Many people who fall behind on their bills feel overwhelmed when creditors start filing collection lawsuits against them. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to simply ignore the lawsuits and hope they will simply go away. This tactic never works! As soon as you are served with a petition or complaint against you, confer with an attorney so you understand all of your options.
Once a creditor has obtained a court judgment against you, it is important to understand there are still different ways to deal with it. While no two cases are identical and you should always seek legal advice regarding your specific situation, below are a few options to consider:
Personal bankruptcy. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your debt, filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to discharge or cancel a collection entered against you. Again, you should consult with a debt relief lawyer to confirm that the type of judgment entered against you will be discharged, but this could save you thousands of dollars!
Wait and see. If you are reluctant to file a personal bankruptcy, you may consider waiting and seeing what actions the creditor pursues after obtaining the judgment against you. Of course, there is substantial risk involved depending upon your unique situation. In fact, this course of action (or inaction) is only suggested if you are considered to be “judgment proof.” In other words, you do not own any non-exempt property or other means for the creditor to be able to collect the judgment from you. Additionally, if the creditor fails to take any action to enforce or renew its judgment against you, it will eventually expire.
Negotiate and settle. Don’t make the mistake of believing your settlement options are over once a judgment has been entered against you. Many creditors are still willing to settle your debt post-judgment in order to avoid incurring the expenses associated with trying to collect from you. Thus, you may be able to pay off the judgment for less than the full amount. In some cases, you may be allowed to set-up a payment plan to satisfy the judgment. Just remember, you must obtain a court-stamped satisfaction of judgment in order for the unpaid judgment notation to be removed from your record!
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The information on this blog or any blog is not intended as, and should not be taken as, legal advice.