of the wage garnishment order as a snapshot of the debt when the order was issued.

    I wrote about dealing with California wage garnishments at http://goo.gl/GRZ0tP.

  • http://www.ctbankruptcy.com Eugene Melchionne

    You have to check your state law on the subject. Generally speaking interest may not stop running on the debt even though a judgment has entered. The Court may also add post-judgment your costs and additional attorneys fees depending on what has been done. This may be true even though you may be making payments on the judgment. As always, check with a knowledgeable attorney in your area.

  • http://www.glolaw.com/ Jonathan Ginsberg

    Laurie Ann, I would look carefully at the wording on the judgment. I have seen judgments that provide for interest but I have never seen a judgment that allows the creditor to unilaterally add to the principal owed. My thought is that the creditor would have to sue you again for any additional debts claimed and get a wage garnishment summons for a second judgment. Understand as well that if you have, for example, five judgment creditors, the first in line filing the wage garnishment summons collects whatever percentage of your wages allowed under your state’s law. #2 does not start getting paid until #1’s judgment is satisfied. So, if #1 and #3 are the same creditor, they do not get to skip over #2.

  • http://www.ctbankruptcy.com Eugene Melchionne

    This depends on your state law. Most allow additional interest to the judgment amount over the time the judgment is valid. There may be additional court costs added as well. This is true even if you are making payments on the judgment but it is not paid off.

  • darleen

    Hello, my name is Darleen. I am in the process of buying a home. My credit is good and I’ve been conditionally approved for a bank home loan. I am on a payment plan with the Oregon Dept. of Revenue and have been current on all payments for over 3 years.
    I’ve gone through almost all of the steps of the home buying process, including home inspection. The title company is asking about judgements against me. Is the money that I owe the Dept. of Revenue going to stop me from being able to purchase my home?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Have you talked with your lender about it? It will depend on a number of factors including the loan program you choose.

  • Angel Dawn

    So I have a debt of $1619.30 which doesn’t seem like a lot but is to me. I just got a serve notice from a process server. My question is if I contact them can I pay most or all of the debt through them (if they agree to it) and avoid having to go to court? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Debts can be negotiated at this stage. (You’ll negotiate with the party that is suing you–the process server is just delivering the notice and is not likely the plaintiff). If you do, make absolutely certain you get something in writing stating they will not proceed with the lawsuit if you reach an agreement, and then check with the court or show up anyway to make sure they don’t go ahead and proceed with the lawsuit anyway.

  • Barbara ‘Bobbie’ Budetich Rodg

    maybe credit card companies should stop raising the amount of the credit limit on the cards automatically because the person made timely payments, and just inform the person to call and request the amount to be raised. It is a trap to suck you into deeper debt

  • Laura

    I have a question I settle on a amount for a charge card I paid little more then half. I just received a letter saying that I’m getting an adjustment due to finance charges for the time I had the account. When I asked what I was getting back they told me I won’t get anything back it will be credited to account ( that is closed) how can they do that I settled on it 3 years ago

    Thank you

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I am not familiar with this situation. You can file a complaint with the CFPB.

  • Sharon Culp-Slingluff

    Hi my name is Sharon. I have a question my mother passed away 5 years ago. Mother had a judgment from a bank loan. And my father just passed a few weeks ago. The judgment was only on my Mother. They have a house with both names on it. Can this judgment come after the house once we put it up for sale? Please help we really need to know because we are not getting answers from anyone about this

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Please accept our sympathy for your recent loss.

      If the home is part of the estate–and it sounds like it very well could be–then the judgment creditor can attempt to collect from the estate (including the value of the home). Have you checked whether there is a lien against the property? If so, the lien will likely have to be paid off when the home is sold. Even if it isn’t, if the judgment is still valid failing to satisfy the debt from the assets of the estate could create problems later on.

      This is one of those situations where it makes sense to at least talk with an estate planning attorney to make sure you proceed properly. A mistake could be costly and perhaps leave you or other heirs personally liable for debts.

  • Julia

    Hello, I didn’t even know I have 2 judgements against me, never received notice to appear in court. They are from 2009. It is going to be 7 years next year that the judgement was made and i also filed bankruptcy and I am pretty sure those 2 were in my case. Are they still able to file judgement against me if they didn’t show to my bankruptcy court date? I am also calling the bankruptcy court house tomorrow to confirm that those 2 were in my case. thank you

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Julia – Your best bet is to start with what you are already doing and find out whether those debts were discharged in your bankruptcy. If so, you can dispute them with the credit reporting agencies and if that doesn’t work, go to the furnishers. It would also be a good idea to talk with your bankruptcy attorney to find out what the best way to proceed will be.

  • Lorie

    can a place of business discuss a debt or the amount of money a individual owes to anybody in general

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Not if it is a collection agency. Is that what you mean?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Contact the court where the judgment was filed and ask them what the procedure is to request the release of the lien. The judgment creditor may be in violation of state law by refusing to file the necessary paperwork to have the lien released within a specific period of time, but this does vary by state so I can’t be more specific.

    • Steve Fillers

      Thank you for the response. We just took a 2.5 hour drive to the place and I hand delivered a release they signed it and notarized it on the spot. Amazing what you can do in person.

      • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

        Great news! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m sure it will help others.

  • Jesse

    Hey I just got a Summons for a Judgement for $2600 that I owe a Bank that was bought by another bank so when I was able to start taking care of it I didn’t know where now the debt agency is the one trying to get paid I owe the money and don’t mind making payments. Should I contact the agency and try to work it and what should I offer I can really only afford $100 month payments should that work?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler


      It’s very hard for us to predict what the agency will be willing to accept in terms of monthly payments. If you pay $100 a month it will take you at least two years to pay it off, depending on what interest rate they charge you. Make sure you find out whether interest will be charged and how much it will be. Get that in writing before you start making payments. Also keep in mind that when you owe a judgment wages can be garnished.

  • joseph

    i just received a judgement against me on a car loan and i still have the car can they take the car from me without a writ of possesion?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      The proper procedures for repossessing a vehicle vary by state. But generally anytime someone learns a judgment has been entered against them I recommend they at least talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney to find out what the creditor can and cannot do to collect from them. (Again, that varies by state.) You can often get a free initial consultation from the attorney. Sometimes it’s even possible to hang onto the car through the bankruptcy. If you need help finding one visit the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys website.

  • hector

    I live in CA and I have a judgement in VA, a state I never lived in and I don’t have the money to fly there and I was never served, is this judgement legal?

  • Diamond

    Hi .. I had a judgement against me and I paid it off early in February 2014. They even sent me a letter saying it was paid off….now as of April 2015 they reported to my credit that the last time I paid was in Feb of 2014 and that I have a balance of 1,590 as of today. .. I recently called the office and they said oh its interest …but the terms of my arrangement was interest free and once I paid fhe balance promised they even told me my debt waa paid..its like they are trying now to get more money out of me after a year ago of me paying it off..this is so frustrating.. Anyone ever heard of this or gone through this?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You have a letter that states it was paid off in February 2014 right? I can’t offer legal advice but if I were in your shoes I’d send them a certified letter with a copy of that letter and demand they file a release of lien with the court. Or consult a consumer law attorney to find out if their action are illegal. (You should be able to get a free consultation.)

  • Nicole Colledge

    My husband and I have a judgement against us for breaking our lease with the apartment complex we lived in. We needed a bigger space due to an unexpected addition to our family. So, we told them what we were doing and gave our new address and phone number in case there was a problem. While looking for a new place to live, we find out there is a judgement against us by the complex and we knew nothing about it, when we inquired about it the court tells us that we went to court and lost with a judgement for $347 that we must pay. Tonight I find out that it is listed as paid on my credit report. We did not pay it because we knew nothing about it and we sure never attended court so how is this possible?? We lost out on getting a new place because of this and it is a negative thing on our credit reports.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You’ll have to do some research to find out whether you were properly served with the notice of the lawsuit – requirements vary by state. If you weren’t, you may be able to try to get the judgment vacated. Again, the procedure varies by state so you’ll have to either talk with a local consumer law attorney or research the process in your state. We’ve written more about these issues in these articles: I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report. Now What? and how process servers work.

  • joe

    HOW to find out about a judgement is against you for free

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It depends on what is required in your state to perfect service. Sometimes they can serve your last known address and in others they have to serve you personally. You’ll need to do some research to find out what is required in your state. It wouldn’t hurt for you to get a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney who can answer that and can help you understand your options if the judgment is valid but you can’t pay it.

  • Tom

    Hi my Name is Tom,
    I have a judgement against me with a credit card that was supposedly opened when I was 16. The debt collecting company has my social security number on file with the account. However when I contact the company with the card they claim my social security card does not match. I have never had a card from this particular company ever. My parents have never had a card from this particular company. What can I do?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You will need to consult a consumer law attorney to find out how to get the judgment vacated. You may also have a credit damage case. The first consultation should be free or at low cost. Alternatively you could try to find out what the procedure is in your state to file to have the judgment vacated but that can be difficult to do yourself. If you need help finding an attorney you can try visiting the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates or the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

  • http://www.susandharris.com/ Susan D. Harris

    My parents fell on hard times, became disabled, advanced Alzheimers, in wheelchairs, and I lost my job as I decided to take care of them in my home instead of sending them off to a nursing home to have the state and feds subsidize their care with tens of thousands of dollars. I used my entire 401k trying to care for them and stay afloat. Now I am being sued for the credit I was unable to pay back. I work hard 24/7 and hardly get any sleep. I am not a loser. I am not a freeloader. If they were to take my car to pay my debt, both of my parents would have to go into a nursing home because I would not be able to care for them without a car. Then social security and Medicaid would spend thousands of dolllars more for their care – from you the taxpayer. Tell me how that falls on your high moral compass.

  • stacey

    My ex had a car, I signed as cosigner. 2 years later we separated and divorced. I called the company and told them I wanted my name off vehicle and told them where the car was if he stopped paying. The lady told me there was no way to get my name off unless he went and took me off. We were living 10 hours away from each other and no longer talked. Of course he stopped paying. This was in 2002.
    In 2005 I received a letter saying I was going to get a judgement against me if I didn’t pay it off. I told them I couldn’t pay it off and I tried to get my name off car. So now in 2015 I get notice that they have a judgement against me and want money. This judgement is 10 years old and I’ve never receive garnishments, now 10 years after judgement they want money. I’m on disability and can barely pay bills as it is. Isn’t there a statute of limitations on how long they can come after me.i never received court dates, nothing just one notice in 2004 or 5 saying they were going to get a judgement.like I said they’ve never garnished my wages and just went on disability for multiple issues with my back. Degenerative disk disease, scoliosis, arthritis and 3 herniated disks, a torn disk and multiple levels are disk disorders in my neck which cause me pain daily. Shouldn’t I have heard something between these 10 years.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Stacey – it is really hard to tell. Maybe the debt was in limbo. Maybe they tried to find you but couldn’t. The problem with an unpaid judgment is that in many states it can be renewed and they can last for a very long time.

      It sounds to me like you may be what’s referred to as “judgment proof,” which essentially means there is not a lot they can do to collect even with the judgment. But I’d really like to have you talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney to make sure. The attorney will tell you what they can and cannot do to collect and the consult should be free. You can find one by visiting the website of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. Hopefully they can get you the specific answers you need to put your mind at rest!

  • Connie

    I would like to know how I can put a judgement on someone’s credit. They owe me a lot of money & I went to court and won the judgement, but the clerks in the office at the court house told me that they don’t report judgements on civil case’s, I would have to do that. I did not get a lawyer because it was just over 2000.00 and lawyer fee’s would eat it up. If anyone know please help. Thanks Connie

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You should be able to do it yourself but the procedure varies by jurisdiction. Talk to the clerk and ask them how to get a certified copy of the judgment (or the abstract of judgment). Then ask them the procedure for filing a judgment lien. They should be able to tell you what paperwork need to be completed and where it must be filed, or the information may be available on the court’s website.

  • Ritagee

    I have a judgement on my credit that is ober 10 years old, I was recently notified by the state of MS that they were suspending my drivers licence because of this, what can I do to defend myself here?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You’ll need to talk with a consumer law attorney in your state to find out what your options are for resolving the judgment. I am sorry we can’t be more specific but given that it’s about to affect your license, we’d recommend you get legal advice. If you can’t afford an attorney you may want to find out if Legal Aid can assist.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Lisa, One of our contributors who is a consumer law attorney has written a more recent article on this topic. Beyond that we’ll have to suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney. I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report. Now What?

  • Dwayne Goynes

    I had a judgement passed on me and wages garnished I made all payment and now they a demand more money for intrest.I thought once a judge said the amount that was what you pay how can they now change that I feel my right’s are being violated

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Contact a consumer bankruptcy attorney right away. There may be a way to save your home but you’ll need legal advice. If you need help finding one you can try the website of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    This article contains a link to the courts where you can research the judgment. And I think you’ll find additional helpful information there. It’s written by a consumer law attorney: I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report. Now What?

  • Lexis4ll

    I am being sued by Discover Card. The Law firm that is suing me has been hired by another law firm to sue me. In other words, a law firm hired another law firm to sue me on behalf of Discover Card. Is this legal?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Why wouldn’t it be?

  • vb

    Hi I have a judgement against me and was wondering if the lawyer can get more attorney fees then the amount that was stated on the jungement.

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      It depends on your agreement with the lawyer.

      • Vb

        I did not know about this until my employer notified me. The court papers had an amount for lawyer fees. He is the lawyer for the company. Now he is saying that he is adding more fees into balance along with the amount he is taking out each payment.

        • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

          We are not lawyers, and we cannot give you legal advice. It sounds as if you could use the advice of a different lawyer.

  • Jean

    I have a judgement for a credit card in my name only in PA. I cannot pay because myself and my husband became unemployed for quite sometime. If we sell our home, the mortgage is in husband’s name but house in both our names will they take the judgement money out of the proceeds of the home sale?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Please consider talking with a bankruptcy attorney before you decide what to do. Selling your home in order to pay an unsecured debt is probably not your best option.

  • Pam

    We just heard we have a judgement from a credit card company.
    can they garnish our wages?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      If you do not make arrangements to pay, they could. Were you unaware they were taking legal action against you? (You should have been informed of a court date.)

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    My first suggestion is that you send the attorney’s office a certified mail stating it is not convenient for you to receive calls on that number and to stop calling it. If the calls continue then I suggest either getting a consumer law attorney involved or filing a complaint with the CFPB.

  • Windy

    They just filled it and I never went court and kept making payments and if I didn’t she said she go thru with the filling.

  • Windy

    I also have a question. I took out a payday loan at a local place. Bad idea. Never do it again. I couldn’t pay it back. I fell behind. It went collectionns. I quit making payments. They then sent it over to courts. Filled with them. I then called them back and set up payments with collection place. I just made finial payment. On my credit report it has it listed for 500$ in public records in County it was in. No date or anything. I’m not sure if this is a true judgment? Thecollection agency says I can dispute this and get it taken completely off my repeort. I need a vehicle very badly. I am current at a 555 and 595 and my husband is 610 and 599. what do I do next? Please help with some advice. The credit union denied us because of this judgment. Now it is paid as of yesterday! ! What next?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      The judgment creditor (it sounds like perhaps that was the collection agency you were paying?) is likely by law required to file paperwork with the court noting that the judgment is satisfied. That’s typically their job, not yours. I suggest you send them a written demand insisting that they file a satisfaction of judgment with the court. You’ll have to check with the court to find out specifically how long they have to do this. If they don’t, you may be entitled to damaged.

      Also keep in mind that if you pay a judgment you can’t expect the credit report to be updated in a single day. Credit reporting agencies collect information from public record sources and they are usually updated monthly. Also, paying a judgment does not automatically remove it from your credit reports. It may be reported for up to seven years from the date it was entered by the court. If it’s been longer than that, then it should come off soon but if it’s more recent, it will remain though it should indicate that it is paid.

      If you can get something in writing from the judgment collector stating it was paid, perhaps your credit union will work with you.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Have you asked the judgment creditor how much they are charging in interest? Without that information it is impossible to calculate how long it will take you to pay it off.

    But let’s say they aren’t charging you interest and you owe about $9000. At $180 a month you’ll have roughly fifty payments – a little over four years – left to pay. If they are charging you interest it could take you longer.

  • shud

    There was a judgement against me and i didn’t even know the issue was going to court. I tried to settle the debt in the time prior by making a payment plan, but the creditor did not offer them and wouldn’t take partial payment. I have worked very hard and sacrificed to get my credit where it is and I have a good credit score (high 700’s). I pay my debts as best I can and I would have paid this one too; I just didn’t have the lump sum. Is there anyway I can appeal this decision?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      shud —
      If you were never notified (or served), you may be able to get that judgment vacated. Start with contacting the court that issued the judgment. And also see: How Can I Erase Judgments From My Credit Reports?

  • Eliz

    can you get send to jail if you can`t pay the debt the company wants in 2 weeks?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    What is the item you would be returning?

    I want to be sure I understand what you have going on.

    There has been no repo, but you were sued for nonpayment and there is a judgment entered in court against you.

    You are making payments on the judgment, and are wondering if you just returned the property to them, if that would square things up and you would not need to make payments any longer?

    Do I have this right?
    Was the property not the subject of the loan, but something you pledged as collateral?

    • Kisha Smith

      It’s a vehicle used to secure the loan. It’s also stated on judgement as a lien on it.

      • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

        Thanks. It sounds like a title loan then?

        Talk things over with a consumer law attorney in your state to be sure what your rights and responsibilities are.

        It sounds like you no longer want the car, but they probably don’t either. They just want cash. The car is a burden.

        If you turn it in voluntarily, it will have to be auctioned, and will likely fetch the lowest price. Those funds can be used to pay down the loan, but depending on how much is owed on the judgment, there will still be a balance left over that you will need to resolve.

  • howie wootten

    I have a jugement against me from someone who took my car and got into a accident with it the car had no insurance on it at the time now, my licence us suspend in the matter. Need a lawyer to help me on this matter

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      The search function on the websites of the National Association of Consumer Advocates or the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys may be useful. You could also try your local legal aid society.

      But really, the best time to fight this is before there is a judgment, unless there is a reason it should be set aside.

  • http://blog.credit.com/ Kali Geldis

    Hi Confused —

    Here’s a good article we wrote recently on SSI garnishment that may answer your questions:


  • Marcia Gutenberg Snover

    I have a hospital bill. I been paying every month we tried to apply for help but we make to much Money most of it is for low income. as long as I am trying to pay each month can they still go after me

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Did you do a voluntary turn in? It is possible to have a repo on your credit along with the judgment.

    What type of payments are you making (if any)?

  • mike

    Who do I pay to settle my judgement? The bank that I originally had the debt with, or the collection company? The judgement shows the bank as the plaintiff, but the collection company is collecting my garnished wages.

  • Scott

    I paid off my judgement from Wells Fargo over a month ago and they still haven’t released the lien they placed on my house. I can’t refinance until they do. What do I do??????

  • Mary Mary

    I have a judgment against me for an unpaid second mortgage in a home my ex-husband still occupies. I’m not sure how to get this taken care of. And I am wondering if I have a paid-off vehicle in my name if the mortgage company can take the vehicle?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I would urge you to consult a consumer bankruptcy attorney. They attorney can tell you what the creditor can and cannot do to collect from you as well as what your options are with regard to the judgment. Another thing that concerns me is whether you could end up with a tax bill for the unpaid second. If so, bankruptcy may help you avoid that. There is a lot to consider here and I would imagine it is not a small amount of money that’s involved so please talk with a professional who can go over your situation with you. These articles may help too: Can Debt Collectors Repossess My Car? and What is a 1099-C? Your Top 11 Questions Answered

      • Mary Mary

        Thank you very much! Yes, the second mortgage was foreclosed on/judgment for $99,000.

  • Steve

    I was sued for a small amount in Indiana, I live in Texas. The court told me I could appear by letter, yet they refused my letter and entered a default judgement. I did not owe the money, this was a big company black mail. I don’t understand how they could get a judgement, but they did. It would have cost me three times the amount to travel up there. Living in Texas, what can they do with an Indiana Judgement besides nicking my Credit score which they already did? Is there any way to fight this from Texas?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      There is a very helpful organization in Texas that may be able to help you with the legal questions here. I suggest you try the Texas Consumer Complaint Center.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It’s confusing to say the least. If there was a judgment filed against you it seems likely that you would see it on one of your credit reports. I wonder if they have mixed you up with someone else. It sounds like they bought a mailing list and perhaps it’s wrong.

  • Dana

    what kind of attorney do i need to help me negotiate a settling a judgement?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      If you want help from an attorney I recommend you talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney. The judgment creditor may be open to negotiation if they know you are also considering bankruptcy. Visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys if you need help finding one.

  • Syncere

    Hi. I am attempting to pay in full an amount won from a judgement years ago. They attorney is refusing to accept my in full payment. What should I do? I keep going through loops of who they say have the account now although the court says it is in one office that is directing me elsewhere.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You may be able to challenge it but it will probably require the assistance of a consumer law attorney. We wrote about that in this article: How to Kill Zombie Judgments on Your Credit Report

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Sherri —
    No, you can’t do that, but apparently you are not the only person who has hoped this strategy would work. You can read more here:
    Here’s our post about it:
    Can I Get a Debt Collector to Settle for Less Than I Owe?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Have you at least talked with a bankruptcy attorney to find out if you are “judgment proof?” If not I’d recommend you at least get a free consultation with one. The attorney can tell you what happens next and help you decide whether saving up to file for bankruptcy is a good idea.

  • Sarah

    Hi they froze my bank account. I lost my job. What I have in my account. That’s all I have. They said they serve me in ny but I live in nj. Could they still froze the account. Isn’t the law different from states.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Sarah – So sorry to hear this. It’s hard for me to say whether you were properly notified of the lawsuit. Please talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. You should be able to get a free consultation and they should be able to explain your rights here.

  • Anna

    I have a judgement on my credit report from a previous landlord from 6 years ago. I have just recently come across a little bit of money and have been trying to contact her to settle the judgment. But thus far I have been unsuccessful in getting in contact with her. I called the court and all they were able to give me was the address that she used at the time to file. I have tried calling her at numerous numbers that I have located online for her, but they are all non working numbers. I’ve even located her on Facebook to have her contact me so that we can discuss and I still haven’t heard any response from her.

    Now what do I do?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I don’t know anything about background checks for firearm purchases. Is a paid judgment OK or are you not allowed to have a judgment against you period? If the former then it sounds like the judgment is still listed as unpaid and you need to get a satisfaction of judgment filed by the judgment creditor with the court.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You are right to be cautious about how you try to collect; however you probably have additional means for collecting at your disposal since you have a judgment. I’d recommend you either find out whether the court you received the judgment in has more information about your options for collecting. You could also try hiring a collection agency or collection attorney on contingency.

  • David Novello

    I had a judgement against me and lost in court I paid for a few months and cannot afford ta pay
    Also the same judgement was put against my partner for the same reasons and he won and did not have to pat a dime

    I have filed for bank, I already filled for bankrutpcey, and the case against me was for this reason

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      So sorry to hear that. Hope you’re able to get back on your feet financially again soon.

