3 Ways to Deal with Your Default Judgment

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hi my name is John Skiba and I'm an

attorney in the state of Arizona and I

help people with their debt problems if

you're like many actually most of the

people who get sued by a debt buyer you

likely didn't respond to the lawsuit and

now are faced with the unpleasant

reality that a default judgment has been

entered against you in fact it's a

statistics show that more than 90% of

people who are sued by debt buyers don't

file a response with the court the

danger of allowing a default judgment

against you is once this occurs the debt

buyer can now garnish your wages or levy

or bank accounts so what exactly is a

default judgment after you're served a

lawsuit you have a certain amount of

time to respond usually 20 to 30 days

depending on the state that you live in

if you don't submit a written answer to

the lawsuit the court can enter a

default judgment giving the debt buyer

everything that they're asking for

sometimes people will get served as a

lawsuit and don't know what to do so

they do nothing other times the debt

buyer gets permission to serve a person

through the mail and they mail the

complaint summons or the wrong address I

meet with people every week who are

getting their wages garnished and their

bank accounts levied and they didn't

even know that judgment had been entered

against them so if a default judgment

has been entered against you what do you

do now you do have a few options the

first thing you can do is you can ask

the court to set aside that default

judgment and give you an opportunity you

can test it next you can settle the debt

with the debt buyer for an amount less

of what the default judgment is and

finally you can eliminate this judgment

completely by filing for bankruptcy

let's discuss the first one there you

can ask the court to set aside the

default judgment if you believe that the

default judgment shouldn't have been

entered in the first place or that there

was some other sort of error you can ask

the court to set aside the default

judgment and let you fight the lawsuit

however just any old reason won't do

there are certain basis on which a court

can set aside a default judgment the

first place you need to look is the

Rules of Civil Procedure

most states rules based upon are based

upon the Federal Rules of Civil

Procedure you can look at rule 60 which

is usually entitled to relief from a

judgment or order

or something similar rule 60 provides

six reasons that a court can set aside a

default judgment the first of why the

first one is a mistake inadvertence

surprise or excusable neglect two if

there's new evidence that has been

discovered that you wouldn't be able to

find in the prior proceeding the third

if there's fraud fourth if the default

judgment is actually void fifth if the

judgment has been satisfied released or

discharged in bankruptcy and six is kind

of a catch-all provision just saying any

other reason justifying setting it aside

regardless of the reason that you're

asking the court to set aside the

judgment you need to act quickly the

longer you wait to ask the court to set

aside the judgment the less likely it is

that you're actually going to be

successful and whether you're successful

or not large will depend on the specific

facts of your case it's also important

understand if you were simply negligent

and failing to respond such as you know

you forgot you didn't get around to it

you didn't feel it was necessary those

are all bad excuses and you're not

likely gonna be successful in getting

that judgment set aside setting aside a

judgment can be a difficult process many

judges do not like to undo what has

already been done however there are

serious problems such as you didn't get

served with the lawsuit or if you can

show that they sued the wrong party you

have a good shot at getting the court to

reconsider the second thing you can do

is settling the judgment if you don't

have a good reason to have the judgment

set aside or if you've already asked the

court to set aside the default judgment

and you're not successful then you may

want to see if you can settle the


now once judgment has been entered

you've lost a lot of the leverage that

you would have had in settling the debt

before they sued you at this point the

debt buyer or creditor has taken the

time to go through the entire legal

process will likely be less willing to

settle for a lower amount however in

settling a debt you need to establish a

budget of what you're able to do either

in a lump sum or on a monthly basis if

you can afford to pay a large portion of

the debt in a one-time lump-sum payment

you'll be able to settle for a lot less

than if you're wanting the debt buyer to

accept payments over time alternatively

if you're going to need to pay off the

judgment and payments you're likely

going to end up

most of the judgment amount now the

third thing you can do is bankruptcy I

meet with clients / debt buyer lawsuits

like these I'll ask them if there are

other debt issues that they're dealing

with because of this lawsuit

you're dealing with now is just the tip

of the iceberg you may want to consider

bankruptcy a chapter 7 bankruptcy will

typically eliminate not only the

judgment but most of your other debts as

well no one wants to file bankruptcy but

many times it's the only real option for

dealing with your debt problems now I

don't mean to sugarcoat it if you have a

default judgment against you it can be

difficult to get the court to set it

aside difficult but not impossible the

best option is to avoid the default

judgment altogether by in the first

place by drafting and finally an answer

with the court if you're being sued by a

debt buyer or if you have questions on

debt collection bankruptcy any of those

types of issues head on over to my

website as Skiba law.com

where I have other articles videos even

webinars on these topics that will help

you to put together a game plan for

dealing with your debt thanks for