What Is A Judgment?
If a creditor sues you in court and wins, the judge will enter a judgment against you for the amount the judge believes you owe. A judgment is a court order stating that you owe the creditor a certain amount of money.
Once a creditor has sued you in court and has obtained a judgment, it is known as a judgment creditor.
What Happens After Someone Gets A Judgment Against Me?
You will be charged interest on the unpaid balance of the judgment at a rate of 8% per year (unless your loan or contract with the judgment creditor called for an interest rate lower than 8%).
The judgment will be a lien against any real estate that you own in the same county the judgment was issued from. There are certain exceptions, which are explained in a separate brochure
The judgment creditor can ask the court to take some of your property or income to pay the judgment. The judgment creditor generally cannot just take your property or income; the judgment creditor must get a court order first. This process is called a proceeding supplemental. Information about proceedings supplemental is at [link to pro sup page]
What do I do if I can’t pay the full amount?
You can contact the creditor or their attorney to try and negotiate a settlement of the debt. Some creditors are willing to settle a debt in full for less than the total amount. You should only agree to pay an amount that you can afford. The creditor may offer to settle the debt in full with a lump sum payment or a series of payments.
Tips for negotiating with creditors
- Be sure that you fully understand the settlement offer before you agree to it
- Get the settlement offer in writing (such as a settlement offer letter or email)
- Make sure the written settlement states that the debt will be settled in full (i.e., that you will owe nothing further) and the judgment will be released after you make the agreed upon payment(s).
- Keep a copy of all records regarding the settlement.
- Keep documentation of all payments made under the settlement agreement, such as copies of checks or money orders.
- Once you have paid the settlement payment(s), you should confirm that the creditor has filed a release of the judgment with the court, which is required by law.