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Judgments on Your Credit Report: Learn what to do

What is a Judgment?

A judgment is the final decisive act of a court in defining the rights of the parties. It includes a decree and any order from which an appeal lies. The proper term is Court Judgment. Other terms commonly used include, default judgment, civil judgment, foreign judgment, and judgment proof. Judgments on credit report can be quite harmful to your financial well-being.

What are Default Judgments?

The term “default” refers to a “failure to act” and the term “judgment” (often misspelled as judgement) means the “final disposition in a legal proceeding”. When dealing with credit and debt collection issues, default judgments are typically granted because the debtor fails to act; usually by not paying a debt and then by failing to show up in court. When you fail to appear in court, the judge usually grants the collector a default judgment.

If you receive a court appearance notice DO NOT ignore it! The only way to protect yourself is to appear in court and present the judge with your side of the story. Go to court prepared to show your good faith efforts in resolving the issue or, in asking for relief in the case of an expired statute of limitations.

If you receive a notice that a default judgment has been issued against you, and you were not aware of the court date, immediately go to the court and request copies of all the paperwork. Look for any mistake or misinformation such as an old or wrong address. If you find something wrong contact an attorney and ask for a rehearing. If you can show that you were not given due process, the judge might just overturn the judgment and then require the collector to file the case properly. Even better is if the debt has expired and you mention the expired statute of limitations, the judge might even dismiss the case.

Reverse Judgments:

This term actually means to “overrule” a lower court’s decision. When debt collectors win a default judgment, it’s possible to have it overturned, overruled, set aside and vacated. These terms simply mean the default judgment is removed and is no longer binding.

In order to have a default judgment overturned, you’ll need to prove that the judgment was granted without you being given due process. This generally means you were not able to appear in court for various reasons and therefore, not able to properly defend yourself. Obtain a copy of ALL court documents concerning the default judgment and look them over for any mistakes. Pay close attention to address, notification procedures, dates and names.

If you can prove that you were not properly notified or that some emergency prevented you from appearing in court, request a rehearing also called a motion to vacate judgment.

Foreign Judgments:

It is possible for a foreign judgment to be brought against you and for it to be enforced! The United States has international agreements with several foreign countries they and the US honors each country’s judgments. Enforcing a child support judgment is a good example. Also, the term foreign judgment can be used when describing a judgment from one state that someone is trying to enforce in another state. For example, a judgment rendered in NY can be domesticated (moved) to Arizona and enforced.

Judgment Proof:

You may be considered “Judgment Proof” during periods of unemployment or while drawing disability pay or disability retired pay. Also, if you have no assets such as home, car, land, and other big-ticket items. In other words, you have no money and can prove it!

Never ignore a lawsuit just because you are broke or have no assets! If a debt collector or creditor is trying to sue and you believe that you are judgment proof, you must respond to the lawsuit as such. Failure to appear and show the judge why you are judgment proof opens the door for the judge to grant the collector a “default judgment”.

Even though they cannot collect anything from you now, they can wait many years and try again. Also, the judgment will show up on your credit report.

Special Note: Judgment-proof is the commonly used term but a more accurate term would be “execution-proof”! Although creditors and debt collectors win lawsuits, they still have to collect thus, if you are penniless you are insulated not from judgment but from execution (collection of the debt – at least temporarily).

If you lose your “judgment proof” status due to new employment, the creditor or collector can seek a judgment and ask for a wage garnishment of up to 25% of your disposable income. Once you’re employed again, it’s better to negotiate a reduced payoff rather than risk a court-ordered judgment. The difference is your credit report will show “debt settled” instead of the more negative “judgment”!

* The term judgment is often spelled as judgement however, both terms mean the same thing. Additionally, a court judgment is often referred to as a “civil judgment”; these are also the same thing.

Has a debt collector threatened seizure of your money or property without having a judgment against you, or if you believe you are a victim of unfair or illegal debt collection tactics, submit your information to a FREE* Fair Debt Lawyer by:

The debt collector may just be liable to you for statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees!

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  1. My work was served a paper to garnish my wages . The paperwork that I received when I went to the court shows a “judgement by default”. I was never contacted about his collection. The debt was charged off by cc company in 2005. This agency, LVNV bought it in 2008. Both these dates are past the statute of limitations in my state! My work is not garnishing my wages as I do not make. enough money. I was never informed of this going to court or anything. They have an address that is over 15 years old. How do I get this judgement dismissed. I do not want this only records!!! Please help me!