      • David Novello

        so I have this judgement for $50,000 I have paid just over $8000,and have not paided in a few months.
        Now they have sent my a registered letter and a demand to pay but I don’t have any money to pay can they do anything, I have no assits, or bank account

        • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

          It doesn’t sound like it. But judgments can continue to accrue interest. It may be time to talk with a bankruptcy attorney to see whether it makes sense to just put this behind you.

          • David Novello

            Here’s the thing, I have already gone bankrupt, 4 years ago

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It depends on how they were required to serve you at the time and that varies. You’ll need to talk with a consumer law attorney. If you are having trouble finding an attorney, try the search function on the websites of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Liz –

    Please meet with a consumer bankruptcy attorney. Even if you don’t want to file the attorney will be able to explain your options so you can hopefully keep a reasonable amount of your paycheck for living expenses.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Here is a helpful article about
    judgments in Florida. If you still have concerns about this judgment I encourage to you talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney who can explain your options.

    • laffykathy

      Thank You

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Tanya —
    We reached out to Georgia attorney Johathan Ginsberg on your behalf. Here’s what he told us: The interest rate you cite is likely per year, not per day. You can’t go back to court but you could file bankruptcy, or, if you can get some money together, make a lump-sum offer to settle it.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    According to the Las Vegas constable’s office, all garnishments expire in 120 days and must be refiled. So presumably you could challenge it then. But I’d recommend you talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney who can explain your options to you.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    What state are you in, Tanya?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If there is a judgment then it already is on the credit reports.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Not that I am aware of. In most states, judgments can be renewed, but I don’t know what the notification requirements are state-by-state. You might want to check with your state attorney general’s office, the court, or a consumer law attorney.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    In most states, judgments can continue to accrue interest. And there may be other fees as well.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Unless this is a federal debt (like a federal student loan) they probably can’t intercept your student loan but they may be able to get to it once it is in your bank account it’s another story. I’d suggest you at least meet with a bankruptcy attorney to find out what they can and cannot do to collect from you. (It varies by state.)

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You can talk with a consumer law attorney. If they did not properly serve you, you may be able to get the judgment set aside but this is difficult to navigate on your own. We wrote about that scenario here: Help! I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I assume they are trying to collect more than what’s shown on your credit reports? Judgments can often accrue interest which may account for the discrepancy in amounts.

    As for the garnishment, I’d suggest you at least consult a consumer bankruptcy attorney who can explain your options to you. They should be able to explain what judgment creditors can do to collect in your state as well as what your options may be with regard to the wage garnishment.
    If you need help finding an attorney, you may want to try the website of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    It depends on how soon the creditor reports it to the credit bureaus.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Jameshia – Have you talked with a consumer bankruptcy attorney? Even if bankruptcy isn’t the route for you, perhaps you should consider talking with one. They can explain what the creditor can and cannot do to collect. The consultation will be free or low cost. It may be a good idea to get an outside opinion on the situation. (As for your specific question – I don’t know.)

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Typically your income tax refund can’t be seized by creditors before you get it unless you owe some kind of federal or state debt (for example, a federal student loan or past due child support). Once you deposit your tax refund in your bank account, though, it is possible for a judgment creditor to try to levy your bank account. I would really encourage you to talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney to find out what the judgment creditor can and can’t do to collect, and to figure out how to deal with this debt.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Please talk with a bankruptcy attorney. I know you don’t want to file and it’s perfectly fine for you to tell the attorney that. If there are alternatives they can tell you based on all your financial information. And if it’s the best choice for your situation, then move forward and when it’s complete you can start rebuilding your credit. I know it’s a tough time for you, but sometimes bankruptcy is the best way to move forward.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    What state do you live in? Did you live there when you took out the debt? When did they get the judgment?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Joe – Please consult a bankruptcy attorney to find out what your rights are. How judgment creditors can collect debt varies by state. Also, in most states they can charge interest, so if you are paying it down slowly you may be stuck in debt for a long time. (Unlike credit cards and other loans they don’t have to send statements – so sometimes consumers pay for years only to discover the balance is about where it was when they started!) I would really encourage you to get legal advice. The first consultation should be free or at very low cost. If you need help finding an attorney you can use the website of the the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Possibly yes. You’ll need to dig a little deeper to find out what happened.

    • tiredofignorance

      okay well I guess my real true question is if they did not file within 10 years statute of limitation can they file after the 10 year statute of limitations

      • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

        If depends on your state’s laws. Judgments can often be renewed but if they missed the window they may be out of luck. (Furthermore, I am confused by why it would be on your Lexis-Nexis consumer report. They must abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act as they are a nationwide consumer reporting agency…)

  • Mike

    I have a judgement filed listed on my credit report. No closing date or anything else. It was part of my bankruptcy five years ago. Should it still be listed?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I assume you discharged the balance in your bankruptcy? Satisfied judgments may be reported for seven years from the date the judgment was entered by the court. It sounds like the information listed is incomplete. If that’s the case, by law, you can dispute it with the credit reporting agencies. A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes

  • dave

    i got a judgemeny against me and i never got served or any paperwork sent to the house. the only thing i got sent to me is the judgement and the info for the agency. can i go back to court and dispute this

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      We suggest you talk with a lawyer who specializes in debt collection. You can file a motion to vacate, but that will depend on when the judgment occurred. States have limits on how long after the judgment occurred that you may file.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s illness and the hardship it has created for your family. I would encourage you to meet with a bankruptcy attorney now to find out what your options are. You may be able to file Chapter 13.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    They can sell the debt to a collection agency, and interest can often be added to a judgment, but the amount allowed varies by state. You’ll need to find out what’s allowed in your state. You may want to check with a consumer law attorney and/or your state attorney general.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    They can sell the debt to a collection agency, and interest can often be added to a judgment, but the amount allowed varies by state. You’ll need to find out what’s allowed in your state. You may want to check with a consumer law attorney and/or your state attorney general.

  • Jules

    Can an on-line payday company take you to court for not paying. Loan was for $300 – paid $360 and then stopped. Now they have a company called PDA Group threatening to serve papers to me. This was done in 2011.

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Jules —
      Possibly. However a lending company cannot serve papers. That is done by a process server. Please ask the payday loan company for a verification of the debt (this is sent via postal mail, and federal law requires they send it if you request it). And be sure the collector calling you is the actual owner of the debt. Try using Credit.com’s search function (magnifying glass at top right of webpages) to find more information on scams, payday loans and debt collection.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Sounds like it is either a scammer or an illegal threat. Please talk with a consumer law attorney immediately. You can find one through the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. 9 Signs You Are Talking to a Debt Collection Scammer

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    No they can’t throw you in jail because you can’t afford to pay your debt. However, it may be possible that they could try to go after whatever assets you have. I would strongly recommend you meet with a consumer bankruptcy attorney who can explain your options to you. The consultation should be free or very low cost. Hopefully they can explain to you want the judgment creditor can and cannot do to collect. Another option may be to get help for free from your local Legal Aid office.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to that question. You’ll need to talk with a consumer law attorney familiar with state landlord tenant laws.

  • AG0676

    I have a judgement against me that I have been attempting to pay for years. However the company no longer exist. What do I do?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Can you be more specific about what problem you are encountering when trying to pay it? What state is it in? How old is it?

  • Donna

    You know people like you really put me off. We know we owe money, I know I’d like to pay my debt, but all this happened starting in 2008 when the market crashed and when the banks bundled the homes they never should have sold to people with low incomes. So get off your high horse and admit that just possibly some of these rich government/wall street/banks who have lots of money didn’t (care) about us and still don’t, just like you. Btw, I don’t qualify for SSI because I get 970/mo for taking care of my kids and following my ex military husband around for 16 years. Try living off that… . I can’t work because I just had back surgery and it makes it impossible to stand for any length of time or sit. I can’t lift above 10 lbs otherwise I’d work retail, so quit judging people and how they live, you don’t know what people have tried to do to get out of this mess.

    • t

      Exactly. These comments from the ones on their high horses really irritate me. So quick to judge.yes we owe a bill the ones condemning us are probably rich sitting on their buts behind a desk or maybe were born into money and don’t work. We work our a#### off to still struggle. So all these snooty people can kiss it

      • Silver Savior

        I agree completely. The rich have no problem paying their bills but belittle the ones with less resources.

      • Jem

        The best you can do is pay down your debt every month with what you have. If you don’t have much find ways to bring in more. Go to school or get another job. The people out there on SSI and disability benefits are still allowed to work and go to school. You can even get an online occupation. Like editing or marketing. Use your creativity and you can pay your bills.

  • Marcus

    I have a judgement against me for a repossessed vehicle. I was not notified that I owed any money after the sale of the vehicle, that the debt was sold to a third party, or that it was going to court for a judgement. The company that has the judgement says that I now owe 4 times what was supposedly owed after the sale of the vehicle. I wasn’t contacted until 6 years after the sale… the odd thing is that the third party hasn’t reported the judgement on my credit. the original party had it on my credit as a “charge off” sold to third party, and then changed it to a collection with an amount owed after 6 1/2 years..

  • Jules Bentley

    I just got a judgment against me for carpet property damage. The owner doesn’t own the property anymore it got forclosed on. Would it be advisable for me to appeal as this foreclosure information was not told to the judge

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I’m afraid I just don’t know. It would really depend on the facts and circumstances but a judgment is serious enough to your credit that I would recommend to at least talk with a consumer law attorney with experience with credit reporting. If you have trouble finding one you can visit the website of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If there was a judgment then they may be able to get those funds from your bank account. But I am not sure if they can force your account into a less than zero balance. I would definitely suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    George —
    We’re sorry to hear about the work and financial crises you’ve been through. Your wages can’t be garnished without a judgment, and they would have to go to court to get the garnishment. It would be a good idea for you to get free annual credit reports
    to check for any judgments. It’s also smart to get your free credit score and keep an eye on that. It’s hard to understand how this could have been worked out if you had received the letter at home rather than at work. (And why are they sending correspondence about a furniture purchase to your workplace?) If your account has been turned over to a collections agency, you can ask them not to contact you at work, and by law, they must stop. Here’s more information that may be useful: The Ultimate Guide to Debt Collectors

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    We recommend you consult a consumer law attorney for help. What state do you live in? Who obtained the judgment and when?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Your best next step would be to consult with an experienced consumer law attorney with a practice focused on debt defense. Most offer a no cost initial consult. Go to http://www.naca.net and seee if one is listed near you.

    Getting something like this dismissed is not impossible if you can fit into the reasons for why courts will undo judgments.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    There is a market for judgment debts, so the notice could be related to a sale. It could also mean the firm that handled accounts for the plaintiff no longer does any work for them.

    How old is the judgment?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    I would start off with contacting an experienced consumer law attorney, and one with a practice focused on debt collection defense. There are a couple of really good ones east of the mountains that I talk about in this post: http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/question/debt-defense-fdcpa-violation-attorney-recommendation-spokane/

    You may be able to find some with similar experience in western Washington through http://www.naca.net.

    Distance does not have to be an issue with these cases, and I know that Miller (who I link to above), handles cases across Washington.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Sarah – Did your banker pull your credit from one agency and not all three by chance? If so it is possible it showed up on one and not the others. Also, in the future I do not recommend asking a lender to pull your credit for you unless you are applying for a loan. It creates a hard inquiry which affects your scores. (If you get it yourself though a consumer service it doesn’t not affect your scores.) Here’s how to get your free annual credit reports.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Are you saying that you paid the principal balance but there is still interest owed? In many states interest can be charged on judgments (at high rates). Have you tried to negotiate with them?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Please clarify. What exactly happened and where is this term coming from? If you have a document, please quote from the document.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Be sure to bring this up with the legal aid office.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I have not sure I understand what you mean by is there a timeframe they can file? Can you clarify your question?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Nathan – from your email address it appears you are in the UK correct? Unfortunately, we don’t know how the system works there and will encourage you to get advice from someone locally.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Generally, yes. You will want to get any deal you workout (agreement to pay full amount for dismissal) in writing.

    How much is the lawsuit for, and who is suing?
    Have you consulted with an attorney of your own?

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    In Colorado, it appears that a writ of continuing garnishment lasts 180 days. We would urge you to consider a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney or to call your local legal aid society to learn about exactly what your rights are and what options you have.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Yes, in most states, judgments can be renewed. Unfortunately there aren’t many good options with private student loans.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am sorry I don’t understand your question…can you clarify it?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You’ll need to either settle or pay it, unless you try a collateral attack against the judgment itself. We wrote about that in this story: How to Kill Zombie Judgments on Your Credit Report

  • Salsero

    I fell into hard times and contacted a Debt Management company to help me pay off my debts. They negotiated my bills with 10 of 11 companies and settled and paid them. Only one did not accept and sued me. It is pending in court. What did I do? Become “Judgement Proof”. My house is protected by law from all creditors except from the mortgage holder so I’m good there. All my income is federally protected as it is from military retirement and SS, so no garnishment or levies against bank accounts are possible. What the creditor could go after were my paid off car (which I traded in for a new one and now I have a lien so they cannot touch it) and my paid off motorcycle (which I sold and put the money into the principal of my mortgage which is perfectly legal) so now they cannot get jack***t from me. I am looking forward to them taking me to court just to see their lawyer’s faces when I tell the judge I will not give them a dime and they cannot do a damn thing about it.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      It’s really a shame that one creditor out of 11 refused to work with you!

  • j.

    I have severe, multiple chronic illnesses and my identity was stolen five years ago. At the time, I was just starting a business from home because of my health and had several credit cards. As a result of these problems, and other life events including work loss earlier this year, I couldn’t make even reduced credit card payments. I finally managed to get my life on track again this August, but I was served with papers for a judgment hearing from one of the credit card card companies. After speaking with the company, I made an arrangement to pay the total in monthly payments over the course of the next two years. The credit card company also tried to charge interest, but they agreed to waive it. Because I couldn’t settle with a shorter payment plan immediately, they’re still getting a judgment against me but I was told that it would be a judgment by agreement. I received and signed paperwork that clearly outlines the terms of the repayment. I spoke with a representative at the magisterial district judge’s office today to follow-up on what will happen going forward and she told me that the payment arrangement won’t be listed in the judgment — only the full amount — and that I would receive paperwork after the judgment outlining the same.

    Is that normal?

    I thought the judgment would show the full amount, the payment agreement and state that the judgment was the result of an agreement between myself and the credit company. Additionally, how does this sort of thing effect other aspects of a person’s life? I know that the judgment will be on public record but what other negative impact might I see in other areas of my life, if any?

    Thank you.

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Ideally you will want to run your scenario and questions by an experienced debt collection consumer law attorney in your state.

      Your consent to the judgment means you agree to the debt, amount, and way any defenses. The judgment is the full amount without any reference to your agreeing, or the payment plan, as you could just as well make a payment or 5 and the stop them. The attorney is securing the best interests of their client, not yours.

      Generally speaking, if you keep your end of the deal, not much more than the credit reporting impacts, and the knock on affects of that, will happen.

      What you outlined is fairly normal for the situation. Who is the plaintiff/creditor?

      • j.

        Thank you for your reply. I am well aware that the attorney is securing the best interest of their client and not my own.

        I saw that a lot of people asked questions on here and thought it wouldn’t hurt to do the same.

        The creditor is Capital One. The paperwork was an agreement to enter default judgment, but the document clearly outlines the “agreement,” which includes the payment arrangement, and that they’re only trying to make sure that if I don’t meet the payments they can proceed with whatever they’re allowed to do under the law.

        The wording of the document is why I was confused about the fact that the judgment itself won’t the mention the agreement since it’s all about them getting their money IF I don’t keep making payments and the representative for the attorney stated that it was a “default judgment by agreement.”

        I also have two additional questions:

        1. I’ve read that a default judgment is the failure of one party to take action or respond to the complaint. BUT, I took action and that action is clearly stated as the payment arrangement. That’s why I’m confused. I did speak to an attorney twice and he originally told me to try to get the attorney to agree to a waived or pended judgment but then told me that most companies won’t do that unless you can pay faster, which I can’t afford to do. It’s all very confusing to me.

        2. Do I have the right to request to view the documents that the attorney for the creditor supplied the court to see if they’re the same ones I signed?

        3. What did you mean by “knock on affects” of credit reporting impacts and those impacts (i.e. what are those)?

        Thank you.

        • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

          It is a bit odd if the docs you sign are captioned as a “default”, where this is more of a consent to judgment. The caption for the order could be a local court rule, a mistake by plaintiff attorney, or something else. But it is likely semantics, with no measurable impact.

          The doc you sign should be the exact doc filed with the court. If it is not, that is a problem, and something to talk over with your own attorney.

          Knock on impacts of a judgment on your credit could include lower credit scores, impaired ability to get credit approval, and for some time, visibility by employer if credit is checked when hiring, or for advancement.

    • j.

      To the site moderator: I posted a reply to Michael below, it was awaiting moderation and now it’s missing. I also would like Gerri’s opinion as well, if at all possible. Thank you.

      • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

        Paid judgments may be reported for seven years. Unpaid judgments may remain until the statute of limitations expires, which can be a lot longer. As for the specifics of what the paperwork must contain, this will vary by state and so I can’t tell you specifically what your paperwork will include. But as far as your credit reports are concerned, the only thing that really matters is whether it’s paid or unpaid since that’s what affects the reporting period. The fact that you’re making payments in the interim will not help your credit scores.

        As for other aspects of your life, this is public record information so presumably anyone who wanted to obtain the information could. It will come into play in any credit transaction, including buying (and possibly selling) real estate.

      • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

        The board is moderated during business hours, Eastern Time, excluding holidays and weekends. Your “missing” comment has now been posted.

      • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

        I’m sorry I thought I replied to your question earlier. Not sure what happened to it. With regard to the paperwork, I can’t comment on that specifically because I’m not familiar with what’s involved in each state.

        But as far as the judgment is concerned, paid judgments can remain on your credit reports for seven years. Unpaid judgments can remain until the statute of limitations expires, which can be a much longer time frame. So in that sense, there is a benefit to resolving a judgment in terms of your credit. Unfortunately, however, making payments toward a judgment doesn’t improve your credit scores. I’m not sure if that’s what you’re asking, but whether or not you’re making payments in the meantime would be a matter between you and the creditor and wouldn’t really affect your scores.

        As far as it affecting other aspects of your life, this is public record information so it is possible that somebody else can obtain it. It could also turn up in an employment background check, or if you’re trying to get a small business loan for example.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    So sorry to hear what you are dealing with. Your disability income may be safe from creditors. So it may be there is nothing they can really do to try to collect. I would recommend you consult with a consumer bankruptcy attorney to find out if that’s the case. You can search for an attorney in your area at the NACBA website.

  • Patricia Delaney

    Can they garnish my disability check , which is all I have as income ? And my daughter has both of us on her car title , in case something happen to her can they take the car

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler


      Your disability check may be protected from creditors but there are exceptions, and so it really recommend you talk with a consumer law attorney in your area.

      Read more: New Federal Rule Protects Benefits from Garnishment

      You should be able to get a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney who can explain to you whether your income is safe. They can also explain to you whether there any risks associated with you being co-owner of the vehicle.

      I think the bigger question is whether you will ever be able to pay this judgment, and if not, whether it might make sense for you to file for bankruptcy to avoid future hassles. The attorney should be able to help you weigh your options there.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Landlord-tenant laws vary greatly by state and municipality so unfortunately we can’t comment on whether the landlord broke the law here. However, here is a resource where you can research state landlord tenant laws.

    In addition, you may want to talk with a consumer law attorney to find out about your options for handling this debt. If you can’t afford one, you may be eligible for help from Legal Aid.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Any liens linked to the property will have to be paid from the sales proceeds. Consult a real estate attorney for details.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Talk with a bankruptcy attorney. Many, but not all, judgments can be discharged in bankruptcy.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Unfortunately, once a judgment is entered that judgment is subject to its own statute of limitations in most states that lasts for 10 to 20 years and can be renewed. In addition, judgments give judgment creditors additional methods to collect. I’d suggest you talk with the consumer law attorney with experience in student loan law. You can find one at TheStudentLoanLawyer.com.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    You should be able to. You can file a dispute with all three credit-reporting agencies, and after they investigate your claim (send supporting documentation via certified mail, and keep copies of everything), it should be removed. Here’s how to dispute it with the credit reporting agencies:
    A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes

  • Torrie Haynes

    I have a judgment against me that I was just made aware of by a garnishment being done. When I inquired about it, I was told it was from 2002! For a check I supposedly wrote for $27.88!! I have not had a checking account since 2001 due my checks being stolen and I refused to got through the hassle of checks. They are attempting to garnish me over $1300!!! I live in the state of KS. I understand that a judgment can be renewed, but this seems extremely ridiculous even if this amount includes attorney fees, court costs, etc. They only provided me the account number and honestly I don’t remember what bank that it was written on. I am definitely wanting to dispute this. PLEASE HELP!!

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Once there is a judgment in place, it is not as simple as disputing a debt if there were no court action.

      You can contest wage garnishment as causing an undo hardship. The result could be that you qualify for partial, or even full exemption.

      Contact the court and ask for specific steps to request a hearing to contest wage garnishment.

      I would contact a legal aid office in your area for advice about what to do next regarding just now learning about the judgement.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    We wrote about getting a judgment removed in the following article – but it will probably require legal help: How to Kill Zombie Judgments on Your Credit Report. You may be able to get an answer to your specific question from the
    Texas Consumer Complaint Center.

  • Dan

    I had a judgment against me for court costs of $700.00 for a civil suit I lost. I paid the creditor the full amount and they refused to satisfy the judgment after several requests to do so. After 3 months of requests, I finally sent the presiding judge a letter asking him to intervene along with proof that the creditor was paid. A copy of the letter was sent to the creditor also. The judge satisfied the judgment immediately and the creditor then followed up with paying the satisfaction fee and submitting the satisfaction form. My question is o I have an actionable claim against the creditor for not satisfying the judgment in a timely manner, which negatively affected my credit rating?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    I may have already answered your question in a bit more detail on my own site here: http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/question/judgment-collection-removed-from-credit-report-public-record/#comment-142865

    If it were me, and I had the cash, I would want to settle this as early as possible, in order to better plan for the home purchase.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    If it were me in your shoes, and with no collection activity all this time, I would let this lay until I had 60 to 80 percent of the judgment balance available to offer as settlement.

    My thinking is that without the ability to offer a realistic amount they would to take to settle the whole thing, or room in your budget each month to pay as much as they would want to get, you do risk them finally making extra ordinary collection efforts (garnishment, bank levy, etc).

    It is a little surprising that extra collection efforts were not made around the time of your car loan, and the two credit cards showing up.

