Strategies for Debt Final Judgments
- A "judgment" is a decision that the court hands out that orders an individual to repay a debt or directs the company seeking repayment to wipe out the debt in question. Default judgments are made when the person being pursued by a debt collector does not appear in court as directed; this means that the debt collector is awarded a judgment for repayment by default.
- If you did not appear in court because you were never served with a notice to do so, then you have 180 days after receiving written notice of the judgment to request that it be vacated. This is done by filing a Notice of Motion to Vacate Judgment form with your local small claims court clerk. If the motion is granted, then the judgment will be removed, and you will be presented with an opportunity to argue your side of the case accordingly.
- If a judgment has been made against you, then you may request an appeal by filling out the Notice of Filing Notice of Appeal form with your local small claims court clerk. This strategy is helpful in cases of identity theft when new evidence is available that proves you are not liable for repaying the debt you were sued for originally.
- Except in cases of fraud, you may be able to discharge the judgment by filing for bankruptcy. During the bankruptcy process, you can elect to file either for partial repayment or an entire elimination of any debts owed. Be mindful, however, that filing bankruptcy negatively impacts your credit for years.