    • Junk debt buyers, and volume mill collection law firms, have taken heat recently in the courts and from the CFPB for their practices. But its always best to deal with debt prior to judgment being entered and being faced with a garnishment. Luckily, the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can offer you debt settlement services and enforce your Fair Debt rights. Because you submitted here, they will contact you to discuss your options and give you a FREE case review. Or call 888-595-9111 now. No obligation.

  2. Please call me I ave a judgment against me in NYC court and I live in Delaware. I never received documentation of the judgement. The judgment is in 3 people’s name. I will to pay the judgment that I owe. But they are suing for a bigger amount again. Mu phone number is 302*******

  3. I have a judgement I am being garnished for and was never notified. The address used is an old address although this company had my correct address. Can the garnishment be stopped it is taking a toll on my home I can not afford to pay my medical or daily expenses

  4. I lost a debt collection case against hunt henriques, I am surviving on social security because I suffered from renal failure, I want to fight this case, because even the judge gave a lecture on I am an attorney and whatever I googled or any paralegal told me, this was a court and I should law before i represent my self. I cried all day, not because I lost the case, but the way the judge talk to me and made feel relly disabled. I use a cane because of my condition and it was humiliating. Pleas help me I rather invest to clear my honor than give money to those debt collectors.

    • You are a prototypical LawCent client. LawCent clients include consumers who get debt collection letters & calls but don’t want to or cannot settle their debts, consumers who want to stop debt collection letters and calls while prolonging or trying to avoid filing for bankruptcy and consumers on social security, disability, unemployment or other forms of government assistance or other fixed income. Learn more about LawCent and how you can retain the LawCent legal team for as little as $20 each month and if sign up through this site, you pay only One Cent to sign up. Call 888-595-9111 to learn more.

  5. Was served for a bill, and contacted office. Made agreement to pay bill to keep it out of the courts and delivered part one of two payments to office per the agreement, and hold receipt proving such.

    Three days after agreement, attorney went to court and filed a judgement against us. Got ready to refi home and lost out on 200K of savings and 30K in equity, not counting the savings on interest.

    This is a violation of section (4) of the FCRA, and while this might have been a mistake by the attorney, when my mistake was missing one of a multitude of doctor bills at the time that allowed this judgement against me. Now me and the wife have a judgement on our credits that should have never been there, and there is nothing it seems we can do about it. Is there any help out there?


    • YES. You can get a free FCRA case review from Attorneys For Consumers associated with this site, and attorney representation AT NO COST TO YOU if you have a valid FCRA claim! Call 888-5895-9111 now.

  6. I had two vehicle repos from a former marriage in 08, I had a judgment filed against me for 22k in 2010, I didn’t respond, I have never been contacted about the debt, financially Im in alot better position to pay debt back now, I called the debt collector and offered 7k to settle debt and he said he would get back to me in a couple of days, I haven’t heard from him, but I pulled all my cash out of my accounts just in case, should I wait to settle and ask for him to dismiss judgment for the cash Im offering or should I consult a lawyer, I feel like they set the amount a lot higher than what it should be! Any ideas or advice thanks in advance!

    • We may be able to help you re-prioritize your other debts through debt settlement, and in the process, we can enforce your other consumer credit and debt rights. Call us at 888-595-9111 and get a free case review, there is no obligation and it sounds like you can use the help!

  7. This creditor I don’t even remember getting a credit card from in 2006, however 2015 they garnished my bank account. Is that fair? They say it was from a tribune credit card. I don’t think the bank should of let this happen. The bank has no protection for its customers. Is there anything that I can do about this?

    • A debt collector with a right to garnish (for example, arising from a judgment) can seize any non-exempt funds from your bank, and garnish up to 25% of your disposable income from your paycheck. However, the story you tell does not pass the “smell test” as either you didn’t get a fair chance to respond to the lawsuit or there was a likely improper service to begin with. You may have experienced some sort of Fair Debt violation(s), and even if not, it sounds like you would benefit from re-prioritizing your debts through debt settlement, and the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. The worst thing to do is nothing, so call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring our how to help you!

  8. I was in the hospital for brain surgery when a judgment of default was filed in 2005. Now I have recently received a Judgment of Revival. I am on a fix income and want to know how can I get this judgment reversed.

    • The Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. The worst thing to do is nothing, so call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring our how to help you!