    Do you have any way to pull together a lump sum of money to offer to settle now, as opposed to saving up what you can monthly?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Lulu – I am sorry but this question requires legal advice which we’re not able to provide. Perhaps a legal aid office in your area may be able to help.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Judgments aren’t always updated with payment information but it probably won’t matter much as far as your score is concerned. A judgment is considered negative whether it is paid or unpaid. But once it is paid you want to get it updated to reflect that so it will no longer be reported after 7 years (from the date the judgment was entered by the court). Unpaid judgments may be reported for a much longer period of time.

  • Suzie Heelen Primack

    I have a judgement against me, in oregon for a credit card Midland funding…never lived in oregon

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler
  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Your employment status doesn’t matter. Do they have a judgment against you or are you just falling behind? (And is this a credit union by chance?)

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    So sorry you’ve had so much trouble with this! What did the bankruptcy attorney say? What do you mean you paid your attorney $1500 and they fled with the money? Have you considered filing a complaint with your bar association.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Our condolences for your loss.

    Are you planning on selling the house? If so then the lien will likely have to be paid from the proceeds of the sale. If you aren’t planning on selling then I recommend you consult an estate planning attorney asap to find out whether a sale could be forced to satisfy the lien.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Are you selling the house? The lien will have to be paid off out of the proceeds of the sale. If you are not selling the house then I’d suggest you check with an estate planning attorney to find out whether a sale could be forced to satisfy the lien.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Sure – that would be a good idea. How long he has to file the documentation that the judgment has been satisfied depends on state law. You may want to contact the court or your state attorney genera’s office to find out.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    This sounds risky. I’d suggest you send them a certified letter stating your agreement and your understanding that you will not be sued if you meet the terms of the agreement. Keep a copy for your records. Then keep careful records of each payment.

    However I am concerned that they are roping you into payments with this vague statement that payments will have to increase in the future. I don’t think that’s a great approach. They may just be trying to extend the statute of limitations – which happened when you paid them the $200. How much do you owe? How long ago was the repo?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Seriously? The printer broke? She needs to talk with a manager.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I’d suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney. If you were not properly served it may be possible to get the judgment vacated but that’s hard to do without legal advice. Visit NACA.net to find a consumer law attorney in your area.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    That seems like a very large increase. Whether it’s legal depends on state law and the extra charges they have added. I’d suggest you consult a consumer law attorney to find out whether they are trying to collect more than they are legally entitled to collect.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I would suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney/ bankruptcy attorney to find out whether the amount they say you owe is correct. It’s one thing for a debt to increase, but for it to quadruple makes me wonder if the charges are legit.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Where do you live in Florida? If you are on the Gulf Coast please contact Gulf Coast Legal Services asap. They have excellent attorneys who will try to help. If you live elsewhere in the state try this directory of Legal Aid offices. You are probably “judgment proof” and I think you are going to feel a lot better if you get advice from an attorney. (The collectors threats may have been illegal by the way. If they are you may be entitled to damages.)

    If you can’t find a legal aid office that will talk with you then visit NACBA to find a consumer bankruptcy attorney. You should be able to get a free consultation to ask the attorney your questions.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Tracking down those receipts are the best things you can do to resolve the situation. But in the absence of those, it’s a good idea for her to talk with her attorney who may have some suggestions. If the attorney can’t help, she could try filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

  • dpavlako

    Of course it is. All they have to do is send it to someones LAST KNOWN address – it really isn’t there responsibility to track you down. Additionally, most courts will accept that if something is put in the US Mail that it is delivered. What the reciever does with it after it is delivered is up to the reciever – not the mailer.

    I’m not a fan of collection agencies, but that is really all that is required. It really wouldn’t be fair to put the burden on them to track down everyone they are sending something to. Most people who don’t pay their bills also move a lot. And I’m sure somewhere in the contract you signed there is a clause that you will notify them of any address changes.

    • kj56tat

      Why would it not be fair you do not know much do you? Collectors paid 2 cents on the dollar for an amount that i owed after i received a broken neck at work. They got a judgement on me because i could not afford an attorney to protect myself.once they got their judgmet they stole the money out of my sons educational account because i opened it when he was3 yrs old. They are nothing but bottom feeders that do not make loans just buy up all the debt they can for almost nothing and you think it should be fair for them. They are predators harming disabled disenfranchised old and yes children.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It’s possible they misled you about the status of the debt if you were making payments. I’d suggest you either talk with a consumer law attorney or file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (I’d lean toward the former – visit NACA.net for a referral.)

  • Fiona Adams

    I have a civil claim judgement against me which they tried to garnish my wages for, however, I do not make enough for them to do so. On my credit report it says this will be on record till Apr 2016, which will be ten yrs. I live in Illinois and from what I read the statute is 10 yrs, will this go away?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      It depends on what you mean by go away. It sounds like it will come off your credit reports in ten years. (Judgments can be reported for seven years if paid, or until the statute of limitations expires if unpaid.) But in many states judgments can be renewed. So it is possible that could happen. If they are successful they may still try to collect from you.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Don – Not sure what your question is…how can we help?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Unfortunately if they have already obtained a judgment that means you have already been sued and the court has determined you must repay the creditor. Hopefully the advice in this article will be helpful in that situation.

  • Harvey Stoner

    Hi. My son who is a minor is a judgment debtor on a court restitution order. I am not and neither is my wife. The creditor has put my name on its invoices as judgment debtor, threatens to start collection proceedings and report me to the credit reporting agencies.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Interest may be added to the judgment if your state laws allow it. You may want to contact your state attorney general’s office for more information.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You need to talk with your own consumer law attorney to find out whether the judgment creditor acted legally.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    We talked about getting a judgment vacated in this article: Help! I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report

  • Mona1992

    I had a BK Chapter #13 is 2011 where my vehicle loan was included. The Finance Co wasn’t too happy with that and ended up going to court to fight the judges orders on the BK which they ended up loosing their fight. One year later my case was dismissed due to my employer furloughing me and that made me no longer qualify for the payment plan under the BK Ch.13.

    My BK case was dismissed in Dec. 4 2012 and right as this happened I received several calls from the car finance company. They wanted me to pay $2,000+ to keep the vehicle plus continue to pay them the regular stipulated amount from the initial contract – due to the federal protection lift after the case dismissal. I was ok going back to the initial payment which was really high but I first wanted to know why they wanted $2k and where the payments that the Trustee sent to this company had been applied. I wanted to make sure that I was well aware of where the account stood and they refused to provide that. Because I didn’t have the $2k they wanted they came after me at work and repossessed the vehicle from my job site. After that, I never heard anything else but I did receive a letter from them telling me they’re intentions to sell the car.

    It is now June 2014 and I just had my credit report pulled from the finance company. I sent a letter requesting a reason why they pulled it and they send me back a copy of my signed vehicle purchase contract stating that I approved for them to do so at any time (or they say so). The letter also said that they tried reaching me with no success – although they have my correct work and home address since I have never moved – and that “we” (the finance company and I) have a court date scheduled for July 30th at the Superior Court. They state that due to not being able to contact me they pulled a credit report as a normal collection effort process. This of course is the first I hear of this court date. I am not sure if its a judgement meeting, but I’m guessing it is.. I have read information (in this site) of judgements and I’m getting ready to call the clerk’s office to get information on this meeting date, but I want to ask, shouldn’t I be served first? why don’t I have any documentation letting me know about this court date? I also want them to provide me with the summary of the account as I never got that from them.. Can I just call them and request it? I am afraid I will do something wrong and regret it later this is why I need your advice. I will be seeking a Attorney for legal advise but I feel anxious I need to know why it is that the account went from 5k after the sale of the car to $7k+. Finally, I read that they can garnish my wages up to 25% but I have 3 children that fully depend on me and I’m a single parent. I also support my 80-yr old mother who lives with me and I barely make it – which is why I ended up filing for a BK to start with.. I don’t know that I can survive if 25% of my check is taken out. Please help/advise. Thanks.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Mona – Was an attorney representing you in your bankruptcy? Is there a reason why he or she could not convert your case to Chapter 7? Is it possible to file Chapter 7 now? At any rate, it is entirely possible that additional costs were added to the debt but that doesn’t mean they were legitimate. And since you owe them this debt they are likely allowed to pull your credit reports. The real question is now whether you can find a way to resolve this without a judgment, and if you can’t what will happen if they get one. Unfortunately I can’t answer those questions as specifically as you need since it depends on state law and the individual circumstances of your situation.

      • Mona1992


        Thanks so much for your reply. First of, I apologize for not being that detailed – was trying to avoid writing a book on here – I am in California. As for your question as to “if I had an Attorney” for my BK. The answer is yes, the firm filed the Chapter 13 bk for me and then when it was dismissed they pretty much didn’t want to hear much from me, in fact after I paid them for the case filing they pretty much didn’t want to be bothered – each time I called with a question they’d be short, rude, and sometimes didn’t even answer me back :/

        At that time I ended up going to another Attorney for help and this one just ended up taking $500 and did nothing. Luckily after reading information on here I was able to recuperate that money back from him after using the information obtained here and 1-year later I received a reimbursement from him.

        So to get back to my case – I had a different Attorney review my case – two of them to be exact – and my situation is this: I was going to convert my Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 but after the 1.5yrs went by there was an increase in my home value. The total debt I had was about $40k and the home has an equity of approximately $90k. Therefore, both Attorney’s said that it wouldn’t be a good idea to file a Chapter 7 as the court could very possibly ask/force me to sell the home and then pay the creditors to clear everything out. Needless to say, being the single parent and not receiving child support, I wasn’t about to let my home go as it was beyond hard to even be able to purchase my home. I was left with the recommendation to try to work with creditors to pay back the amount due and every since (Sept. 2013) I’m stuck, afraid, and felt hopeless and I have no clue what to do now. I knew sooner or later something like this would come up but I was praying it didn’t.. Obviously, not being sued by at least one creditor was too much to pray for.. :/ I just need guidance.. I know that out of all my creditors this vehicle finance company was the only one to put a fight with my chapter 13 bk initially so I knew they were going to come back after me.

        • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

          Thanks for explaining this. Makes sense now. It sounds like you are either going to have to settle these debts, fight the lawsuits and/or just deal with the judgment when it happens. But you probably already knew that.

          All is not lost. You may have a defense against this lawsuit. Seven Ways To Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit

          Are you in Southern or Northern California?

          • Mona1992

            I live in Southern California.. Is there a difference? Well, honestly I figured the answer wouldn’t be a nice one 🙁 but I was hoping that there was something else that could be done.. I feel a bit intimidated by court and judgements and stuff since this is all new to me and I have never had these types of issues.. :/ Again Gerri thanks so much for the information. I guess I’ll just have to go and stand before a judge and hope for the best after preparing for that date.

  • kayla ashley

    I had a judgment last december and i was completely unaware of this, i never recieved any papers, i wasnt even living where the sent these papers but they won by default. Isnt this illegal?? What can i do about this? -Kayla

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      It is possible that you were not properly served with the notice of the lawsuit. That absolutely does happen. However, the procedure required varies by state. Either way you’ll likely need to talk with a consumer law attorney familiar with debt collection lawsuits in your state. You can find one at NACA.net. The first consultation will likely be free.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Kim –

    Please talk with a consumer law attorney. You are being sued for this debt and if you fail to respond properly they may get a judgment against you, which can complicate your financial life. If you can’t afford one, find out if there is a legal aid office or clinic in your area which can help you respond.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If it is legitimate then they can take you to court and if they are successful may get a judgment.

    Please be very careful here. This could be a scam. Scam payday loan collectors often threaten to file a judgment. Insist they send you the notice of the debt in writing – it is your right – (snail mail not email) and do not feel pressured to pay anything over the phone. Please read our other articles on payday loan debt collection scams:
    7 Ways to Stop Debt Collection Scam Calls

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If it is legitimate then they can take you to court and if they are successful may get a judgment.

    Please be very careful here. This could be a scam. Scam payday loan collectors often threaten to file a judgment. Insist they send you the notice of the debt in writing – it is your right – (snail mail not email) and do not feel pressured to pay anything over the phone. Please read our other articles on payday loan debt collection scams:
    7 Ways to Stop Debt Collection Scam Calls

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am so sorry to hear of your stress and your losses Denise. You cannot go to jail just because you can’t pay your debt. But having a judgment entered against you can create some additional problems for you. I would recommend you talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney to at least find out what they can and cannot do to try to collect from you. Knowing your rights here should put your mind at ease.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    I would encourage you to talk this whole situation over with a debt defense attorney. Most attorneys, with practices that focus on consumers rights in debt collection, offer a no cost initial consult. You can locate someone nearest you through http://www.naca.net.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Oscar – we moderate and answer questions on weekdays. I don’t see your question on this post though…?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Not typically. If you share a joint bank account, though, all those funds may be at risk. A consumer law attorney can tell you for certain what they can and cannot do to collect. (It varies by state.)

  • Love

    I have a judgment against me and I am trying to see if I can make monthly installments if they tell me no I cant and want to settle with a lump sum that I won’t be able to afford what should I do?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You can only do what you can do. Have you consulted with a bankruptcy attorney? Telling them that you’ve spoken with a bankruptcy attorney and are trying to avoid having to file might get their attention! (Please do so, however, so at least you understand your options.)

  • Ann

    If someone has a judgement against me would this affect my ability to collect on a debt that someone else owes me?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If the plaintiff did not properly serve you with the notice of the lawsuit then you may be able to get the judgment vacated. The procedure required to serve you can vary by jurisdiction. It’s recommended that you talk with a consumer law attorney. We wrote about that here: Help! I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Unfortunately, you’re not the only one who has had trouble with the same debt being reported multiple times. This post, Credit Report Double Jeopardy Means Double Damage, addresses the problem and contains advice from lawyers about how to take care of it.

    Good luck, and please let us know what happens.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If you didn’t sign for the joint account and had no knowledge of the debt then it’s not your responsibility. However, to prove that you weren’t involved you may have to file an identity theft affidavit. (That’s essentially what it is when someone gets credit in your name without your knowledge.) That puts you in a very tricky position to say the least.

  • Robert

    Ok so here is the short version: Creditor won a court ordered judgement for $2500 on a $6600 balance, I was never a part of the process as I was never served, and was out of state by then. My wages were garnished (how I found out I had been sued and lost), and court ordered judgment has since been paid in full ($2500). My CR has been updated from $6600 due to $4100 (difference). The Collection agency says they still plan on getting the $4100. My question is, can they do this, or once the court ordered judgement is made, is that not the “settlement”? I understand if I agreed to pay a settlement of $2500, I could also negotiate to have them update the bureaus once satisfied, but isn’t the court ordered judgement essentially the same thing as a settlement? They wanted $6600, court awarded $2500, should the account not be satisfied at this point? Thanks!

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      The original collection reporting is different, and separate from what is showing as a result of the court action.

      Who is the collector you are dealing with?
      When was it you last paid the original creditor?
      What state are you in?

  • sonny

    But I was never served. Is this legal? What I mean is that this is the first time I’ve heard from the courts, nothing prior to this legal notice.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You should have been served, though exactly how that must take place depends on your state’s laws. I’d suggest you start by finding out what the requirements are in the state where the judgment was rendered. If you can’t find information online, contact your state attorney general’s office.

  • sonny

    I live in Texas. Today I recited a Notice of Judgement from the county clerk’s office saying that a creditor from over 5 years ago filled.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am sorry I don’t know enough about enforcing judgments to advise you. It sounds like you would have been better off with an attorney rather than a paralegal. But do keep in mind that many judgement creditors have a difficult time getting paid at all. The amount you are collecting may be better than trying to wring out a little more.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Business judgments are not reported on standard consumer reports so I assume you are talking about business credit reports. I would imagine it should be showing up on at least some business credit reports by now, but you may have to check with Experian Small Business, D&B and others to see how quickly they incorporate this data.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    This is a tough one no doubt. What happened when the first company took you to court to get the judgment? Did you fail to appear in court? Once it’s been reduced to judgment it’s difficult to get it reversed (vacated). And as long as they have the court judgment they can try to collect that full amount plus any charges that have legally accrued. I am not an attorney and this is now a legal matter, but I think you’d be fighting quite a battle to get the judgment vacated. However, that doesn’t mean the new company may not be willing to settle in order to put it behind them. Judgments can be settled like other debts.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    You can call the attorney that sued you, the plaintiff that hired the attorney, and sometimes just show up and pay the clerk of the court.

    You can settle judgment debts for less than the balance owed. Realistic savings you target when negotiating can vary. One ingredient that will often go into your judgment settlement cake is how long it has been since entered in the court record.

    How old is the judgment? What type of debt was this? Who sued you? How poor is your credit right now?

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    D —
    We’re not lawyers, nor are we familiar with the laws of every state. You might want to call the Texas attorney general’s office to see if it can give you that information.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Maria – They will continue to call and see if they can convince you to pay. Once a month is not overly much. Do you take each of the calls?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You need to talk with a consumer law attorney. You may have been improperly served and that may affect whether you can get the judgment vacated. Please visit NACA.net to find an attorney in your area who can advise you.

  • http://batman-news.com jodie

    once they get a jugdement againt you can they still bug you every day at work and home

  • Pat

    In 2005 my son got a used car loan from a credit union. He made payments and then received a clear title in the mail. So he stopped making payments and didn’t hear from the bank. Now he has been served papers to go to court regarding this. If he could get a copy of the title would this be proof in his favor?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      The first thing is that this has now become a legal matter. The lender or collection agency will no doubt be represented by an attorney. So even if your son is in the “right” he may fail to defend the lawsuit properly which could mean a judgment will be entered against him and face the problems I warned about in this article. So I think it would be wise for him to consult with a consumer law attorney.

      He made have a valid defense against this collection lawsuit. It may be too old. they may not be able to prove he owed the debt. it may be in error etc. I wrote about that in this article: Seven Ways To Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Is there a city housing authority you can talk to about your concerns?

    As far as the judgment, and legal advice about your options, you should run your situation by an experienced consumer law attorney. You may be able to get help from a low income legal aid office if you qualify. You can also look for an attorney with the experience you need at http://www.naca.net

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Reggie – Check with an attorney in PA. Generally though, a judgment only gets filed once for a single case, and in some states can be renewed years later (often 10).

    Are you by chance referring to how often an attorney with a judgment can seek to levy your bank account, or something more akin to trying to collect on the judgment?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Shellie – I found an article that may help: Arrow Financial Services closed.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Noi – Can you post the amount of the judgment and the name of the judgment creditor (plaintiff that sued)? I can often offer more actionable feedback with those details.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    This is a tough one. We wrote about this problem in this article: How to Kill Zombie Judgments on Your Credit Report

  • Noi

    Same situation with me…apparently they served me at the home address listed on the bill that I no longer lived at for over a year…smh So I had no clue as to where this garnishment had come from when they started it…when I told them they had the wrong person…they didn’t care, they only cared about it getting paid….

  • Betty Haltom

    We have a judgement against us from a former Landlord, our last rent check bounced, and he kept trying to cash it, on the 6 months and 1 day past time that the check was written the Bank Cashed it and gave him the Money, We went to the Bank and because of the 6 mo. 1 day rule the Bank was made to return our Funds. Now the Former Landlord is trying to collect for this Check that was already included in our Judgement amount, Can he legally do anything since this is already a part of the Judgement? Isn’t that considered Double Dipping? I have a feeling he’s going to try and file through the District Attorney’s office for Hot Check and it would be a Felony since it is over $500.00? Can you tell me what I should do?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Betty – I suspect he can’t double dip but since I am not an attorney I don’t know exactly what the rules are. I’d suggest you either consult with a consumer law attorney, or if you can’t afford it, find a legal aid office in your area. There may also be housing agencies that can help you resolve this. Visit HUD.gov for a referral.

  • Chris

    I just found out I have a judgment against me from 9/5/1986. Is there a statue of limitations on a judgment?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Yes, but it is usually a long period of time in many states (20 years is not uncommon) and may be renewed. However, it would be a good idea for you to research it for your state to find out if this judgment expired and was not renewed.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Good to know!

  • David Brockman

    I have a judgement against me from 1995 in the state of alaska, I was never served papers, nor told I had a judgement. Now, almost twenty years later I am being summons to bring tax returns and bank statements for a judgement I did not know existed. I believe they are past the statute of limitations for taking action on a debt, which in alaska is ten years. Do you have any knowledge of Alaska law in this respect?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      David —
      We are not lawyers and can’t give you legal advice. But you are certainly right to question it. It’s never a good idea to ignore a summons, though. It seems reasonable that you might not have the documents they are requesting. You may find some useful information in this post:
      Does Your Old Debt Have an Expiration Date?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It depends on state law and the type of debt. She may be right – but I would be nervous about trusting her on that!

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Candy – Please talk with a bankruptcy attorney asap. They may well be able to go after the funds in your bank account and trying to recover them may be difficult if not impossible. The first consultation with a bankruptcy attorney is usually free.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    If the interest and court costs are legal then they can collect that and you won’t be able to get the judgment released and they may continue to try to collect. If you aren’t sure whether the charges are legal you can consult with a consumer law attorney, but I am not sure what other options you have. They have enormous leverage with the judgment against you.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Are you sure it’s not on there? Have you checked your credit reports? The good news there is that the impact of delinquencies and judgments fade with time. In some cases, a creditor may agree to leave something off your credit report in exchange for payment, but that would be something you would want to get in writing before you paid. A creditor is not obligated to keep something off your credit report if it’s true. Here are some Credit.com resources that might be useful to you:
    free annual credit reports
    How Long Does Negative Info Stay on My Credit Report?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    That depends on your state’s laws. You’ll either have to consult and attorney or research it yourself. Generally, though, collectors know that getting a judgment is one thing: collecting it is another.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    This is a great question for your attorney, or perhaps the clerk of the court.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Probably not . . . This Credit.com post may be useful to you in figuring it all out.
    Your Social Security Disability Income Is Probably Safe — for Now

  • Rms

    Hi. Last year a judgement was won against me. They had a wage garnishment in place however after a few months of garnishment , they returned 500$ of it and no longer took the money out of my wages.. However, a soon received a document from the County recorder stating they had placed a lien on any property I own. However I do not own any property. Not even a car.. I changed my direct deposit to a family members account and do not have anything in my name other than my 401k/ retirement account. I wanted to establish my own checking account again however I am worried they will freeze my account.. I also moved out of state and am wondering if I establish an account in a different state ( local credit union) can they still freeze those accounts if it’s a bank account solely within the state I reside ? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Are you sure the statute of limitations for enforcement of judgments is four years? I couldn’t follow your link but what i could find says five years. Either way, it would sound like it has expired – unless it was renewed or it’s longer than what either of us have seen.

    Before you do anything I would suggest you consult a consumer law attorney. You need to find out definitively how long this judgment can be enforced.

    If the judgment has expired then it should come off your report in May 2014. You may have to dispute it if it doesn’t happen automatically.

  • savannah

    My husband was recently served by our neighbor with a civil suit saying our animals damaged our fence. (I don’t agree) But he was found guilty and now has a judgement. he is self employed doesn’t own much of anything. Can our neighbor also garnish my wages or any assets I may own even though the serve was to him and never involved my name

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      There are instances where you can be impacted by something like this, even though it was your husband who was sued. You should consult with an experienced consumer law attorney in your state in order to determine if, and how, you are at risk.