  9. I received something in the mail from the courts saying I had a judgment against me from GE Credit Card I opened years ago that I once or twice but paid off. The judgment total was over $4000 and half of that apparently are from fees. I’m scared out of my mind as I have no idea where this came from and I was never really served any sort of summons. What do I do? My options. I live paycheck to paycheck and I have other bills and having my wages garnished or bank levied will put me in a worse position than I’m already in. Please help. I may have to file bankruptcy because I can’t think of any other option at this point

  10. My mother recieved a Request for entry of default by mail from an Attorneys office. It states it is from a (Plaintiff/Petitioner: Cavalary SPV I, LLC has a judgment against me for the amount of $2678.54. $2404.52 are demand cost and $274. 00 are clerks and process servers fees. My mother is a 65 year old women that collects under $500.00 a month from Social security. We are not really sure where this came from? The only thing that comes to mind is a computer that she helped me get from Best Buy and I thought I was done paying off and she thought I was done paying off. The other thing is she was never really served with any kind of notice or summons. What do I do? Do we have any options. Can you please help me with any advise?

    Thank you!

  11. Can a foreign judgment be renewed in VA after 12 years. By my understanding the SOL in SC is 10 years. They never tried to collect till now. How should I move forward from here.

  12. In 2007 I signed up for an in-home program to sell on E-Bay and other sites. I was informed that I had to get a credit card machine from LeaseComm even though I had a PayPal account and that if the one-on-one help with marketing not work, that I could cancel the contract within 3 months of signing. I asked about the credit machine and was told that they would take it back and sell to another consumer if I cancelled. Long story short, it was a scam program I cancelled and tried sending the machine back. The people involved dropped out of sight and I was stuck with the machine and LeaseComm trying to debit my account. I cancelled that authorization and again tried sending it back….they were charging over 3K for the machine. I still have the machine, it was never used and last year they got a judgement against me in a NY court. I had had my local attorney look at everything and he said it was a scam, especially since the NY attorney who called me and asked if I wanted him to represent me as he represented many people against this company is mentioned in the reviews on the internet about this company and the scam. I just got a call from someone wanting to settle and telling me that even though I signed this in Missouri and I live in Tx and the statute of limitations on a debt has passed they can still collect on the judgement. What do I do?

  13. I took a small payday loan out with a company in Utah and missed a couple of payments. My pay period for this week, I noticed that a good amount of money was taken out of my check, I contacted my HR rep to see if there was an error with the payroll. My HR sent me an email from payroll showing that I had a judgment against me from the payday loan company but I was never notified that I was being sued by the payday loan company.

    When I received the paperwork from my HR rep via email on my payday, it looks like the judgment was issued on 10/1/2015 & sent to my payroll on 10/26/2015.

    This morning I spoke to a coworker who advised that she also received a default judgment from this company & their attorney in the same way, without being notified of a case.

    Can I file to vacate or object the default judgment since I never received any type of appearance for the case by the payday loan company until my wages were garnished?

  14. I recently had a judgment entered against me in a county I have never been in my home state of Pennsylvania, and one of my bank accounts was frozen. Fortunately, they are barking up the wrong tree with that account, as it is barely used. They can most likely see where my useful bank accounts are, as I have transferred money from them into the less useful account. Will I be notified of a new hearing, if the law firm chooses to go after my local bank? Are there jurisdiction limitations? I am really concerned about my useful accounts being frozen. Is it only a matter of time? What can I do? Thank you for reading my post.

  15. Selling home and I have 4 judgents against me.that do not appear on my credit reports. However the summons was served and I failed to appear as I did owe the money. In the meanwhile the judgements have been sold and now the purchaser of said judgements are stating the judgements are almost 2xs the original ordered amount. Can they do this? I’m aware the state charges 2% in Tennessee but can the collection amounts be changed without further court proceedings?

  16. I had a car repossessed. I never received anything from the bank. Now there is a judgement against me. I was never served papers. Is there anything I can do. I’ve requested proof of service from collection agency but no response. Is there anything I can do.

  17. Had credit card default judgments (3) in Ohio in 2011 while going through process of getting SSDI. Both my wife and I were unemployed, I had depleted savings and 401k, and home had foreclosed. Subsequently received SSDI and moved to FL in 2012.
    Totals were @$10,000 at the time. One was Chase Bank (Midland Funding) which was deemed uncollectible 7/15, but is still showing on most records. Can this be removed from court records ?
    Also, what are valid reasons for getting all set aside ? Capital One will not budge.

  18. I spoke to the collection place right before our court hearing and told them as they very well knew, I had paid the dental bill in person and 1500.00 needed to be removed from the judgement they were seeking. They agreed so I knew I setup payments at the same time and plan to pay off in January I didn’t need to go to court. Next thing I know I have a judgement against me for the full amount. They didn’t remove the dental bill. Which they had known for a month it was paid. Do I have any recourse

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