  • IWin06

    I have been paying monthly installment payments on judgment for 2 years with a 13% interest (I owe for 2 more years) – can I ask to have interest removed?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      You can ask, but depending on the judgment creditor, should not have a realistic expectation of them agreeing.

      If your payments stopped for some reason, you may find the other side more agreeable to structuring something more affordable.

      This was a voluntary payment agreement?
      Do you have any access to a lump sum of money to offer as a settlement in full for the remaining balance owed? Judgment creditors will often accept this in lieu of long term lower monthly payments.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Mellie – With a court judgment in place, you could wake up with a bank account levy, or notice of wage garnishment. In other words, your friend implying nothing can be done to collect from you at this point is not accurate.

    Midland is one of the more reasonable to work with in settling up some form of payment plan. If that is something you want to explore, it would be better to get that going early on, and before levy or garnishments are set in motion.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Are you referring to a commercial bond (such as one required for a professional license) or a bail bond?

  • Baily

    A friend of mine was living in an apartment with his now ex-wife and decided to leave the apartment but was still keeping money in the account to pay the rent and she chose to not pay it. He has records showing her taking the money out but no rent being paid. A judgement is now on his credit report. If she was served the papers (he is an over the road truck driver so he wasnt home) does that count as him being served as well since he was on the lease and was her husband?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      In general, debts belonging to both spouses (such as joint accounts) are the responsibility of both parties, even if there is a divorce. Your friend is far from alone. We wrote about it here:
      My Divorce Ruined My Credit. Perhaps the information can help him going forward.

      • Baily

        Thank you for the response. That is not what I wanted to hear lol, but that is the reality of things.So besides paying it, there is nothing more that can be done such as attemting to get it vacated?

        • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

          You can request anything you like . . . but this paragraph from the story explains the status of money owed: Here’s the deal: the divorce decrees do not supersede the original contracts with your lenders. That means that just because the court orders one of you to pay a loan obligation, it doesn’t release the other spouse from liability on the account if it was originally opened as a joint or co-signed account. The lender doesn’t recognize that order as an amendment to the contract that both spouses signed. Both parties are still as equally liable as when the account was opened.

  • Had Enough

    You make a very good point. If somebody shafted them for $4400 THEY would be the first ones asking “How can I collect on this debt?” The entitlement mentality in this country has reached epidemic proportions. smdh

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Hopefully you got something in writing from them describing your agreement. Once they accept that payment they will need to file the forms with the court stating that it has been satisfied. The procedure varies by jurisdiction.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    brian – Check with an attorney in New York about whether your workers comp is protected from judgment creditors. The problem, even if a protected source, is when exempt money gets deposited and mingled with nonexempt money. Be sure to get clarity on that angle too.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    David – You’ll need to ask that question a consumer law attorney in your state. Every state has certain property that is “exempt” or safe from creditors, but it does vary by state. A bankruptcy attorney should be able to answer that question for you as well.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Christina – Your best resource is the courts on this. How much of your husbands assets and income are protected can vary. Have you discussed these developments with your BK attorney?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    I do know that some court decisions can result in restitution, or some other type of monetary decision that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. 100% wage garnishments are just not normal though.

    Can you be more specific about what led to where you are at now?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am so sorry to hear that. You are going to have to talk with a consumer law attorney. If you did not receive the required notice of the lawsuit you may be able to sue the collectors, but I have a hard time seeing how you can do that without legal help. Visit naca.net or nacba.org to find one in your area. They may be able to help you for free if they think you have a good case. If not, and if you can’t afford their help, ask them if they can refer you to legal aid in your area.

  • Misty

    You’re disgusting with your foul, obnoxious, and outright rude comments. How close are you to defaulting on your own debt buddy?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Joe – I am sorry but I don’t know the answers to all your questions about how to collect this judgment. I am going to have to suggest you talk with an attorney with experience in debt collection for advice. Unfortunately as any collection agency can tell you, getting a judgment is half the battle. Collecting it may or may not happen.

  • bgable

    Is it legal for a judgment creditor publish the court judgment in the legal notices of a newspaper as an inducement for the judgment debtor to pay?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Great question. I would encourage you to talk with an attorney in your area who is familiar with fair debt collection laws to get a solid response.

      I did check with one in California prior to posting this reply, and he doubted that was okay for a judgment creditor to do – other than for something like substitute of service.

  • Key

    I’m having a difficult time paying off a rental judgment
    from December 2007 that’s on my credit report I received from Transunion. I
    decided to stop by the rental office to pay off the judgment they were unable to
    help. The staff member stated that they are under new management as of 2011 and
    cannot assist me. I ask the staff member for the number to the corporate office
    to contact the previous owners of the rental property. The corporate office was
    also unable assist me. I was given a number to the Nation Credit Collection
    Agency and the rental company law firm practice to pay off the judgment. Spoken
    to a staff members and manager of the collection agency, they were unable to identify
    me within their system base off my social security number and other demographic
    information they requested. I contacted the rental law firm went through same
    problem as the collection company; still no luck. What do you suggest that I

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      It is possible that the debt was sold off, or lost in the mix with transfer of new owners etc.

      Talk to an attorney familiar with debt collection from the consumers perspective in your area. Find out about paying the judgment in full at the court. You may be able to get this resolved that way.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Is there a reason to sue him? Why is your son part of the discussion? Is the money owed related to him some how?

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    The requirements on that can vary by jurisdiction. You may want to contact your state attorney general’s office to find out more.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You need to talk with a bankruptcy attorney immediately. They will be able to tell you whether these actions were legal and what steps you can take now to try to keep your business going.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You have to find out whether the car would be exempt property that the creditor could not touch. Unfortunately I can’t answer that for you because it depends on laws in your state. A consumer bankruptcy attorney should be able to answer this for you. If you can’t go that route, then it may be safest for your relative who is buying the car to maintain ownership and for you to make sure it is insured in your name as well.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Victoria – It depends on what property is safe from creditors under your state laws. A consumer bankruptcy attorney should be able to tell you that.

  • Tshepo

    Hi there I have a problem. I have been owing my outstanding University fees for the year 2011 and in August 2012 there was a judgement against me. Fortunately I paid the fees in August 2013 but now there is a problem. I few days ago I wanted to apply for a phone contract and it was unsuccesful because I have a judgement on my name. I do not understand for as far as I know I paid off my fees but now I am still carrying a judgement burden that hampers me from accessing any credit solution. How do I remove the judgement even after I paid my debt

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      The judgment creditor is required to file paperwork with the court stating that the judgment has been satisfied. How quickly they must do this depends on the jurisdiction but it usually must happen within 30 days. They may be fined or penalized if they fail to do so, and you may be entitled to damages – particularly if it causes you to be turned down for credit or other benefits, as this has.

      You can consult a consumer law attorney in your area (visit Naca.net for a referral) or you can try to handle it yourself. To do that, call the court or go to their website to see if you can find out what the requirement is. Then send the school a certified letter stating that they need to take care of this, and if they don’t you will consult an attorney.

  • Tshepo

    Hi there I have been owing my university fees and I paid them off last year 2013 but only to find out that there was a judgement laid on 2012. The fees are paid up in full but I wanted to buy a phone on contract and I was told that I am on judgement. So I do not understand that how can I be on judgement even though I paid up everything

  • Angela Murphy

    In my opinion you should

  • Angela Murphy

    You have the perfect first name , Judge lest ye be Judged

  • captdantman

    I had a civil judgement against me. My pay was garnished and it was paid in full. It still has not had the status changed on my credit report after 5 months. I tried disputing with credit agency and it comes back verified. How can I get them to remove it or at least show it as paid? I read that collector had 60 days to get “satisfied judgement” paperwork submitted. they haven’t, what can I do? how can I find an attorney that can handle this? I would love to have item completely removed if there is a way. Thanks

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      If the judgment creditor is required to file this paperwork with the court with 60 days and has not done so, then there are likely penalties for failing to do so. The procedures may vary somewhat by jurisdiction, but generally you can send them a written demand letter (via certified mail) stating that this needs to be filed. If they don’t comply in a specific time period (again, varies by jurisdiction), they may be liable for damages. Have you tried contacting the court in which the judgment is filed? They may be able to tell you what the procedures are. If not, I’d recommend you contact a local consumer law attorney (visit naca.net) for advice.

      Will you let us know what happens?

  • Slayer

    I have a judgement agaisnt me that was a workers comp injury and I wasnt even notified about it. I just got a notification that was added to my credit report and its not even my responsibility. What should I do

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I am sorry but I don’t know enough to answer your question. What do you mean it’s not your responsibility? Who obtained the judgment and for what kind of debt? Were you notified that they were suing you for the debt.

  • lynnad ae judgement

    ?I just had a large judgement entered against me. all the funds I receive are from gov. sources, I.e. soc. sec. disability & a pension. I have taken steps to protect these funds, but I am the representative payee foe my brother who receives SSI. Since my name is on the acct., can the creditor go after his money or should I take steps to protect his money too.?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      That’s a great question – and unfortunately I don’t know the answer. I will have to suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney. A consumer bankruptcy attorney should be able to answer this question for you.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Yes, if they are legally entitled to do so. They can do an asset search to locate your accounts/property. If you are worried about this, I would suggest talking with a bankruptcy attorney asap.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Hank – I would not recommend you do this without input from an attorney. I would would to make sure you have an ironclad guarantee that no one can come after you for the difference and that it will be listed as satisfied on your credit reports. I am not sure you can do that yourself without the company also releasing you from liability. (Remember the company is about to go through a legal proceeding – bankruptcy – and that may have an impact.) I’d suggest you talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney to make sure all is in order before you sign anything. I am confident it will be money well spent.

  • maallen

    I was recently served with a summons/complaint on a medical debt from 2009 for $700 in Michigan. I responded immediately to the attorney to work out some kind of payment plan (corrospondence through email). They agreed to $50 a month until paid off. On December 10th, 2013 they said they would send me document to finalize the deal and they will contact the court about our agreement.

    On January 21st, after not receiving anything, I contacted them asking where the document is. On January 23rd I received paperwork from the court that a default judgement has been rendered. Ugh…I wanted to resove this without courts being involved.

    Is there anything I can do now? Or am I to expect garnishment or bank account seized?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      You still have the email showing that you were negotiating? If so please contact a consumer law attorney immediately. It does not sound like this company was negotiating in good faith and you want to see if you can get this judgment vacated. Otherwise you are stuck with a judgment on your credit reports for seven years or longer – and that’s not good. Don’t be panicked about the cost – if the consumer law attorney thinks you have a good case for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act they may take your case for free (since the collector would have to pay their attorneys fees if you prevailed). Visit Naca.net for a referral to one in your area. Please act quickly – you may have limited time to challenge that judgment.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Have you tried to contact the court to find out what you can do to force it? You may need to send a written demand, and if they don’t cooperate you may be entitled to damages and/or they may be penalized. (It depends on rules in your state.)

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am sorry but I really don’t understand your situation. Why is your mother’s judgment on your credit report if the apartment was solely in her name?

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    It will take time — and consistently paying off any credit as agreed. Negative information stays on your credit report for 7 years and 6 months from when you first fell behind, and your credit score will reflect that. However, recent activity affects your scores more than problems further in your past, and positive activity can help. You should stay away from “credit repair,” and, painful as it may be, take a look at your free credit reports to make sure the information is accurate. (Mistakes can and do happen, and you don’t want your record to contain mistakes that could make an already difficult situation even worse.) Here are some resources that may be useful to you:

    All About Credit Scores

    The Truth About Credit Repair

    Pay for Removal Deals: Removing Collection Accounts from Your Credit Reports

  • Rod Thirkield

    I had a judgment made against me but the it past the statue of limitations on the debt

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Was a default judgement where you didn’t show up in court? If so you need to talk with a consumer law attorney about trying to get it vacated, or with a bankruptcy attorney about wiping it out in bankruptcy.

      Read more here: Help! I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Sammy – So sorry to hear what you are struggling with. Not being able to pay a debt is not a defense; in other words, they won’t vacate it just because you can’t afford it. But if there were other irregularities, it may be possible. I wrote about that here: Seven Ways To Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit

    However, in your case it may be wiser just to wait it out until the statute of limitations expires. If I were in your shoes, I’d talk with a consumer bankruptcy attorney in my area about options. The first consultation is likely going to be free.

    • dpavlako

      BEST ADVICE – at the end of Gerri’s comment – see a bankruptcy lawyer. At 23 you can still get your life back on track, but not unless you can get this stuff discharged.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Hi Dave –

    Thanks for the kind comment and apologies for not seeing your question sooner. Whether or not they can charge you for these costs depends on state law and the contract. If this has been going on for years, it may be past the statute of limitations at this point. I wrote about the topic of additional costs in this piece: Can a Debt Collector Double My Debt?

  • Pingback: How Do Judgments Work in Pennsylvania? | Sociology - Popular Question & Answer()

  • Pingback: Equifax buys TDX group for £200m - Debt Management Today | Credit Card Finances()

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Nicole –

    I am a little confused here because you are mentioning school / lender/ collector and I am not sure who is doing what.

    But you basically have two choices here. One is to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They may be able to help. At a minimum you would go on record with the problems with this school/lender/collector. (If you do file a complaint, be very clear about who did what and what kind of remedy you are seeking.)

    The other is to talk with a consumer law attorney to find out whether any laws are broken. Your story is a little confusing Personally, if I were in your shoes, given what you are telling me I would consult a consumer law attorney. They will likely give you a free consultation, and if the collection agency broke the law they may be liable for damages – and have to pay the attorney’s fees. Visit Naca.net to find one in your area.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Unfortunately, Amy, you can’t just get out of paying a debt because you can’t afford to pay. I would suggest you talk with a non-profit credit counseling agency to see if they can help you figure out a way to deal with this debt. If it’s the only debt you have, it’s probably not large enough to file for bankruptcy. Read: Does Credit Counseling Work?

  • Gabriel

    Hello, my name is Gabriel and I have a couple of questions. I had a judgement against me for 3k and I missed the court date so was found guilty by default.5 months later I find out my license is suspended. I think its for child support but I check with child support and they say I am current with my payments and its not suspended through them. I contact the MVA and they say a law firm suspended my license for failing to pay. I contacted the firm and explained I was broke with no job and that I had just gotten out of prison and they set the fee at 25$ per month. This allowed me to get my license back. 6 months goes by and I speak to the lady that sued me and she says she hasn’t gotten any money. I contact the firm and now I owe hundreds more and they say my payment doesn’t even cover the interest accruing on it. If I stop paying, can they suspend my license again for falling behind or not paying? I also have a civil suit that is pending me being served where someone pulled in front of me and hit their brakes and I hit them from the back. It did no damage to my vehicle and dented their tag in but they said they had back surgery 6 months prior and they were re injured from the accident and sued me for 28k. I was excluded from the policy by my ex do to my points but I had 2 of my own vehicles which were insured at the time. Im not sure if my insurance could possibly cover it or not. their insurance co settled for 11k and is trying to sue me for the 11k. I have no job or vehicles or anything valuable. I am trying to start a coffee biz with a partner who has a llc. If I add my name to the llc can the civil suit affect the business even though it happened 3 years before I started the biz with my partner? Does my partner have anything to worry about? The driver that pulled in front of me had changed lanes on a bridge we were on and you cant change lanes on that bridge so they were illegally changing lanes when they pulled in front of me. I was excluded from the policy but had my own insurance and thought I was ok to drive. Am I automatically at fault because of the exclusion or beings that he illegally changed lanes, is he at fault? I never got served because I was in prison and have a different address now. Should I contact the insurance co and explain my brokeness(lol) to them and see if they might drop it? Is bankruptcy an option and could that affect the biz I’m trying to start with my partner? Thanks for all of your help. I know its lots of dumb questions.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I wish I could help but you really need to speak with an attorney. If you can’t afford one, check with your local legal aid office to see if they can help. It wouldn’t hurt you to also talk with a bankruptcy attorney. They can tell you whether the debt in question can be discharged in bankruptcy. If so, it might allow you to start fresh.

      Bankruptcy will affect your credit, but it may be better than dealing with this indefinitely.

      I hope you are able to find a way to turn things around.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    We wrote about that in this article: Can a Debt Collector Double My Debt?

    You need to find out if the charges are legal, and if you haven’t been able to pay this debt off in four years, consider bankruptcy. A consumer bankruptcy attorney should be able to help you with both questions. Visit NACBA for a referral.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I don’t know what the requirements are for your state, but the fact that you were served with the notice of the court date may mean you were adequately notified. I really don’t know because it depends on the procedures in your state.

    You need to talk with a consumer law attorney to find out for sure.

    It would have been better if you had talked to one before this happened, since the calls you received may have been illegal and you may have been able to stop it then. But I wouldn’t wait now – you can find one at naca.net.

    • Thevolget

      Thanks for the advice, as I’m trying to dig my way out of a mountain of bills that I incurred while being out of work for an extended period of time. Looks like I’m going to have to talk to a consumer law attorney after all. I called the courthouse again today, and once again attempted to get information regarding the judgment being reported and was told by the clerk that “the courthouse doesn’t report the judgment to the credit agencies, the collection agency that is seeking the judgment is responsible for the reporting” (this was after being told two times that there is no record of a judgment being issued for that case number).

      • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

        I am sorry I couldn’t be more specific. Will you let us know what you find out? It may help other readers in similar situations.

  • Pingback: The Ultimate Guide to Debt Collectors | Best Credit Repair()

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Great question! Foreign judgments are good for 6 years in Nevada. Given the timelines you have going with the original and renewal in Oregon, as well as the 2008 date in Nevada, this all looks to be coming to a close in 2014.

    You should definitely run this scenario by an experienced debt defense attorney in Nevada before proceeding with your personal finances confident that the judgment can no longer be legally enforced.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    It was not clear from what you wrote, but it sounds like you were sued and aware of that, but prior to conclusion of the lawsuit you made a payment agreement where, if you missed one, you had signed a document stipulating/agreeing to the judgment.

    Is that what happened? If not, can you be more specific about what led to the judgment entry?

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Let’s try hard to stay on topic and keep the conversational civil.

    • Donna

      I think everyone has been extremely respectful and are asking informative questions with the exception of Mr. Blaine. He makes me want to go to another blog.

  • snoopdog

    I think you are a real loser yourself. It’s no telling what you’ve gotten away with–more than likely you don’t even have a job yourself. It appears that you’re angry because you’re in the same position many of these people are in and the only thing you know to do is get on the computer an bully people. Here’s what I know–people who have a lot of material things are the ones who really have created the debt in this country. People like you who file bankruptcy for the hell of it—-under this reorganization crap. The little people like the people asking for information on here are barely making it more than likely because they’ve been hoodwinked by these credit cards or even medical bills. I think you ignorance is only superseded by your lack of intelligence.

    • T Hal

      You’re making assumptions. You don’t know anything about Richard’s finances. It fits your narrative to paint him as a mercenary and others who advocate walking away from debt as innocent. That story line is very often false.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Kathleen – New York has been active in highlighting the type of issues you shared you are going through. Yes, you can get this unwound for some of the reasons you stated, and others. You may even be able to target the debt collector, rather than being targeted by one. I would encourage you to contact your state AG’s office and the CFPB. Both are interested in hearing from you.

    I would also encourage you to speak with a consumer law attorney in NY that specializes in debt defense. You can locate this type of attorney at http://www.naca.net.

    Who is the judgment creditor listed as?
    Who is the collection firm handling the case?

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Please try to keep the discussion constructive and comments civil.

  • lost

    I have had a judgement granted against me in Franklin County Courts in Ohio. We received a notice of the Law Suit on a student loan last year by certified mail and we filed our response within the proper amount of time(thanks to a lawyer who only charged us 200.00). Some background we made payments 6 payments on this private student loan back in 2006, after making those payments we never received another bill or any phone calls from the student loan company. Now come full circle in 2013 they were issued a summary judgement against me and are garnishing my wages. Problem is we were never notified of the judgement being granted. In Ohio should of the courts or the plaintiff’s attorney notified myself(defendant) by certified mail with any of the following paperwork, Notice of Court Proceedings, an Affidavit of Judgement Creditor, or an Answer of Garnishee? I see they had sent certified mail to my employer after doing some digging but nothing was ever sent to me except for the initial filing over a year ago. Also we didn’t even know it was granted until I got a paycheck and money was taken out and we didn’t know what it was for until we called the payroll department, in which they told us. Then the following week we received paper work from my employer after the fact. We filed an emergency hearing which I now have to attend tomorrow, and can’t afford an attorney. Any and all help would be most greatful

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      I am so sorry but you really need legal advice from someone who practices consumer law in your area, and we simply can’t provide that. Have you tried to find a legal aid clinic in your area to see if they can help?

  • Lost

    We had a judgement granted against us for a student loan, and now have an emergency hearing tomorrow. We received a copy of the original Lawsuit over a year ago, which we filed an answer to. We tried to work out payment arrangements on it, but the plaintiff’s attorney rejected everything we offered. Should also mention that the student loan company before filing, never made an attempt to contact us or send any bills after we had made payments for the first 6 months. Well the judgement was handed down within the first week or so of September. My question is, should we have received the following from the court or the plaintiff’s attorney via certified mail? Notice of Court Proceedings, Affidavit of Judgement Creditor, Motion of Summary Judgement or even an Answer of Garnishee? Only paper work we received since the original Lawsuit was from my employer after they had already started to garnish my wages. This judgement was granted in Franklin County Common Pleas, in Columbus Ohio.

    Any and all information you can share with me would be great, as we have to head to the hearing tomorrow and can’t afford an attorney.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You’ll need to talk with an attorney to find out a. if you can pursue it and b. how to do that.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    We’ve received other complaints like yours and it’s incredibly frustrating. I wrote about it in this article:

    How to Kill Zombie Judgments on Your Credit Report

    You may want to file a complaint against the credit card company with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and see if they can help. If they can, you won’t have to get a lawyer involved just to pay the debt!

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Jason – Are you suing the property owner or management company?

    Garnishment laws vary by state. You should receive notice of garnishment, but a few days is not much warning. Check out your Supreme Courts web site for more details: http://www.azcourts.gov/selfservicecenter/SelfServiceForms/GarnishmentofEarnings.aspx

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    LBC – You’re in the realm of needing legal advice at this point and we aren’t able to provide that. I encourage you to talk with a consumer law attorney to find out whether this debt collector may have broken the law. Look for a consumer law attorney familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and state law. They may be willing to give you a free consultation, and even represent you for free if they think you have a good case, as the collector would likely have to pay the attorney’s fees if it broke the law in attempting to collect from you. Visit Naca.net to find an attorney in your area.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    It sounds as if you need competent legal advice, and we’re not in a position to give you that. As for the judgment, this resource may be helpful:

    Creditor Gets a Judgment Against You — Now What?

  • Lisa


    I defaulted on a debt for 1400 now I got a document in the mail for garnishment of my wages. Can I settle this with them on a payment plan before they start the wage garnishment?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Were you sued for this debt? Is there a reference to the judgment in the document you received?

      If there is a legitimate judgment for this debt, their pursuing garnishment is their way of forcing the payment plan. A judgment creditor taking collection this far can complicate your efforts to call and set up voluntary payments. They may be thinking they will get more money, and faster, through the garnishment.

      You may be able to get them to work with you on your terms, but my experience is that this is not that common at this point. One way to get a judgment creditor to be more reasonable is if you can qualify for full or partial exemptions from garnishment based on your income. You have to go through the court to establish this. The instructions for contesting a garnishment will often accompany a notice like you reference receiving. You can also contact the court clerk about the process for requesting a hearing to contest the garnishment.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Rana —
    That is a tough situation, and unfortunately, it sounds as if you need to contact a consumer law attorney for advice on how to proceed.

  • Rita

    I filed Bankruptcy chapter seven then 3 creditors they got Judgment against me I went to the court and told the Judge I am not working and can’t pay he told me to hire a lawyer to make it in writing I think is called set aside the new lawyer said okay but send me a letter for to sign a paper to go to mediation which I did not they called me on the phone and the mediator was screaming at me I told her I am not working If you find me a job I will pay you I can’t promise to make any payment can they hurt me or not, please answer me …..Thank you

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Rita – I am confused by your email so I’ll answer the best I can. Please keep in mind I am not an attorney and can’t offer legal advice.

      Did you include these debts in your bankruptcy? If so, then the creditors should not have pursued judgments against you. I hope you filed for bankruptcy with the help of an attorney. If so, please contact your attorney asap to find out what needs to be done. If you did not file with the help of an attorney, then perhaps there were mistakes made in the process. Since you can’t afford an attorney and aren’t working, find your local legal aid office and ask them if they can help you.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Getting the judgment resolved would be a priority if it were me. But I would want that to happen at the court level, not starting at the credit report. The judgment on the credit report is there as a result of the court record. If the court record is not changed (getting the judgment vacated), any change (if one occurs), may be short lived.

    When was your last payment on this debt?

    I get that it is your debt, but I want to help compare some costs. If the judgment is successfully vacated, and the debt is old enough, it may create a situation where you could not be legitimately sued again because the statute of limitations to do that again expired. If this were the case, the cost of working with the attorney to vacate a judgment would put you in a better position to deal with the old debt on your own terms.

    There are some other angles to consider, but lets look at this one first.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Can you provide more context to your question? Are you being sued? If so, what has transpired to date?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    You should connect with an experienced consumer law attorney with a practice that focuses on debt collection defense in your state to ease this concern. But the ability to intercept your tax refund from the federal government, unless the debt at issue is a federally backed loan (many types of student debt, SBA, etc), is not typically an option on civil judgment debts like this.

  • Tamara

    I’m trying to pay off a judgment and we keep calling and calling and we can’t get ahold of anyone to even talk to. Left messages. What can I do to settle this if no one responds?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Who is the judgment creditor (the name of the plaintiff) in the lawsuit?
      What is the name of the attorney or law firm that handled the suit?

      If you have a goal you are trying to accomplish (like qualify for a home loan), you can check with the court clerk about paying the full amount of the judgment directly to the court and getting the court record to reflect that the judgment is satisfied. You may want to connect with your own attorney about navigating that process (getting the court record updated).

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Your bank accounts are at risk from levy when you have a judgment. Some states do have laws that provide a buffer from what can be levied from your account. That buffer is fairly small. What state do you live in?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    It is possible to have a judgment entered against you without ever having been notified you were being sued. It should not happen, but happens enough there is even a term for it – Sewer Service. Depending on the circumstances, you can unwind what happened in the court without your knowledge, but that is best done with the assistance of your own attorney.

    Check out http://www.naca.net and locate an attorney with debt collection defense experience in your state. Call one to go over the details and what your options are. Most NACA member attorneys will offer a no cost initial consult.

    As far as sending in a payment for less than the judgment balance – it’s not a good idea. Accord and satisfaction has limited uses. And once a debt like this has gone through the courts, you typically should look to resolve it through the court process.

    You can often negotiate a lower payoff on judgment debt. But you need to reach that agreement with the plaintiff (you would be the defendant), and get a satisfaction filed with the court.

  • Nikki

    I took an apartment complex to court regarding charges they put on my credit after , I moved out. The court ruling was in there favor but I didn’t have to pay the $1500. they claimed I owed , only $350. I was in a process of buying a home with a FHA loan so it had to be paid before We qualified for loan. So I paid it and got a receipt then. here 9 years later ,Im doing a loan modification and the judgement is still listed. It hasnt showed up on my credit but showed up during my Title search, granted it was paid before 2 months before I evening purchased my house. so apparently they never cleared the judgement . but my concern also it that it should be cleared b/c debt was paid over 9 years ago , but Im not sure if i could provide money order that they requested i use to pay it. what is my next step ? call the court / apartment complex ..dig in my boxes for receipts ?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Nikki – You should do all the leg work necessary first (digging through boxes etc). I would also recommend consulting with an experienced real estate, or collection defense attorney. You may need to work through the court in order to get a formal satisfaction.

  • desi

    I live in Florida. I have a judgment against me but the creditor keeps seeking information about my husband. Do I have to give them his info? And if my home is in both our names can they pt a lien on it?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      If you are being asked to provide information in a formal court process (often the case when judgment creditors are trying to collect), you should speak to an attorney of your own in order to move forward with confidence.

      Talk to the attorney about any lien potential and risk to your home. Florida is one of the most favorable states for consumer protection laws regarding your personal residence.

  • Cindy Johnson

    This comment isn’t about debt but rather about starting to establish credit for my daughter. She’s trying an keeps being told “lack of credit history”. She has rent & utilities that are pd on time, has savings but no checking account. Has a good steady job as mgmt. & has been there for 4 yrs. any suggestions?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Rent and utilities aren’t typically included in credit reports (which is why she doesn’t show a credit history for those accounts). You can read more about rent and utilities being reported in credit reports here:

      Why Are Utilities & Rent Payments Not Included in My Credit Report?

      Fortunately, there are a couple of options for her to build and establish credit. One option is for a family member to add her as an authorized user on a credit card that has a very low balance in relation to the credit limit, and preferably an older, well established account with no late payment history. This can help her ‘piggyback” on your good credit. You can read more about this option here:

      Piggybacking to Boost FICO Scores: Does it Still Work?

      And finally, if she’s looking to establish entirely on her own, without help from parents or family members willing to allow her to piggy back as an authorized user, the easieast and most effective way for her to establish and build credit on her own is to start with a secured credit card. You can read more about how this works here:

      How to Build Credit: Establishing Credit From Scratch

  • tina

    I went to civil court sued by my attorney representing herself, I was not allowed to present my information and the attorney would not make payment arrangements she got the judgement she wanted and now is seeking to garnish my only income child support . I have been seeking employment and it only been a few months since my divorce, The attorney made reference to her friends in high places and she always gets what she wants , I did give her a money order which she cashed and a letter out lining the payment arrangement which she called me and rejected. How could she keep the money and refuse the arrangement? And why wasn’t I allowed to speak in court it was clear that this was unfair. I got a default judgement as though I did not show up

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Tina — In cases like this, unless you’re familiar with the laws and are comfortable representing yourself, it’s best to go in with an attorney — especially if you’re fighting another attorney over the debt.

      I don’t understand why you weren’t allowed to speak in court but something sounds amiss here. Did the judge forbid you to speak? We’re not attorneys but this just sounds “off” and you may wish to speak with an attorney to determine whether or not any laws were broken during the suit.

      In the end, since the judgement has already been awarded, your only option in fighting it would be to try and reverse or vacate the judgment but this isn’t something that’s easy to do without the help of a lawyer. In which case, we’d encourage you to consult with an attorney for specific legal advice regarding your case. To find a consumer law attorney in your area, http://www.NACA.net is a good place to start.

  • Jimmy Shaffer

    I have judgments reported on my reports that originated in 2005 from collector#1. The debts were sold to collector#2 in 2009. In 2010, collector#2 went bankrupt and is no longer in business. In 2011, I received a substantial amount of money and pulled all my credit reports and began paying all my debts. collector#1 showed on the reports with about 20 individual accounts which I paid. I just found out (2013) that the monies I paid to collector#1 was the same monies owed in my judgment to collector#2 who is no longer in business. how do I fix this and get these judgments removed?

  • Mark

    Sammy, They can not take your ssi money or garnish your bank account,it,s a federal law,go to your bank if it has been froze and let them know that you only have ssi in that account,they will have to release it to you even if it has a judgement on it.Look at social security.gov,your benifits are coverd under assignment, Hope this helps you

  • j

    Do the 7 years start over as soon as you make contact with a credit card that you have not paid?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Making contact wouldn’t restart the date. With a collection, if you make a payment and agree to a payment plan, then it will restart the date. Keep in mind, if the collection has made it to judgment status, judgments can remain indefinitely as Gerri points out, they can often last 10 to 20 years and can be renewed by the creditor.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Collectors are able to add interest and collection fees but they must be reasonable and there are limits. How much they can charge will vary by individual state laws. Your state attorney general should be able to tell you what the interest rate caps and fees are for your state. To help you find this information for your state, here’s a list of State Attorney Generals and their respective websites for contact information: http://www.naag.org/current-attorneys-general.php

  • Ricktico

    I have left the USA back in 2008 and I had credit cards debts that I could not pay back when I was out of the country. A judgment against me was awarded while I am out of the country, and just found about it by ordering my credit report in preparation to my return to the USA.
    Please advise how to resolve this problem i will be facing upon my return. I am moving back with no money and no job and I am going to settle in Florida. Your advise is greatly appreciated.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Typically the debt would have gone to collections before it made it to judgement status. If they’re unable to collect on the collection, and they decided to sue in order to collect, a judgement would be the result. This is one of the main reasons we encourage dealing with a collection before it makes it to this status because once it becomes a judgment it’s very difficult to reverse.

    At this point, you can try to get the judgement vacated, but this isn’t something that’s easy to do without the help of a lawyer. It’s also not going to be easy to do if you actually owe the debt. Keep in mind, too, that once a collection makes it to judgment status, a judgment can last indefinitely and depending on the laws in your state, they may be able to seize your bank account or garnish your wages. In which case, it may be better to find out what the judgment entails so that you can try work with the collector to pay or settle the debt before it gets to this stage.

  • do-it-stuart

    Hello my question is the court finalized a amount in my favor less than what was persued by the debtor. How can the debtor originally tack interest on the principle after taking me to court and then persue that amount. How can the IRS then come after me for taxes on this unsubstantiated total. My judgement in the court was paid in full.

  • Ken

    I had a judgment entered on August 18, 2005 for $10K. I was never served and a few months later my wages were being garnished. At the time, I was not familiar with the law and figured that the credit card company could garnish. I left my job in April of 2006. During the time I was employed I had paid $1790 through garnishment. I had not heard anything regarding this matter until today when I was served with a Summons for Revival of Judgment. I have no assets except my income. Any advice about the options I have? Who I should contact, etc? I’ve gotten my life back in pretty good order and would hate for this to come back and throw a wrench into everything.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    nw – This sounds a bit odd. Perhaps each suit that was filed was not managed properly to show you paid each one prior to the court action progressing. Pull each judgment from the court record and post an update comment with what transpired according to the court record.

  • Dan

    I have a credit card judgement two years old. I was considered “collection-proof”, due to my unemployment/no income or asset situation. I’m planning to file Chapter 7 in October, 2013(I had to wait a couple years due to a previous filing 8 years ago- before the new laws took effect). My question is: when I file the Chapter 7 and list the judgement, do I also need to include the INTEREST rate accrued on this debt since it went to a judgement(and/or the court costs + fees)? Thank you very much for a reply in advance!

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Dan – You should confirm this with your bankruptcy attorney, but generally, the total amount of the credit card judgment, including interest and fees, would be discharged in the chapter 7.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    You should not be required to pay more than the judgment amount. But there are situations where judgments will include legal costs and interest accumulation.

    It would be a good idea to take a copy of the judgment and any thing in the court record after that, along with proof of payment, to your own attorney for review. I would want to consult with an experienced debt defense attorney. A good resource to find one is http://www.naca.net

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Maf – Someone collecting on a paid judgment is just fishy. Can you share more about your situation?

    Who had the judgment (name of plaintiff)?
    Who is the attorney collecting and threatening post judgment collection action?
    How was the potential additional collection action conveyed to you – over the phone, in writing, from a court filing?

    When you say the court order was satisfied, is that also reflected in the official court record?

    Please provide more detail and I can offer more feedback.

  • joni

    A lien was placed on property and sold to a bank. They have received the certified funds but have not released the lien. It has been 56 days. The city says they are out of it now and no one will give me a way to contact the bank. Should I file a complaint with the NY DFS?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Joni – Can you be a bit more specific? What was the lien regarding? Which bank is involved? What is it the city is saying they are out of, or how did the city consider itself involved to begin with?

      You can always look to filing complaints with regulatory agencies in order to move a challenge forward. I could offer more meaningful feedback if you post more details about the issue.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Additional fees and interest are common but there are limits. How much collectors can charge in additional fees and interest will depend on the laws in your particular state. You can double check with your state attorney general’s office to find out what your state’s interest caps are for collections.

    Reversing a judgment isn’t out of the question but it would entail appealing the judgement. You can attempt doing that on your own but unless you’re familiar with the courts, it’s probably wise to consult with a collection attorney if decide to you go that route.

  • Pingback: 4 Ways Joint Accounts Can Ruin Your Credit | Best Credit Repair()

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Sammy – To my knowledge, not being able to pay a judgment is not a reason for getting it vacated. However, there may not be a whole lot they can do to collect it – at least not for now. You may find this other story we’ve published helpful: http://blog.credit.com/2013/05/how-to-kill-zombie-judgments-on-your-credit-report/

  • Gerri Detweiler

    You can certainly try! If you do reach an agreement, get it in writing before you pay anything and keep good track of your payments. Also find out if they will be charging interest. If so, your balance may not go down as quickly as you expect.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Leah – You’ll have to talk with a consumer law attorney in your area to find out. Visit Naca.net for a locator service. If you can’t afford one, you may be able to get help from legal aid.

  • Joan

    I have a judgement against me, but was never notified of a court date. Is it possible to get another court date and plead my case?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Joan – There are definitely possibilities for you to look at. You should connect with an attorney with a practice that focuses on debt collection defense in order to learn more about this. You can search for an attorney with this type of experience at http://www.naca.net

  • Joan

    I was not served. But got a judgement against me. Is there any recourse . I still have no job, money I would like to get a remodification so my pmts are lower. How can I did myself out otherwise? No ones going to hire a 73 year old lady.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Michael’s advice below is excellent. I will add that federal law prohibits an employer from firing you for a single wage garnishment. I am not saying all employers know – or follow – the rules, but if it comes to that you’ll want to know what your rights are. You’ll learn more on the Department of Labor’s website: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs30.htm

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Ron – When a judgment creditor is bent on seeking payment through garnishment, some methods to beat that back are:

    1. Offer a lump sum settlement. Settlements at this late stage of collection typically do not get approved at a significantly reduced payoff, but I have seen 70 to 80 percent of the balance get approved. If garnishment is going to jeopardize your employment you should look to any resources you can to pool the money in order to settle this.

    2. Filing bankruptcy will put a stay on any collections.

    3. The notice of intent to garnish usually comes with notice of how you can request a hearing in order to show how you may be fully or partially exempt from garnishment.

    You should also look to consult with an attorney about your options. You will want to connect with an attorney whose practice focuses on consumer law. More specifically debt collection defense. A good resource to help you locate an attorney with the experience you want is http://www.naca.net

  • chiiqueen

    I had a judgement against me and I have settled it by paying in full. Now, I have received Satisfaction of Judgement and I am being recommended to forward a copy to all three credit bureaus. The judgement itself is so old that it is no longer on my credit report. Should I still forward a copy to them?

  • Mike

    A collection agency, called and said there’s a judgment against me but have not sent me anything in the mail stating so. Is this their way of scaring someone?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      It can be, but collection occurs on legitimate judgments.

      Did you get the name of the collection agency, court, or judgment creditor?

      Have you pulled your credit report to see if there is a judgment being reported?

  • Wonder

    If I lose a civil lawsuit, can they collect my daughter college fun.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      It depends on your state’s laws. In Florida where I live, for example, funds in a Florida prepaid college tuition program or in a Florida 529 plan are protected. To find out whether the money you have saved for your daughter’s college fund is, I suggest you talk with your attorney. If you don’t have one, consult with a bankruptcy attorney who can help you understand what may be at risk if you lose this lawsuit.

  • luna

    I have a question, can an attorney file a judgment against me after I made a payment arragement with them? I

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Do one of the following scenarios apply to your situation?

      You were sued. Reached a payment agreement out of court and signed a formal document outlining the terms (sometimes referred to as a stipulation or consent to judgment).

      Made an agreement to pay with the attorney collection firm without having been sued. Later were sued anyway.

  • Stu

    This credit card account I used to have is closed and paid in full, but Experian shows the account as open with a balance due. The payment process involved a debt collection law firm who then filed a “Summons” and “Stipulated Judgment.” I filed an “Answer,” and stuck to a payment plan. When I finished paying, as my bank records can show, the Plaintiff’s Attorney filed a “Satisfaction of Judgment” agreeing that the debt was paid. This matter never went before a Judge, and Experian doesn’t show a “Judgment” on my credit report. My question is this: for purposes of credit reporting, is a “Stipulated Judgment” or “Satisfaction of Judgment” the same thing as a “Judgment”? I guess I’d just like to know before hand whether by proving to Experian that the debt is paid I’d also be reducing my own credit score. Any clarity you could offer would be very much appreciated.
    – Stu

  • Christen

    I served time for a legal matter in court back in 2005, resisting law enforcement. I had no knowledge of any fines that were outstanding (I served SIX MONTHS for this incident – wow). I have repaired my life, and my credit report, and it is in excellent shape now. I have known of EVERY debt on that report. Today I received a letter from a collection agency stating that I owe $12K because of the civil judgement filed against me back in 2005. How can this be? I don’t know what to do. I know how creditors can be and don’t want to respond but also don’t want wages garnished, etc. I definitely can’t afford a debt like this.

  • Cara Marks

    What happens if the landlord dies and there is no one else that is entitled to the money? Does anyone know? I wrote a affidavit and even went and purchased a death record. I dropped it off at the court house with the Judges clerk. Does he answer? What happens now?

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    You can undo an unfortunate circumstance like this. But because this has gone through the courts, the process to reverse it must also be accomplished through the courts.

    You should consult with an attorney about your next step. Not just any attorney though. Look for an experienced “debt collection defense” attorney. http://www.naca.net is a go to resource to help you locate an attorney nearest you with the experience you need.

    • wrong defendant

      Thanks for your help! We just want this to go away so I called the Collections Agency who initiated this and had them send us detail for the amount due. I was told if we pay quickly then they’ll file to vacate the judgement and give me a form to send to the credit bureaus. I figure paying it is cheaper than fighting a judgement in a city 3 hours away when our adult daughter owes the original $400 anyway.

      Original debt was $400, but Collection Agency sent a “breakdown of court costs” saying we owe a little over $1,000. Online it says the court allowed the $400 debt plus “Assess Costs – Allowed”, but doesn’t specify amount of the “assess costs”. I do see online $172 of filing fees which matches the Collection Agency’s invoice, but nothing about the $416 “Service Fee” on their invoice. I called the Court to validate the amount we owe and the rep said “that’s strange. I’d think they should have entered an amount there. You should ask the plaintiff’s attorney.” Is that really how it’s done? The Plaintiff has been given a blank check for any costs which they call a “service fee”? Maybe I should be happy it’s only $416…. Thanks!

      • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

        Sorry for not replying sooner.

        I would not say the fees, which are basically the attorney costs, are a blank check. The fees in this case seem high relative to the debt amount, but are not all that high.

        Given the amounts involved, paying may indeed be the most economical thing to do, as hiring your own attorney to undo all of this would have its costs as well. Be sure to document all that they have agreed to do, especially vacating the judgment.

        I do still think it worth the time to speak to an experienced consumer law attorney. If they waffle on any part of the deal they are agreeing to, or what is put in writing is not clear to you, check out the site I linked to in my prior comment.

  • justmeasking

    I was found to be judgement proof in regards to a judgement. I believed the judgement was dismissed on these grounds.However 5 yrs later and the creditor continues to send me demand notices. Is there anything I can do? Also the total debt reported to the credit bureau has been grossly inflated and does not show the payments I made. Ex I paid 7.500 on a 10,000.00 debt. But the hole 10,000 is being reported vrs the 2 500 remaining

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Chichi – you’re right, the judgment wouldn’t follow you from county to county but to make one small clarification: the judgment should have been filed in the local court where you lived at the time the debt went to court and the judgement was filed.

    Hopefully that makes sense! 🙂

  • Kerry

    Question, a creditor (Capital One) got a judgment against me three years ago, after refusing to settle with the Credit Consolidation program I was enrolled with. Now, I pay Capital One each month, but the money is filtered through a law firm. The Judgement was to Capital One and my payments are made to Capital One each month via the law firm.
    However, Capital one is reporting to the credit agencies, not only the judgement, but the original account (with a notation that the debt was written off). Additionally, the law firm is not sending me any statements showing what I’ve paid and what my balance is despite written correspondence.
    I’ve reviewed the fair debt collection act, and it looks like I have grounds to sue them if they do not comply with my certified written requests for the statement, and my credit report to be fixed. Am I right?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Kerry – Generally the original charged off account can remain on the credit report for the applicable time period even if a judgment was subsequently entered for it. In addition, judgment creditors aren’t required to send you periodic statements. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act doesn’t require judgment creditors to send you statements either, as far as I know.

      You may want to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and copy your state attorney general’s office. You can always consult a consumer law attorney as well to see if you they have broken the law in their attempts to collect from you.

  • Chiichi

    If there is a judgement which has expired statue of limitation and is not shown on my credit report, but still collectable, how can I check if there is any judgement against me?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      If the judgment has expired and is no longer on your credit report, the only other option that I’m aware of is to check with your local county’s court office. If a judgment was filed against you, it should be on file at your local court office. That’s assuming the collector filed the judgment in the correct county.

  • Rhonda

    Is there any way to lower a judgement? I have been paying it for 10 years (it was a total of $5000) and I still owe money. However, I barely make enough to survive. What can I do?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Rhonda – What is the amount you send in monthly? What state do you live in? What was the judgment debt regarding (credit card, medical, services)?

  • d

    I made an agreement with a debt collector only because they said that they would come to my job and take me to court but I had only made one payment my finances dont allow me to make the payments they are too high for me 298 on a monthly basis I am a single mother of 3 and no one helps me pay my bills and I advised them that the 298.00 was still high for me when I agreed now I cannot pay the second payment and Im just thinking of going to court and letting the judge see my income and lower the monthly payments for me as they will not work with me. is that a good choice?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      D – you mentioned that you agreed to the payment terms because they threatened to come to your job and take you to court — if this is the case, I’d be careful and make sure you’re not dealing with a payday loan collection scam. (See “Beware of Fake Payday Loan Debt Collection Scam“.)

      Legally, collectors can’t threaten to show up at your home or place of employment. However, if it is a legitimate collection, you do have a few options. Before you agree to any other payment arrangements, we’d strongly urge you to read through the following resources so that you’re fully aware of your rights, your options, and what collectors are legally able to say and do — and what they’re not:

      1. Seven Ways to Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit
      2. The Dos and Don’ts of Paying a Debt Collector
      3. What to do if a Debt Collector Calls

  • Joe

    I had a default judgment against me for a repossession a few years ago and while preparing to file bankruptcy I looked up court case history and my credit report, it now says “judgment satisfied” without any action on my part …what gives?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      If you didn’t pay or settle the judgment, it could be a misreporting error.

      The credit reporting agencies pay third-party companies to research and report public records (judgments, liens, bankruptcies, etc.) Mistakes in reporting happen quite often and it’s possible that the third-party furnisher that reported the public record to the bureaus misreported.

      Did you double check with the court records to see if the judgement was satisfied at the court level (not just your credit report?)

      If you’re planning to file for bankruptcy it would be worth checking the records at the court and documenting that the judgement was satisfied. You may even want to take it a step further and have your bankruptcy attorney contact the creditor/collector to confirm just to be safe. Filing bankruptcy gives you the option to include the judgment (the only way to resolve a judgment without paying it). If you don’t include the judgment and the “satisfied” reporting is in error, it could resurface later on down the road.

  • Betty

    I need help- I have a judgement against me for $2,600+ however after receiving a payout it shows” Judgement = X” but TOTAL (with mostly legal fees) is $10k! My question is, Is a JUDGEMENT an amount the court has reduced an old debt down to or is it just an initial lump amount they have allowed the collector to pursue? (I had my bank accounts garnished and I really want to settle this- but the only option they’ve given me thus far is reducing the “total” to $8,000 w/$200 per month paid- I just think they are not telling me something… so I don’t want to agree to anything unless I know exactly what it mandatory to pay off so I can get my bank accounts back! Please help- thanks.

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Betty – There are 2 immediate things that jump out at me.

      1. Judgment debt grows from interest that is set by the court. There are caps on interest, but in some instances the interest rate after judgment can be the default rate from the credit or loan agreement. This is 30% in some instances.

      How long ago was the judgment entered?

      2. Depending on how the court action was entered, legal fees (attorney and court costs) can climb rapidly. If this is a judgment that was heavily contested through the court process, legal fees of several thousand dollars are not unheard of. But there have also been problems with collection attorneys tacking on far too much in legal fees, and slipping it by the court when the lawsuit goes unanswered and ends in a default.

      Did you fight the suit? Was the judgment entered as a default?

      It would help to know who the name of the law firm that sued.

      Settling the debt can often be done at a better savings, but when you have a lump sum to offer. Is that an option?

      Depending on the answers to my questions above, it could make sense to run your situation by your own attorney.It is best to speak with one that has experience in debt collection defense.

      • Betty

        Hi- thanks so much for your response. The judgement came after I was conned out of a loan mod and HOA lapsed as a result. The issue is it seems I’m being charged long after I foreclosed so how on earth would I be responsible for those payments? My biggest concern is to find out if the judgement means the amount has been reduced based on inactivity or if it’s just a portion of the sume the court has allowed the collector to pursue.. does that make sense? Every time I’ve tried to talk to the hoa/collector attorney they haven’t been very flexible or helpful for me to negotiate a payment plan. This recent conversation was “They are willing to reduce $2k so you’d pay $200/month on an $8K fee” I still feel it’s too much and want to request perhaps meeting me halfway at $5k… I just don’t know what to do and can’t afford an attorney.

        • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

          With a judgment the collector is allowed to pursue payment through wage garnishment in most states, a bank account levy, or a lien on real property.

          I have seen exorbitant legal costs added to HOA fees when sued for collection. That may be the case here, but did you contest any of this with the court, or was this a default judgment? What month and year was the judgment entered in the court?

          Judgment debt does not get reduced based on inactivity. The amount actually grows from inactivity because of judgment interest being charged on the balance of the judgment that remains unpaid.

          Settling at 5k is possible in these scenarios, but that is often possible when you have a lump sum to offer, not when you are only able to offer monthly payments, like 200 in this case.

      • Betty

        It’s La Ze Ga & Jo ha nsen hoa attorneys in Georgia. I cannot do a lump sum at this time only set up payments. I am starting a new job soon where I would be out of town a lot and really need my bank account back!

  • Pingback: How to Avoid a Debt Collection Snowball | Best Credit Repair()

  • Pingback: Help! I Lost My Debt Collection Notice | Best Credit Repair()

  • Julie

    My father got served, saying they were going for a judgement against him. (He had been late in paying – but WAS paying.) He went in, and made payment arrangements. He was told that as he made payments, they would cancel the judgement. He paid $100 right then and there. They have since accepted THREE checks – and sent bills showing the payments he had made, and making note that the balance was going down. The true balance from the loan – nothing – NOTHING – about a judgement. The last bill we got a few weeks ago said he owed $100. Since they were accepting payments and had SAID they were cancelling it, he did not go to court.

    Imagine his shock when, over two MONTHS later, he got a statement saying that they had gotten a judgement against him, had filed a ‘check for asserts’ (I forgot the exact term.) A judgement for $1200, when the loan itself was only for $1000, and he had bills FROM them, stating that he only owes $100. That now he had to show up in court and prove why he shouldn’t be held in contempt!

    Then when he went to the bank today (the ‘”contempt” thing’ is in three days), he found out his bank account had been frozen. To say that he’s furious just would not even BEGIN to cover it.

    Is this legal? Normal? Is there ANYTHING we can do? This is in IL, by the way – I know the laws go from state to state. We have copies of the checks they accepted and the bills they sent, btoh before and after the judgement. Can they really tell you they’ve cancelled a judgement, continue accepting payments, send bills showing the payments being accepted…and continue with a judgement?!

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Julie – From what you have shared in your post, your father was served a lawsuit, did what he thought was the right thing by making payments, and then ended up with a default judgment, a summary judgment, or a he signed some papers consenting to a judgment.

      Is what happened legal? You should connect with an experienced debt defense attorney to discuss how all of this went down. But I have seen enough of this type of collection activity to unfortunately call it “semi-normal”. As far as what to do, I would suggest connecting with they type of attorney I mentioned above through http://www.naca.net – and/or showing up and outlining in full detail what happened with the judge.

      Your father absolutely needs to show up at that hearing. The stories you hear about people going to jail over an unpaid debt are when not showing up for hearings (especially this type of hearing), then having a warrant issued for arrest. He MUST go to that hearing. Bring all documents etc.

      What is the name of the plaintiff in the suit?
      What is the name of the debt collection attorney or law firm?

  • Ted

    I filed bankrucpty in Oct.2005. About a month ago I received a court paperwork that I must go to court for a medical bill from 2004. I have never received any unpaid doctor bills since 2005 and nothing shows on my credit report. I am pretty sure I filed bankruptcy on this debt. The new company says they bought the bill. The problem is I have court in 2 weeks and even though 3 weeks ago my attorney has requested the original debt holder from 2004-2005 they are dragging their feet and not producing it. I don’t want a judgment on my new clean record and will pay if it doesn ot fall under my bankruptcy. Am I protected by anything if I go to the judgment hearing if they are refusing to give me this information?

    • Deanna Templeton

      Ted – I’m not sure I understand completely, but what exactly is your BK attorney requesting from the original debt holder?

      Is your attorney not able to see from the filing paperwork that the debt was included? (That’s confusing and should be something they can see from the bankruptcy filing itself– whether or not the debt was included in bankruptcy.)

      I’d clarify this with your BK attorney but in the meantime I’d also strongly advise reading Gerri’s feature on: Seven Ways to Defend a Debt Collection Lawsuit. It gives excellent advice on how to handle collection companies that are seeking judgements.

      If your attorney is dragging their feet, another way to determine whether or not the original debt was included in bankruptcy would be to check your credit reports. If the debt was included, it would be reported as “included in BK” on your credit reports. You’re entitled to one free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies every 12 months:

      How to Order Your Free Annual Credit Reports

  • Brender

    I have two credit card judgements on my credit report that were placed in 2011. They are listed as debt collection companies not the credit card companies. The original debt (last non payment date) was July 2007. Can they still continue to add/renew these? Is the judgement date from last payment date like your credit report? Or the date of judgement? How long from now before they come off? The amounts are far above anything I can pay.

    • Deanna Templeton

      Brender – Credit card companies often sell the debts to third party collection companies so it’s not uncommon for a judgment to listed by the collector (rather than the credit card company.)

      The statute of limitations to collect on judgments is quite different from traditional debts, with many lasting as long as 10-20 years depending on your individual state laws. The point being, once a collection makes it to judgment status, it’s not going to just go away or fall off your credit reports.

      Credit reports will go by the date filed for judgments. Unpaid judgments remain for seven years from the date filed OR however long the statute of limitations on judgements is for your state (whichever is longer). Keep in mind, however, that unpaid judgments can often be renewed so if you don’t address them, they can stay on your credit reports for indefinitely.

      With all that being said, if you can’t afford to pay the debt, you may be able to negotiate a settlement for less. This may mean setting aside minimal payments each month to save up a reasonable settlement before making the offer. A lump sum payment can often entice the collector to negotiate and accept.

      Unfortunately, once a collection makes it to judgment status, there really are only two ways to resolve it — either pay or negotiate a settlement, or file bankruptcy.

  • Terri Stafford

    I have a judgement against me for $4421 plus interest & court cost from 2008, I have a balance of $1622 at $50 month. My only income is social security, question is what would happen if I asked for a lower payment or just stopped paying. The $50 a month is hard to send every month, I live in Ohio.

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Terri – Was the judgment debt something unsecured originally, like a credit card?

      Getting the judgment creditor to agree to a payment lower than 50 a month is just not all that common. In fact, your getting the 50 per month agreed to on that size of a judgment balance is not common. Having said that, you can always ask.

      If you stop paying the amount agreed to:

      SSI cannot be garnished at the source for most debts.
      Your bank account is not at risk of a levy if the only funds deposited are exempt, such as SSI.

      If your SSI is deposited into a bank account where you have additional deposits coming from sources that are not exempt – there may be real risks to money on deposit in the account.

      If you own property there are risks of a judgment lien being filed. This does not mean the lien will result in forcing a sale, but it can sit there for a long time.

      Judgment debt can grow from the interest that is allowed in your state. Do you know what interest rate is being applied to your debt, if any?

      You can only do what you can do. And if the monthly payment is simply not something you can continue, there are going to be some side affects. The judgment will not go away, and will likely grow.

      It is always a good idea to run court and legal issues by an experienced attorney. One with collection defense experience would be ideal in your situation. With your limited income you likely would qualify for low income legal aid, so try connecting with a nearby office first.

      • Terri Stafford

        Only deposit is ss & and a very small retirement check less than $100. I do not own property and my car is 13 years old. This is fromm a credit card..

        • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

          I would say you are fairly insulated from aggressive collection actions if you were to have to stop making the monthly payments. I would question whether the small retirement check is an exempt source. If not, and when mingled in the same account as your exempt SSI, there are risks. You could insulate yourself further by having one account exclusive to SSI, and another account for the retirement checks, or any other funds.

          I would still encourage you to speak to a local legal aid office about this and whether this would be a necessary caution to take.

  • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

    Lyla – Did you participate in the court process? in other words, did you file an answer to the lawsuit, appear in court etc?

    It is always best to consult with an experienced debt defense attorney about these concerns. Generally the IRS will be first in line. You may need to be concerned about a bank account levy the collector can get the court to issue as a method for collecting on the judgment. The credit card judgment creditor can attempt to garnish wages direct from your employer depending on the state you live in, but if you are already being hit by the IRS, you may be able to contest the wage garnishment and request a hearing to show you meet partial, or full exemption from garnishment.

    Do you have other debts outstanding besides this judgment and the IRS? If so, what does the full deb picture look like?

  • Nori

    Hello, I was wondering what happens after Creditors put your account on hold, can they do it again ? My account was on hold for 30 days, and they wiped out my savings account, but it was not enough to pay the debt off, but they have not contacted me anymore. Should I contact them? Also,before they froze my account,I attempted to pay the bill,and they gave me a monthly payment plan, but when I called to make my first payment on the plan they said it was something wrong with the account and the couldn’t process it and the following month my bank account was frozen. Is that normal procedure or was I treated unfairly?

    • Deanna Templeton

      Nori – If they seized the money in your savings account and it wasn’t enough to pay the balance on the debt, it’s in your best interest to contact them. Otherwise, they may attempt to seize funds again if they become available.

      I’m not sure what you mean by them saying there was something wrong with the account and they couldn’t process your payment but if at all possible, you should try to pay with a check or money order rather than granting them access to your checking account. Can you contact the creditor and try making payment arrangements so that you’re not blindsided with another account seizure?

  • Abe Shadeh

    My house went to foreclosure in Sept. 2012. I also had a second mortgage the second bank got a judgment against me, a year later they came to my house and took my car sold It at auction for $2400. Is this legal and can they just walk in my home and take anything, or are they limited to what they can take and where they can take it from like inside my house?

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Abe – How much is the judgment for? Are you working?

      There are limitations to what can be taken from you to enforce a judgment. You really need to consult with a debt collection defense attorney in order to get the feedback you need – which is going to be state specific.

  • Phil

    I went to court and a judgement was filed against me can I still be sued and charges brought against me for same judgement

    • http://consumerrecoverynetwork.com/ask-a-question/ Michael Bovee

      Phil – You cannot be sued and a judgment entered all over again for the same debt. I suppose a version of this would be if you moved to another state and established residency. The prior judgment can be refiled in another court in order to obtain “foreign judgment” status in order to aggressively collect from you.

      You do have to be concerned with the fact that they can be more aggressive in how they collect from you now that there is a judgment in place. This would include property liens, bank levy, and wage garnishment (depending on the state you live in).

      It is always a good idea to discuss your vulnerabilities with an experienced debt defense attorney.

  • jd

    I am a judgement debtor for embezzlement case. The amount claimed is $14600.00. It was an undefended judgement. I offered to pay $50.00 monthly as i am unemployed at the moment, but the judgement creditor refuses to accept and says he wants a lump sum. And he says that he has done a civil case now his going to complain in the police. I told him a i dont have any asset or a bank account and he doesn’t understand. I told him i will pay more when i get a job. What should i do now?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      jd – Talk with a bankruptcy attorney to find out what the creditor can and cannot do to collect from you. With that information, you’ll be in a better position to respond to these threats.

  • Maria

    Hi my name is Laura. I need some help ok LVNV Funding garnished my wages no problem but, it seems that i done paying this loan and now they keep garnishing my wages and i try calling the attorney that its on my paper work. I would like to know if someone knows what to do when you are done paying off your garnishes and who do you talk to. Cant seem to get a hold of anyone. Do i call the loan company. Please any advice

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Laura – The creditor that obtained the judgment should answer your questions for you. It’s possible that interest has been added to the judgment and that’s why your wages are still being garnished. Or it is possible that they are simply making a mistake.

      I would suggest you send the attorney a certified letter (keep a copy) telling them that you believe you have paid this debt in full and that you want a full accounting of the debt and any balance remaining. Send a certified copy to the collection agency as well. If they don’t get back to you in a reasonable time, consult a consumer law attorney or at least file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Laura – I wrote about this problem in this article: http://blog.credit.com/2013/05/how-to-kill-zombie-judgments-on-your-credit-report/ You need to talk with the judgment creditor – the one that got the judgment against you. Try sending a certified letter to both them and the attorney. If they don’t respond, file a complaint with your state attorney general and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

  • Mike

    I had a discover card that i defaulted on and had a judgement put against me in 2008.Tried getting a hold of them in 2010 but could not find a number for them. did not hear anything from anyone about this judgement untill today.A collector from Dynamic Recovery Services. How can i find out if this is not a scam before i start giving them money?

    • Credit.com

      Mike – your credit report should show evidence of the judgment, as well as contact information on who filed the judgment, etc. The best way to find out for sure, is to order your credit reports and contact the company that filed the judgment against you. You can order your credit reports for free once a year from http://www.annualcreditreport.com. This resource will help you through the order process:
      How to Order Your Free Annual Credit Reports

  • Ashley kepley

    A few years ago I had a car repossessed. They auctioned it off and I still owed a large amount. I was unable to pay it so they took out a judgement against my grandfather and I. It was a joint account. They threatened to take his home and land so we agreed to pay a monthly payment and settled outside of court. I have been paying on this for 2.5 years. I just pulled up my credit report and it says the Judgement is on there and that the judgement was in favor or the company. Should this be on there even though we settled outside of court and never had a court date? It looks like I’m not paying anything at all.

    • Credit.com

      Ashley – The judgement will remain in your credit report for seven years from the date filed, whether it’s paid or not. Once you finish paying off the total amount, it should be updated to “paid” or “satisfied.” How much do you have left on the debt?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Unfortunately, Ashley, unpaid judgments can, for all intents and purposes, be reported for many years. Once they are satisfied they can be reported for up to seven years from the date they were entered by the court. And making payments on a judgment doesn’t really help your credit scores either. As long as the judgment is on your credit report it will hurt your credit. If you are making no progress on paying off the judgment and the amount is large in comparison to your income, you may want to talk with a bankruptcy attorney.

  • Candice

    Hi Gerri – I hope you can help. My husband broke a lease several years back and the apartment complex hired a collection agency which states his balance is over 2k dollars. But we recently found out there is actually a judgment against him for about $300. Is this possible? I was thinking that since the judgment is like a settlement stating who owes who so much, that was the final amount, but the collection agency is hearing nothing of it and sticking with the 2k amount. Which I still find ridiculous because I think in Texas you are not allowed to double dip and only charge for loss of use, which makes since if the court settled at $300. Can you tell me if the same company can have a judgment and collection for different amounts? And what the options are? Thank you!

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Candice – It is difficult for me to tell exactly what’s going on here. Judgments can accrue interest, but the amount is determined by state law and/or the contract. I wrote about that in this article: http://blog.credit.com/2013/06/avoid-debt-collection-snowball/ It does sound excessive though, and it is not unusual for collection agencies to inflate debts or to try to collect more than is owed.

      Fortunately, in Texas there is a terrific resource you can try. It;s called the Texas Consumer Complaint Center. I recommend you contact them here http://www.texasccc.com/. Hopefully they can help you figure out what’s going on and straighten it out.

  • http://credit.com gail mcgann

    I brought my 20 yr. old son to court yesterday who has a dual diagnosis (schizophrenia & drug addiction). He is taking psychiatric med’s, is unable to work and waiting for disability to kick in. While he was ill and not on med’s he used his debit card that had $20 in the account, now with penalty charges he owes $1000 plus $50 in court costs. A lady representing the bank asked my son to fill out paperwork. She asked him then if he agrees to admit what he did was wrong and they would not come after the money, if he gets a job then they would want him to pay back.., he agreed and signed an agreement for judgment. I noticed after on this agreement paper when I got home that there is interest of 12%, she never told my son about that part of the agreement. Can he change his agreement?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Gail – Creditors are often allowed to charge interest on judgments. The amount they can charge is based on state law and the contract. I wrote about that in this article: How to Avoid a Debt Collection Snowball. Keep in mind that judgments can often be negotiated. Perhaps you can try to offer to pay a lump sum to settle the debt for him? It may be worth a try. (Keep in mind I am not an attorney and can’t offer any advice regarding the legality of the contract he signed.)

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Gail – I wrote a reply to your question in this article: http://blog.credit.com/2013/05/how-to-kill-zombie-judgments-on-your-credit-report/

  • delores rush

    The nursing home that my deceased dad was in is suing me for what the remainder of what he owes which is $76,000. My dad while in good health when he gave my children & I in the last 5 years close to that amount . He was living alone in his home & very active until his stroke in 2011. I received a summons stating that they are going to put a judgement against me if I don’t answer this complaint which I already spoke to another attorney with this firm in March . I called the number on the summons last week & they didn’t answer me. I don’t know what to do as I have never been involved in a lawsuit before. My attorney is difficult to get a hold of & doesn’t reply to his calls.Please help me as I am very distressed over false allegations in this summons.

    • Credit.com

      Delores — In this case, you need a reliable attorney. If the attorney you hired isn’t returning your calls, get a new attorney. That’s just unacceptable. You can try a site like http://www.NACA.net to find a consumer law attorney in your area. Please keep us posted and let us know how things go.

  • daphne

    I have a judgement lien filed against me,right when im going to purchase a car,can I still buy that car if I have a co-signer?

    • Credit.com

      Daphne – it’ll depend on the lender. Although, it’s important to understand that the co-signer will be taking a very big risk in doing so. A cosigner will be just as liable for the car as you are and if you are ever late or miss a payment, it will hurt your cosigner’s credit just badly as your own because it will be reported in both of your credit reports. For more on cosigner risks the following article goes into more detail. Even though it’s specific to credit cards, it’s the same for any type of cosigned loan: Hey Buddy, Can You Co-Sign for Me?

  • Catherine

    Hello. On Feb 09, 2012 the court requested garnishment on my wages every month. The total judgement due is $6161.15. The payroll has been deducting 25% of my gross wage twice a month. On 11/09/12 the payroll made the last deduction for $174.04 to pay the balance from the total judgement due. $6161.15 is showing on my paycheck that was total garnishement they have collected on my paycheck. This month the payroll received a fax from the creditor that I still owe them money and the balance is $798.01. My question is where is that amount coming from??? the payroll told me to contact the creditor and I did…they told me that was the interest accrued from the balance from 11/09/2012…they said after the they received $174.04 on 11/15/12 there was still remaining balance the total money collected was $5690.53. My question is am the one who is responsible to pay to what ever balance since they already collected $6161.15 on my paychecks?

  • KC

    I paid a judgement one week after the creditor took it to court. The judgement still appears on my credit and I want to either have it show that it was paid or possibly remove it (if possible). What should I do?

  • Christine

    I have a judgement on my credit report for approximately $8, 100. My credit reports says this will be removed from my report July 2016. I never signed for papers for this and when I discovered it a couple years ago and tried explaining that the other person on the account was charging things stilk without my knowledge, the creditor was unwilling to work with me. I am wondering how this is going to affect me in the future. I have not been contacted by anyone since. And in 2 years it will be off my credit report. I received the judgement while living in illinois and now have been living in maryland for 2 years. Any suggestions?

  • Dana

    how do we go about changing the amount of a wage garnishment? We live in California and its a car repo.

    • Credit.com

      Some states will allow you to appeal the garnishment, in which case you may qualify for an exception but you’d need to check your individual state laws to find out. The only other option to wipe out a garnishment is bankruptcy, in which case we’d advise consulting with a bankruptcy attorney to help you determine whether or not this would be a good fit for your individual financial situation.

  • Pingback: Help! I Found a Judgment on My Credit Report | Best Credit Repair()

  • Chanel

    I get my credit report monthly and I just checked and noticed I have a court judgement. I live in Missouri but I have had fines in Illinois. How can I find out what the judgement is for?

    • Credit.com

      Chanel – your credit report should include information for where the judgment is recorded. You should be able to use this information to look up and call the court/county where the judgment was filed. They’ll be able to tell you what the judgement was for, etc.

  • Puma10

    Okay, I have a 2,110 Judgement that was filed just recently with Blatt, Hasenmiller, Leibsker, and Moore with Capital One in Indiana. I was very foolish back in the day and this debt is probably over 7 years old. I tried calling the collection agency today to work out some sort of payment play before having my wages garnished. They did not want to work anything out only wanted the payment in full. I go to Court May 22nd for a asset hearing, etc. By the way, I have no assets in my name. Since I have no way in getting in contact with the lawyer at this firm and my employer would prefer this be handled without garnishing my wages. I should be able to come up with $900- $1,000 by the time I have to walk in court. Should I still walk in court with this payment which would leave a balance of $1,110 after that payment and would the judge consider this good faith and possibly let us work out a payment arrangement instead of going after my wages? If they let me pay the 1,000 on the day of court, I have no problem doing a payment arrangement of 200 a month to finish of the debt. I only have a fax number of the attorney, should I send a letter asking if this is possible to the attorney and to the court as well prior to the court date? I already feel sick to my stomach, so lost at this point. This is the only debt I have.

  • Dan

    I received a notice that a collector was seeking a judgement but have misplaced the notice and have no way to communicate with the collector. How can I find out before its too late?

  • Jen

    I have a judgement that was placed against me in 2011. I contacted them today to make a deal if some sort. The law firm had gone out of business! What do I have to so now?

    • Michael Bovee

      The court record will show who the attorney was hired by as the plaintiff in the case against you. Contact the judgment creditor (the named plaintiff). You will be able to resolve the debt with them, their assignee (which they would tell you how to contact), or learn from them if they sold off the right to collect the judgment, who to – then contact the new owner for resolution.

  • Twocrazydogsmom

    I live in Nevada and had a judgment against me that I ignored and then lost. Dumb I know but I didn’t realize the ramafications at the time. I am now trying to take care of the debt which they are now saying is 5 times higher than the original debt and being charged 32% interest. They refuse to work with me on a settlement and are garnishing my wages. Is there anything I can do. The stress is killing me and they keep telling me I have no options.

    • Michael Bovee

      I would encourage you to connect with an attorney in Nevada with collection defense experience to discuss your issues.

      Judgment interest in Nevada is allowed pre and post judgment at the rate set by contract, or 2% over prime. It sounds like the credit card debt you were sued for was being charged a default rate (unfortunate, but normal).

      You are entitled to petition the court in order to show the personal financial hardship resulting from the wage garnishment. If you meet garnishment exemptions (partial or complete), it will be easier to work out a payoff when the judgment creditor is no longer able to collect.

      Be aware that if garnishments are eliminated the creditor can still go after a bank account levy, so be certain you manage your finances a little differently until you resolve the debt.

      Also, chapter 7 bankruptcy would eliminate most judgment debts.

  • http://N/A Jon


    Earlier this month a friend of mine decided to drive my car which was not insured. The reason he had my car was because he was supposed to be keeping it off the street in a friends tow yard whom he was close with. Either way, he crashed it and told me he hit a guardrail and telephone pole. I received a letter in the mail two days ago from a esq. stating that their client sustained $50,000 worth of damage to their home, and that I should forward the letter to my insurance company or if I don’t have insurance to call them ASAP to discuss the matter. I am afraid to call because I know nothing about law and fear that since the car was registered in my name I will have no legitimate defense and must pay for this persons damaged home even though I was not the driver or present at the accident. This occurred in NYC. Can you tell me what I could do? I am unemployed and receive financial aid from the gov’t to attend college and am afraid if I am sued my loan/grant money will be interfered with – is this a possibility? Perhaps I can take out a loan from school to make payments to keep them off my back worst case scenario. I will not respond until I can figure out just what to do. Please help and thank you very much.

    – Jon

    • Credit.com

      Jon – Depending on your insurance coverage, the damages may still be covered under your insurance (even though you weren’t in the car.) Call your insurance company and they’ll be able to tell you your options. We aren’t attorney’s and are not familiar with the laws regarding property damages or NYC laws, but your insurance company should be able to explain your options.

      • http://N/A Jon

        Actually that is the reason for my question: I had no insurance of any kind. It had lapsed for a month and I couldn’t afford the money to renew it, so he was going to keep the car off the street in the tow yard. That is why I am concerned about this $50,000 estimate this lawyer is speaking of because I’m pretty sure I will be held accountable even though I didn’t authorize him to drive it around.

        • Credit.com

          Don’t wait or ignore the situation, it could end up making it worse. We’re not attorneys and our area of expertise is credit and finance (rather than property damages and insurance claims) so we’d strongly urge you to contact an attorney for legal council. There may be other legal avenues that neither of us are aware of that may protect you (or allow you to transfer the damages to the driver of the car if they had insurance, for example). Either way, an attorney would be able to at least tell you your options so that you’re not walking into a lawsuit blindly.

  • vincent caiazzo

    My ex wife had a business credit card in the state of florida she used to travel with for work, they paid her when she showed the statements and she was too put it too paying off the card, well when we got divorced she had added a second card which I never used, I did not sign anything, the company lvnv bogus as they are ran up the amount she said and charged her 10,005 dollars I had no idea about this debt we divorced in 2005, and in 2006 they filed a judgement against her and sent her a court paper to appear, I did not get anything she never showed and they placed a judgement on her and me also, I had to go to extraordinary lengths to find out who this was from, where it was from who owed it and how I was involved, it turns out the debt from the company lvnv went out of business and was bought by resurgent capital i called them for information and they said they do not have me listed on any judgements only my ex-wife, i asked for a document to say this , they refused and said they cannot since they dont have any records of any judgements, so my question is how do i get this removed from the court, it will be offf my credit in december 2012 but I want to buy a home now, and feel this is not my debt , i wasnt served and its not showing on the companies list as being a real debt or judgement.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if the judgment creditor renews this judgment – which they can do in most cases – then the judgment may not disappear from your credit report. I am not saying it will happen, but you should be prepared for that possibility.

      In addition, in Florida, like many other states, judgment creditors can go after wages, bank accounts, etc. So waiting for this to drop off your credit reports is not the best option. It sounds like fraud is involved her but given how old this is, you are going to need to get help from a consumer law attorney to challenge the judgment. I wrote about that in this article: How to Kill Zombie Judgments on Your Credit Report

  • Jen

    A ceditor company recently called me at work threatening garnishment of wages. They said it was from Capitol One, and the judgement was in 2007. I was never served and have never signed anything. I am in California, they have been calling up to 7 times a day at my business (a job I just started after not working for a while) the debt is $5200, they said if I paid $3000 within 10 days they would not garnish my wages. I’m unsure what to do at this point as I of course do not have $3k or anyone that can give it to me. It seems like quite a high settlement, I would have of course come up with other options had I realized it had gone this far. Not sure what the next steps are…thank you so much.

    • http://getoutofdebt.org Get Out of Debt Guy

      It’s hard to tell exactly who is calling you at this point. Most likely it is some debt buyer down the food chain since the debt is so old.

      If you have not admitted to the debt yet the first step would be to even see if the debt buyer has enough information to even make a claim they own the debt. See How to Dispute and Ask a Debt Collector to Validate a Debt

      For a seven year old debt there is enough of a concern they can’t even prove ownership. Armed with that information and a visit to a local attorney, this can be taken care of rather easily.

  • Vince

    I have 2 judgments for credit card debit. One has already started garnishing some money from my bank checking account. I’m unemployed and there is very little money in that account. I may be able to gather half of what is needed for pay off from relatives, but who do I pay that to without getting ripped off? The constable? You say get it in writing before paying, pretty sure they won’t do that.
    I’m having a hard time finding an attorney up here in Reno, NV. Everybody is busy.
    Thanks for your help.

    • http://getoutofdebt.org Get Out of Debt Guy

      You can use the directory at http://bankruptcy.getoutofdebt.org to find a local attorney but unless you come to an agreement with the lender to stop the garnishment it will take legal intervention to make the debt situation better. A chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge the debt in about 90 days.

  • Bryan

    Hello –

    Great and informative information! Thanks for that.

    My question is:

    I lost a judgement in court, it was from a collection agency, for $3300. I have no means to pay this as I am merely trying to survive. I am unemployed, and have been forced to move myself ad my 6 year old son to live with family members.

    Since losing the judgement – I have head nothing from the collections agency. They were very harrassing and vocal – up until trial. . and now nothing, not even a settlement offer or a threat!

    My question is –

    What is their likely strategy ? and Can and are they monitoring my bank accounts to see if and when there are funds in there – to then effectuate a freeze and take posession of my accounts and funds ? What should I expect ?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks Again!

    • Gerri Detweiler

      It’s impossible for me to say but since judgments last indefinitely, and usually carry significant collection powers (such as the ability to go after your bank account or wages), it’s important for you to find out. I’d suggest you talk with a local bankruptcy attorney. They can help you understand your rights, the risks, and your options.

  • Holly Larsen

    Hi. I have a question. My husband and I used to live in Utah. We were dumb enough then to “trust in the system” and took out a car loan and a credit card through a credit union. That was in 2003. Everything was fine and we always paid our bills on time. In 2008, we moved to South Carolina for a job. (2008) We purchased a home. About a year into the new job in South Carolina, my husband lost his job due to the economy crash. We were out of work for over a year. We lost our home (it was foreclosed) and we could no longer pay the credit union for the credit card/car loan. In total, we owed the credit union about $5,900. We asked if they would settle with us and they said no. Recently, they sent an intent to sue brought to me by the Sheriff here in South Carolina. Of course we couldn’t fly to Utah for the hearing. But even if we could, we still don’t have the money. Just today, the court in Utah sent us just sent us a judgment for $6,557.00 Why they think we have the money now as opposed to before, I don’t know, but we don’t. We rent a home and have just enough to pay our utilities and keep our children fed. Regardless, they have sued. My question is, can they now garnish my husband’s wages? We have lived in South Carolina for five years and all of this happened after we were here. What should we do? Isn’t it enough we no longer own a home? And both of our cars are worth about $2,000 each? What are out options? I’m worried they will garnish my husband’s wages and then we’re really screwed. Can’t they just let me rent a house and feed my kids? Is that so much to ask? Please help. I’m super stressed and feel like crying.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Holly – I’m really sorry to hear what a tough time you’ve been through. As far as the credit union goes, try not to be too angry. They are just trying to protect their interest. If they don’t get a judgment and the statute of limitations expire they can’t collect in the future. If they have a judgment and you are able to pay later, then they will be able to collect.

      My understanding is that South Carolina is a great state as far as consumer protections against wage garnishment go. It would be very difficult for them to garnish your wages there, so they may not try. There is an excellent article about that here.

      However, this judgment won’t go away until it is settled or paid. So you and your husband should probably meet with a consumer bankruptcy attorney to a. Make sure your wages are safe b. Find out what else they can do to collect (go after bank accounts?) and c. Learn about your options for resolving this. The attorney who wrote that article should be able to help or to refer you to someone in your area who can.

      I really do hope things turn around for you and your family soon.

  • Leslie

    I live in Texas and just recently divorced, Nov 2012. I had no income for the past 17 years. I just discovered a judgement has been made against me for a loan at a credit union that I was the primary account holder of the checking account and had to be put on the loan in order for my husband to get it. I was never served anything for this judgement and had no idea it was on there until I had to refinance my home after the divorce. Do I have any recourse for this or do I just need to bite the bullet and work something out with them?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Leslie – Generally a joint account holder is legally responsible for the debt, and if the debt is not paid they become fully responsible. However, it is possible you were not properly served with a notice of the lawsuit that led to the judgment. In Texas, there is a terrific resource called the Texas Consumer Complaint Center. I would suggest you contact them to see if they can offer any advice on your situation.

  • Jenn Clark

    Me and my husband are cleaning up our credit reports. He has a judgement against him from a few years ago and it shows X amount on his credit report. We went to pay this judgement and they gave an entirely different number almost 1500 dollars more. Can they do that?? We were willing to pay the full amount that shows on the credit report but they said ” Absolutely Not, full amount or nothing” The debt is in Tennessee and we live in GA.


  • Shelley Smith

    My mom is 74 received a judgment on a credit card debt that she can not possibly pay. In front of the judge she was asked questions as to her financial situation and the judgement was issued but judge turned to the credit cards representative and said well I guess she can’t pay it. This was last June. She has now recieved a notice from the collector that she must fill out a form and start sending them payments or they will garnish her wages. She made less than $9,000 last year, is making a payment on her mobile home and has nothing else but a broken down old car. She is scared that they will garnish her wages and she won’t be able to keep lights on anymore. The judge had already indicated she couldn’t pay. What should she do. She has no money to pay for an atty and neither do I. She is in Ohio.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Shelley –

      I am so sorry to hear what your Mom is going through. Because of your mother’s low wages, she may be protected (exempt) from wage garnishment. I would recommend you make an appointment with a consumer bankruptcy attorney and meet with the attorney to discuss her options. I am sure you can find an attorney who can give her a free consultation. You can also try contacting Ohio Legal Aid Services for help.

  • mark kroepfl

    I received a letter on 3 25 2013 stating there was a judgment against me from 9 13 2006 and there trying to get a wage verification from my employer,so they can garnish my wages.this is seven years old and I don’t ever remember being made aware or this.what can I do, I live in Illinois

    than you

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Mark – It’s difficult to challenge a judgment after 7 years. My suggestion is you talk with a bankruptcy attorney asap to find out what your rights are and to see if there is a way to stop the wage garnishment if necessary.

  • carrie

    So I had a judgment against me since 1997 it started off about 3000 dollars. I didn’t start paying on it until 2006 when I made a payment plan of 40 dollars a month, the by then with the interest it was 6000 dollars, like I said I’ve been paying on it since 2006, now this new guy is trying to pressure me saying I have to pay it right now 2000 dollars or they’re going to start garnishing my wages even though I haven’t missed any payments. in California how many times can they renew a judgement,

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Carrie – My understanding is that most judgments last for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely. The California courts publishes some helpful information about that here. It sounds like you have been trying for a very long time to pay this debt and it’s just getting larger. Have you consulted a bankruptcy attorney? That would be the next step I’d suggest.

  • James LaDUe

    I’m looking for a little advise. I live in Alaska but grew up in Oregon. When I was 18 I had either a CC or a Checking account with Wells F.. that I did not take care of. I understand that I incurred the original debt of $700 and now that I’m a responsible adult I want to get everything from my past (there is plenty) taking care of. However when I started my new job in September I received a garnishment packet. My total owed is now $7000, that’s right. I offered a settlement at the time of $5000 which I had, I was told that I could pay $6000 now and make payments for the remaining balance. This was not satisfactory for me. My current interest rate is 23.9%. They have been taking out 25% of my gross income for these payments. I make decent money now but this is killing me. Both financially and mentally. My questions regard how much interest is legal, does the state which the debt occurred in or the current state of residence that will set precedent. I know that my garnishment is only good for a certain amount of time and the reprieve will be nice. However the debt will continue to increase.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      James – That’s nuts! Unfortunately the best time to challenge these things is when you are first sued. But I don’t think it would hurt for you to consult a consumer law attorney now to find out whether what they are charging is illegal. Will you let us know what they say?

  • Kimberly

    I have a judgement lien against me. They took $1000 of a $1600 judgement out of my bank account. I would like to refinance my house but the lien is still for $1600. I would like to pay the court the balance so I can get a release of judgement. How do I do this? I live in Colorado.

  • andrew

    I have received a judgement. I’ve been told I have to write a letter and a phone call won’t cover a conversation with them. What is that letter supposed to say?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Andrew – I am sorry I don’t understand your question. Can you please elaborate?

  • http://Yahoo Barbara

    My son bought a car over twelve years ago and didn’t finish paying for it, now he is being sued for the remaining balance, the amount is over $5,000.00 what is the time limit that they can sue for? I thought that if you have a debt that wasn’t paid for that after 7 years they couldn’t sue you, it would be on your credit report but could not sue you. He did call the company that is taking him to court and they told my son they would garnish his wages. My son pays support on four children which they take out of his check and that doesn’t leave him with hardly any extra maybe 100.00 for the week can they take that money? We live in Indiana.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Barbara, The statute of limitations depends on the state in which he lives. My understanding is that it is 6 years for most consumer debts in Indiana, however, I am not a consumer law attorney so please don’t take that as legal advice. The statute of limitations usually starts when the last payment was made on the debt.

      Has he already been sued? If not, he should check out the statute of limitations asap. And he may also want to talk with a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.

      • http://Yahoo Barbara

        Yes he was served papers and court is April 10th. We were figuring when the car was bought and it has been 15 years.

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Barbara – Sorry I didn’t get a chance to respond sooner. Did he go to court? Did he explain that he believed the statute of limitations has expired?

  • sharon

    I have been working with a lawyer since 2009 to settle a credit card debt. To make a long story short the plaintiff filed papers in the court where I live; then the lawyer responded with a letter ;then my husband and I filed exempt papers around to keep them from taking our property. Then we were waiting to hear from the lawyer concerning a settlement. Meanwhile, I was checking my credit report and was surprised to find that the credit card company filed a judgement on our credit report.in the month of June 2012. I called my lawyer and asked what happened and she tried to say because we filed exempt papers ourselves that’s why they put it on our credit report. Then she said not to worry not that it is on my credit report I can pay whatever I want when I want. I was furiou. I told her that I was paying her to settle a debt and to keep a judgement from going against us. The lawyer stated that we could still make a settlement with the credit card company. She said she would get back to me and I have not heard from her sense and I don’t think that I am going to either. I feel like I have been taken advantage of and now I don’t know what to do.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Sharon – I don’t know if there is much you can do now about the fact that the judgment was filed. But now that it has been you can either settle it or talk with a bankruptcy attorney to see whether it makes sense now to file since your credit has already been damaged. You can also find out from the bankruptcy attorney whether filing will help you keep your property.

      (You can certainly file a complaint against that attorney with your state bar association and your state attorney general. You could also talk with another attorney about a malpractice suit against this attorney though that could be a tough route to go.)

      • Sharon

        We filed exempt papers on our property to keep them from taking anything. Can they come back later and try again? Since I already have a judgement on my credit report, what else could happen? From my understanding it will be on my credit report for seven years whether I settle it or not. How was there a judgement against us and we were not even told to be in court?

  • bon

    hi..for over a year tried to settle a debt w/ zwicker and ass. that rep discover…3800.00 owed and i offered 3000.00 lump sum borrowed from family they kept wanting more more more and thats all i had to offer… nope(can you believe it lawyer i am now with is/was stunned as well as myself) so they sued 12/18/12 i went to court mediation etc and they won as i never disputed debt just i havent been working for some time not for lack of trying…they placed a lien on my home (kinda) 2/15/13 but in wrong county…since being sued and being served w/ this judgement lien ive been talking w/ a lawyer about bankruptcy as im under water on home etc and this…btw this has all taken place over a 2 month period very fast not like anything ive read or lawyer thought he said id have some time ha…i would love to settle this and not file bankruptcy so ive suggested that he call or ill call and say something along the lines that i’m just a click away (which really i am as ive filled out all the paperwork of assets debt etc and done with the course and just need to pay him and sign which will come from the 3k ive offered them) from efiling bankruptcy and they will get nada…and maybe point out that in their haste (or just plain stupidity 🙂 they filed in wrong county if this helps …is this something that is a good idea or just go thru with the bankruptcy and not try to settle with them as they are just being nasty literally…of course id would want something that would discharge? judgement if settled if that is doable …again would like to avoid as in my mind i need to have some semblance of dignity with this… i know i owe just trying to do the best i can and give them something just cant or my family cant afford all of it and payments i dont want to do as i just never know when ill have money etc i do not collect food stamps unemployment welfare nothing i plug along on the little savings i have and scraping metal small odd jobs etc …i am located in michigan if that helps…thanks for your time

    • Gerri Detweiler

      I think you have done the right thing by getting legal advice. You are in a much better position to negotiate with them now. If you do decide to settle then please make sure you get everything in writing first before you pay. It should specify that you won’t owe anything after the settlement amount is paid, that they won’t sue you etc. Then you can make the best decision possible based on whether they are willing to work with you. Also, this isn’t a huge amount of money but do keep in mind that if you settle the debt you could receive a 1099-C and perhaps owe taxes as a result. That’s not the case with bankruptcy. You’ll learn more here: What is a 1099-C? Your Top 11 Questions Answered

  • Tracy

    Hello…Michigan here, I was served and lost, a settlement was against me and a business. The business was in my daughters name which i told them but they didnt get it. I have no assets and cannot pay judgement, now they have decided to take my daughter and husband to court and sue them, I say this cannot happen..as they were NOT in any court rulings or files from the begining..

  • Larisa

    Hello, I live in New York.My judgment of divorce in2007 ordered me to pay to my ex $638,000. I sold my house and all proceeds ($653,500 went to him. He waited 2 years and nowclaiming statutory interest for this two years. he did not filed any motions or sent deliquency notice to me before. What can I do?

  • Lyn

    I recenty paid off a judgement for a 2009 credit card debt through garnishment. The judgement itself has never appeared on my credit; however, the original debt appears as “potentially negative closed” and “Transferred to another lender or claim purchased”. Additionally it still reflects a past due amount. Can any of these items be removed/updated to have less impact on my score or should it be left alone until it falls off? My concern is that it is truly paid in full now although through an attorney not the original creditor.

  • Maria

    I live in California and had a judgement filed against me from a credit agency representing Capital One. My tax professional said they should issue me a Form 1099 as a result of the judgement, the money I never paid back is now considered income. How accurate is this?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Maria – You may or may not receive a 1099-C for the debt. The reason I say may not is that if they are collecting on the judgment they may not believe they are required to send one. It’s a little complicated to explain here but we have written about that extensively on the Credit.com blog. I’d recommend you read our story What is a 1099-C? Your Top 11 Questions Answered. Then I suggest you talk with your tax professional about whether you should report cancelled debt regardless of whether they send you the 1099-C.

  • Chip

    I’m in South Carolina, A JDB is attempting to get a Summary Judgment on me for a CC debt. We met with the judge to hear the motion. The judge wanted us to settle the matter instead of ruling on the MSJ and gave us a few weeks to negotiate a settlement. I agreed to a negotiated settlement amount – a lump sum payment. I asked for a written agreement before making payment. This was 3 weeks ago and I have emailed and called the JDB to find out what happened to our agreement. I have left messages and no one will return my calls. No one answers my emails. Should I be the one to notify the judge that we have not settled?

    Can the judge award a partial settlement for the negotiated settlement amount? Of course, this means that I have a judgement on my credit report which is what I was trying to avoid.

    Also, I’m wondering what happens when I move from SC in the next few months assuming a judgment is awarded to the JDB here in SC, and a settlement isn’t reached or a payment made?

    As a point of fact, tThe statue of limitations (3 years in SC) ran out a few weeks ago, after the MSJ was filed but before a judgement being entered. Does that matter?

    Finally, are property exemptions the same for a judgment as they are for bankruptcy?

    Thank you in advance for your time and answering my questions! Chip

  • Kimberly

    Hello, I was wondering if someone can also put a judgement on someone in the National Guard?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      I don’t see why not unless it’s in a situation prohibited under the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act. However, that law applies to those entering or called up to active duty or those who are deployed.

  • kc

    I leave in Pennsylvania , but i work in New Jersey. I have a collection agency judgment entered in Pennsylvania . Can my wages still be garnished ?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      KC – My understanding is that as a resident of Pennsylvania you are protected by that state’s laws. However, I’d say that anytime you are getting to the point where you are faced with wage garnishment it’s probably time to see a bankruptcy attorney. That doesn’t mean you should or will file, but the attorney can tell you what’s at risk if you can’t pay your debts and hopefully offer some strategies for taking care of the debt.

  • Justin

    Question. My wife and I are trying to refinance our house but Cavalry llc has a lien on it from a judgement they got a couple years ago. Long story short, we got into trouble few years back from when I was going back to school and living off one income for a family of four. We went with a debt management company, Credit Solutions, to help us take care of things(big mistake). We signed over power of attorney for them to negotiate on our behalf, they told us to disregard future mailings and calls from the debtors as they worked out payment schedules. Ended up a $10,000 debt that Cavalry obtained ended up getting a judgement against us and we didn’t even fight because we were listening to what Credit Solutions told us. The judgement was for $18k and my wifes checks started getting garnished. We figured at 6k a year being garnished it would be paid in 3 years so we went with it. Now we are 2 years into it and during the refinancing our mortgage with wells fargo we found out about the lien and can’t refinance until the judgement is paid and lien released. In dealing with the law office working for Cavalry now they are saying the balance is 16k and not the 6k we were thinking it would be. We offered to settle for 7k and they keep the $3800 garnished last quarter that the sheriff’s office must currently have and will be sending to them. They countered at 14k and we keep the garnished amount from last 3 months of last year. We then countered 10k and haven’t heard back yet. If they accept our counter how do we go about getting that $3800 that was garnished but not sent to them yet? Any other tips or advice you can give us? We live in Iowa and refinancing from 5.5% to 3.75% and saving $350/month in doing so so we really need to get this done in the next week or two. Thanks

    • Gerri Detweiler

      I wish I knew what to tell you. Unfortunately this is a negotiation process and they can either take the offer and leave it. You’re going to have to emphasize that this way they will get their money now rather than over time. (I don’t know how to get those garnished funds – I am afraid I don’t know how that process works.)

  • Athena Trujillo

    I had a question. I live in Colorado and was served with papers for a medical debt from 04/2012. I called the collection agency and set up monthly payments to pay the debt. I explained to her my situation and the reason for non payment in the 1st place. Now she stated that even though I am paying the debt and being faithful that they still have to file a judgement against me. Do they still need to file judgement and does that mean they can still garnish my paycheck even though I have a payment plan set up through August/2013? Does this also mean I still need to appear for the hearing in February? I understand she cant say much and when I asked if I should contact the lawyer respesenting them she said no he would be notified ….I mean I know its late but I am taking responsibility for my debt…Can someone please advise I appreciate it!

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Athena –

      Just to be clear, I assume they have served you with notice of a lawsuit and will be seeking a judgment against you. (They can’t just file a judgment against you.)

      They don’t have to sue you unless perhaps the statute of limitations is about to expire on the debt and they want to protect their right to collect in the future. But this debt sounds too recent for that to be the case.

      So they are either trying to pressure you into paying faster or following some kind of internal policy. But that they “have” to sue you is a bit misleading. It is their choice.

      If you don’t show up in court, they will get a default judgment against you. But if you go and don’t raise any defenses, then they will get a judgment anyway.

      If you can come up with money to settle the debt that may be preferable, but if you can’t then you can’t.

  • Richard

    Q. Today, 1/11/13 I was provided a Earnings Withholdings Order (garnishment papers) by my employer indicating withholdings will start on 1/18/13. The order shows the judgement was awarded to attorneys representing LVNV Funding LLC on 4/24/2008. The amount of the judgement appears to be written (not typed) in for $8860.18. I just ran a credit report on myself and indeed found a judgment with the same date. However, the amount shows $4096.00. Does this sound right? I have been caught completely off guard. I was never served to appear otherwise I would have asked for proof of the debt. What are my options? Ask for proof of service with the court? Ask to vacate judgement?

    • http://www.credit.com Gerri


      I’d suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney or bankruptcy attorney asap. (Some bankruptcy attorneys also handle related consumer law matters.) If you were not properly served with the notice of the lawsuit you may be able to get the judgment vacated. It’s possible you may also be entitled to damages if the debt collector violated federal law in its collection efforts. But I don’t think I would try to take this on alone – it’s not typically a DIY project.

      • Richard

        Well things are getting more interesting. Today 1/14/13 I received a letter from a law office stating that they represent Asset Recovery Solutions and are demanding payment of $8998.68. How is this possible? Two different law offices claiming to represent two different agencies for the same debt? All within a matter of days of each other. This is suspicious at best. For todays letter I intend to respond with a debt validation letter since according to their letter this is a time sensitive matter (10 days). Thank you for your insight. I will certainly will look for an attorney for assistance to deal with this matter first thing tomorrow.

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Crazy isn’t it? Do talk with an attorney as soon as possible since your time frame for challenging it may be limited, based on state law.

  • Melanie

    Hello I have a question. Back in 2012 I was served by a credit collector for credit card debt. I managed to make arrangements to pay off the whole debt that was owed. However In 2012 I moved from New York where I was served to California. In my time in California I only had only had one payment left that I mailed off. 6 months go by and I received In the mail a letter from the credit collector letting me know a judgement was filed against me. Please note that the letter had my previous address on it that I haven’t lived in for 7 months. After getting this letter i called them up and asked what my balance was and why i owe additional funds. They stated my check bounce – which could have happened due my bank believing there was fraud on my account. My question is there any way in which I have the judgement thrown out since I haven’t received any paperwork?

    Thank You.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Melanie –

      If you are able to show that you were not properly served notice of the lawsuit against you, then you may be able to get the judgment vacated. However, there may be a short period of time in which you can attempt this. I don’t know whether that opportunity has expired. My recommendation is that you contact a consumer law attorney right away for assistance.

  • Keith

    btw, thanks Gerri for the info. if you come up with something regarding my situation, please forward it to me ASAP, as I am about to file a couple motions next Monday and need all the help I can get. thanks for your help! K

  • Keith

    Jasmine, from personal experience I can state that your credit report and your obligation to pay a debt is not related. I’m dealing with a judgement from 20 years ago and not once did it ever appear on my credit report, but that isn’t stoping them from starting a garnishment on my check. garnishment started in November of 2012 and as of this month, still…nothing on my credit report to reflect that. I suppose that’s a good thing but had it appeared years ago, this issue would have been resolved. instead its been sitting in some debt collectors file cabinet collecting 8% interest for those 20 years.

  • Jasmine

    I have a judgement but the unpaid debt is no longer on my credit report. The debt was in 2003 or 2004 we made a stipulation in 2008 but I was unable to make the payments, so they did a judgement against me in 2009. I just received a letter saying I must pay 10% of my income or they will garnish my checks. I am only a temporary employee so i did an order of show cause and the lawyer is trying to work out a new agreement with me. I dont want to make an agreement and when my assignment is up I cant keep it. Also, I would like to know can the creditor still collect the debt eventhough the debt was removed from my credit report?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Jasmine – The fact that this judgment does not appear on your credit reports doesn’t affect whether the judgment creditor can still try to collect. In fact, you’re pretty lucky that it is now showing up since unpaid judgments can be reported under the Fair Credit Reporting Act for seven years or the governing statue of limitations – whichever is longer.

      • Jasmine

        Thank you for your help. I went to court on January 16, 2013 and agreed to a settlement with payment arrangements. Today I recieved a Affimation in Opposition which was done January 15, 2013 and its basically saying Im not entitled to the relief requested in my motion as it will be established in the proceeding arguments that the defendant has failed to provide both a reasonable excuse for her default and a meritorious defense to the present actions.
        Im not sure what actions I take now. In court they agreed to the settlement with the payment arrangement. Could you please advice me on this ?

  • Keith

    RE: the above mentioned judgement, I have contacted the Plaintiff myself and they tell me that they have no knowledge of a judgement against me. the owner of the company stated, in writting, that if there is a judgement, they have no interest in either pursing or collecting it. I have presented this statement to both the court and the Plaintiff’s attorney. it’s been 3 weeks and have heard nothing from the court and the attorney will not return my numerous VMs I have left.

    if I have a written statement from the Plaintiff such as I have presented, is the court obligated to dismiss the judgement per the Plaintiff’s request, regardless if the attorney does NOT want it dismissed?

  • Keith

    BTW….case is in Indiana.

  • Keith

    Q: recently I found that I have an outstanding judgement against me from nearly 20 years ago. after reading abou the statute of limitations and judgements needing to be renewed before 10 years, I asked the attorney for the Plaintiff to provide me with a copy of his renewal of judgement. he refuses to return my calls (3). do I contact the court and tell them the attorney is not cooperating and ask the court for a copy? the attorney supposedly provided me with all the paperwork on this case, but there is nothing which shows the case was ever renewed. thank you.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Unfortunately I am not familiar with the procedure in this kind of situation. If the court can’t help – that’s where I would start as well – I would talk with a consumer law attorney.

  • mrichards

    I have a judgement that was filed against me by the collection agency mcm. The amount is 1200 dollars. I am currently unemployed and want to know if they can garnish my bank account, (which would devastate me right now). If so how long do they have to do so and what will happen if I am unable to appear in court. The judgement was filed in New Jersey

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Taking money from your bank account to satisfy a judgment is called a “bank execution” and they are legal in New Jersey. However, the funds in your account may be safe from creditors (or may not be). To find out whether they are, we recommend you talk with a bankruptcy attorney. Many offer a free or low-cost consultation.

      Sorry to hear what you are going through and hope you are able to get the help you need with this.

  • La Recia

    Can a judgement be removed from my credit if the Collection Agency has gone out of business? They filed the judgement in 2008 and filed bankruptcy in 2012. They are no longer in business. Please Help!!

  • A.J.

    I have been living in FL for over 11 yrs, a few days ago I saw a huge debit was coming out from my savings account. After calling the bank I was told there was a judgement against me and was given a telephone number to a collection agency responsible for the judgment. The collection agency told this judgment was filed since 2005 in Queens County Civil Court in NY. My question is, how can a judgment be taken out against me since I have not been living in the state of NY for over 11yrs and also why was I not notified of this debt/collection/case/judgment? I have lived at one address from 2003-2009 and then at another from 2009 to present. Is this legal what they have done? Also I do not have any knowledge of opening this account they claim to which I did, I am determined to fight this but can you give me some guidelines.

    • http://www.Credit.com Gerri

      AJ –

      Please talk with a consumer law attorney right away. It is possible this collection agency acted illegally. You must be properly served with notice of a lawsuit and there are numerous reports of situations where this has not happened. In fact, the NY Attorney General took action against a number of collection agencies for this very problem a few years ago. So please get legal advice asap. If it does turn out the collection agency acted illegally, you will be entitled to damages and the collection agency will have to pay your attorney’s fees. So it shouldn’t cost you anything to consult with a consumer law attorney who represents consumers against abusive debt collectors.

  • Dee


    I have a 2007 judgement, for a car loan where the monthly car payment was approximately $350.00, and a court ordered wage garnishment for $100/month. The creditors have been reporting late payments since the judgement, can they do this? If not, how can I have this removed or resolved?

    • Gerri Detweiler

      In your situation, I am quite honestly more concerned about the judgment debt than the details of how it is reported. At $100 a month on a $10,000 balance that’s over 8 years to pay it off. And that is assuming that they aren’t adding on interest. If they do add interest that will mean that it will take longer – if you even pay it off at all. You could find yourself after several years still owing about what you owe now.

      Is this the only debt you are dealing with? Is there any way you can come up with enough money to pay it off in three years or less??

      • Dee

        Yes, this is pretty much the only debt I am dealing with and interest is applied. A total of $3000 have been garnished from my wages thus far. Is it possible to negotiate an amount that I can afford to save and have this removed?

        • Gerri Detweiler

          Dee –

          It is very hard to get public information removed. It is a matter of public record and so it’s not negotiable in the way a collection account would be. However, it would be great if you could resolve this so it can be updated as paid. Then you can start to really rebuild your credit.

          Is there any way you can come up with a lump sum to try to settle this debt? If you could borrow say $2000 from a family member, for example, then you may be able to get them to agree to accept that amount as payment in full. (If you do go that route then you should not pay a penny until you have a signed agreement in hand.) I realize that may be easier said than done but I am concerned that continuing to pay a relatively small amount each month is going to keep you stuck with this debt forever.

  • Kari Strueh

    My mother has a judgement against her from our neighbor. My mother took care of this neighbor for a year and kept poor finacial records. In turn the neighbor took my mom to court and they signed an agreement. It states a judgment against my mother is to be be paid to the neighbor upon the sale of her home. My mothers home has been on the market since October of 2011. It still hasn’t sold. The neighbor died a week ago. Does my mother still have to pay if the neighbor died? Document doesn’t say. Thank you! I’m in Evansville, Indiana by the way.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      The problem is that judgments don’t just disappear. If the judgment was obtained in court, it will remain there until the statute of limitations expires. It may also be renewed in most states. In addition, if there is a lien against the property it won’t likely disappear either just because your neighbor died. Their heirs may decide to try to collect if they are aware of the situation. At risk of sounding like a broken record, your mother may need to consult a consumer law attorney.

  • Britta

    the creditor, Capital One

    • Gerri Detweiler


      It sounds like you were not properly served and the process server my have, in fact, lied about it. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of getting help from an attorney. An attorney may be willing to help you on a contingent fee basis which means you only pay if you win. You can find consumer law attorneys at naca.net. You could also talk with the court where the judgment was entered and ask them for information on how to request that the judgment be vacated. I don’t know how difficult that will be, but it’s worth checking into.

  • Britta

    I have a judgement that I just found out about because my employer was served with garnishment paperwork. I was never served. I went & got the proof of service and it says I was served on a day when I was at work (claimed they served me at home). What are my options at this point? I can’t afford an attorney and bankruptcy isn’t an option. Can I work out something still or is it too late? I would never had let it get this far had I been properly served. I would have tried to work something out in court. Its for under #3K.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Britta –

      Who obtained the judgment against you? A collection agency or the creditor?

  • Rose

    Judgment and not on credit reports. No one will rent to me and I can not buy a home. I have 22 medical diagnoses with multiple organ involvement. It is medically necessary for me to be within thirty minutes of UWMC Seattle. I have been forced to move over two-hours away and my health is in danger. The landlord will not discuss settlement with me. I have a very complicated medical situation. I need the judgment vacated and am not sure how to handle it. If she will not talk to me about settlement and I am on the verge of being homeless, can I requests that the judge vacate it based on this situation? I can offer her settlement but not for the $1,300 plus interest. I have been in a couple of comas and even on life-support. I did not even remember the judgment. My fixed income makes it difficult to come up with more than $1,200. Since the landlord and I were to discuss settlement and she all of a sudden didn’t want to talk to me or for me to call back, she has no idea what my offer even is. Please advise.

  • Rose

    In August 2005, I was in a coma and on life-support. In September, my fiance assaulted me. The police made him leave. He called the landlord and told her that he was no longer living there, that I was not working, and he was not paying my bills. In July, I had filed for Early Social Security Disability because he persuaded me that he would pay the bills. Two days after the police made him leave, I was served with an eviction notice. The judgement is for $1,300 plus 6.5% interest in Tarrant County, Texas. The lady said she doesn’t want my money and not to call her again. What can I do? I now have 22 diagnoses from the University of Washington Medical Center and have been on disability for a few years. Due to my health, I now have to live in Washington State. This is some 2,500 miles from DFW, TX. The lawyer has to be licensed in Texas and I do not want to hire a lawyer without a consultation first. Traveling would be too expensive and hard on my health. I am having a lot of difficulty finding an affordable attorney or even one that will do a telephone consultation. Legal Aid is a joke that has no humor. Please advise.

    Thank you,

    • Gerri Detweiler


      I am not clear what you are trying to accomplish here. Are you trying to pay off or settle the judgment? Or do you believe the judgment is erroneous and you are trying to get it vacated?

      Also you state: “The lady said she doesn’t want my money and not to call her again.” What lady? Who actually has the judgment against you?

      I’ll need a little more information to reply. Thanks!

      • Rose

        I am attempting to resolve/settle the judgement. When I contacted the landlord, she told me that she did not want my money and not to call her again. The judgement is in Texas and I am in Washington State. In September 2005, it was for $1,300 plus 6.5% interest.

        • http://www.Credit.com Gerri

          Hmmm….Does the landlord have the judgment or is it a collection agency? What does it say on your credit reports?

  • Julie

    My Dad was served for an outstanding debt on a credit card which he tried to pay down monthly but they wouldn’t negotiate a lower payment.he now needs to respond to the attorney before a judgment is set. He is 78 years old, has many health issues, only gets social security, his house was reversed mortgaged just so he had someplace to live.do you have any suggestions for me on how I should handle this for him since I have his power of attorney? He has no bank accounts and the car he has gets him to and from doctor appointment, can they come into the house to see if Ute has other asserts which he doesn’t have anything.be is just really worried

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Julie –

      So sorry to hear what your father is going through and I am glad you are able to help him.

      I would strongly encourage you to make an appointment to talk with a consumer law attorney (probably an attorney who practices bankruptcy as well) to find out how to proceed. I am not suggesting that your father should or could file for bankruptcy, but the attorney will be able to explain what might happen if he is unable to pay and the creditor gets a judgment against him. It may turn out there is not a lot the creditor can do to collect, in which case he can basically instruct them not to contact him again. A letter from the attorney describing your father’s financial situation may be enough to get them to realize that taking him to court would be pointless. Visit NACA.net or NACBA.org to find a consumer law attorney in your area.

  • tina

    I have a jugdement against Im getting ready to start a new job. Can I make payments before they start garnishing my wages? I live in NY.plz help

    • Gerri Detweiler


      Typically you can work out a payment plan on a judgment. Those creditors want to be paid just like any others do.

      I would recommend you contact them immediately to see what you can work out. You probably want to offer them at least the amount they would get if they garnish your wages, if not a little more (if you definitely can afford it). Get the agreement in writing before you start paying them.

      You’ll find a helpful guide to wage garnishment in NYC here. If you live elsewhere in the state, the rules may be slightly different but there are some resources listed with that piece that you can use to research your rights.

      Finally, if the creditor is uncooperative or insists on garnishing your wages, talk with your employer. It’s not an ideal situation when you are starting a new job, but it’s best to be upfront with them. Employers are not allowed to fire employees for a single wage garnishment. You can read more about the wage garnishment rules from the Department of Labor here.

  • ryan

    He Gerri. A judgement was just entered against me. Is my business & account and my assets at risk right now as they are claimig?

    • Gerri Detweiler


      What judgment creditors can and cannot do to collect the judgment against you is a matter of state law. Your best bet would be to consult with a consumer law attorney to find out. (Bankruptcy attorneys typically can help – just make sure you clarify what you are trying to accomplish if you make an appointment with one.) I am not an attorney so I wouldn’t want to venture into giving you specific advice.

      Remember, judgments can sometimes be negotiated or settled for less than the full balance like other debts.

  • Drew

    Hi Gerri,

    I own a small business in FL that successfully completed a recruiting assignment for a client based in TN. When bill came due, they stalled payment then actually post dated a check to me for a portion of the money owed. The check subsequently was returned for insufficient funds. Now the owner of this business says he can’t afford to pay me. He has not filed bankruptcy but has a bankruptcy lawyer fielding his calls. His attorney says they need time to generate more business to pay off debt and that he is aware of his obligations. I come to find out that the business owner has several pending judgements against him already. Should I seek a judgement as well? He will be obligated to pay those debts that have a judgement against before me right? This has been going on for over a year. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Drew –

      You don’t say how much money is involved, but my fear is that you could be throwing good money after bad. If you are successful in getting a judgment (which will likely require you to spend at least some money on attorney’s fees) then you have to try to collect the judgment. Yes, you’ll have a judgment and be ahead of other creditors but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to collect immediately. And the company could file for bankruptcy and wipe out that judgment.

      If the amount involved is substantial, my advice would be for you to talk with an attorney to discuss your options.

  • Joey

    Hello Susan,

    I’m currently living in New Jersey and I’m also in dispute of a complaint (or summons) that was set before me buy a third-party and represented by their lawer. I also understand that the law in NJ are pretty strict about a Pro-Se appearing in court and the chances of failing are huge. However, as of the present the Plaintiff has provided me with a Bill of Sale (redacted) and showing no account information associated to the complaint at hand and a series of bank account statements dating back to 2009. I’m also aware that the Plaintiff doesn’t have to prove the actual contract because since banks are doing everything over electronic record keeping there is no need to provide the burden of proof which is to be “the contract” with my date and signature. I’m having a difficult time trying to conjure up a defense against this material. Can you provide some insights that may alleviate somewhat this burden. Any and all material, website reference or any information would truly help. My trial is next month. Thanks.

    • http://www.credit.com Gerri

      Joey –

      I am curious why you have decided to represent yourself. Have you talked with a consumer law attorney with expertise in debt collection matters? Often, if they think the consumer has a good case, they will represent them for free because under the FDCPA collection agencies who break the law must pay the attorney’s fees.

      If that’s not an option for some reason then my best recommendation is for you to get the FDCPA manuals from the National Consumer Law Center. These are the manuals many consumer law attorneys use and they are quite detailed.

  • Susan

    Thank you

  • Susan

    If I make monthly payments after a judgement has been entered against me, can my wages still be garnished? I live in Pa, I know the laws for this vary by state.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Hi Susan,

      I posed your question to Philadelphia consumer law attorney Michael Forbes. Here is what he told me:

      Generally, in Pennsylvania, wages cannot be attached. There are a few exceptions where they can be attached, though. These are: Landlord-Tenant case judgments against the tenant, taxes, federal student loans and where a party obtained a judgment against someone in another state (bad court decisions allowing wage garnishment against consumers in Pa.).

      If the judgment debtor is making payments, this has no effect on the laws regarding wage attachment, however, once the creditor knows the identify of their bank and bank account, they can attach the bank account despite being sent the monthly payments by the debtor. So they may want to consider opening an account just to make these payments or to send money orders from a different bank but send these certified mail, return receipt. They would still have no proof that the payments are being applied or even correctly applied – so beware.

      I hope this helps!


  • BradB

    If you can settle make sure you have the creditor stipulate (always in writing as mentioned) to report to the credit bureaus “Paid as Agreed” on the trade line the judgement was granted on once you have made payment. If you are successful with this it will help your credit score.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team