Question about judgements
I owe a debt of approximately $1800. I called the creditor to make a payment arrangement. They offered me 3 solutions, but I can't afford those. I offered them a monthly payment that I feel I can afford. The person I spoke with said that I can afford more than that. I explained, very courteously, that at this time I can only afford $X and that this may change in the future, but at this time it's all I can offer. She said this is unacceptable and they will recommend that my account be turned over to the legal department and that a judgement be obtained against me. Can I have a judgement obtained against me despite my good faith offer to pay as much as I can afford at this time and more when I am able? She said to me, ''you just don't want to pay your debts.'' I am trying to pay my debts. I don't understand how they can obtain a judgement and/or garnish my wages when I am making an effort to repay this debt. Please help me. Do I have any recourse at all on this? I don't want my wages garnished!
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: Question about judgements
Your obilgation (unless you don't owe it or have other defenses) is to pay the debt now, not when you can afford it. If you don't/can't do that, they can sue you, get a judgment, and garnish wages, accounts, etc.
Re: Question about judgements
A judgement is simply a decision by the court
that the money is due, except that of course it
will go on your record as a court judgment, which
is not good. But nothing happens right away.
Therefore, if the money is owed, a creditor can
go to court and get a judgment regardless of any
discussions about how you might pay the money.
Again, nothing happens with a court judgment
other than a possibly disputed or uncertain
claim for money is converted into a definite
and precise decision by the court that the money
is in fact actually owed. Nothing further
happens, although after a court judgment is
entered a creditor can take additional
action such as garnishing a bank account or
garnishing your wages. If no legal action has
been started, it would take at least 2 to 3
months before any judgment could be ended.
I would advise you to save up 1 month's rent or
mortgage in cash so that if your bank account
is garnished you will not be thrown out on the
street. You might also change bank accounts.
My advice is, to the extent that you agree with
the debt being owed, you actually pay as much
as you can, regardless of any discussions. This
will likely delay or postpone any decision to
bring a lawsuit, and will also decrease any
attorney's fees (if any apply) which can only be
25% of the total.
The only EXCEPTION is if the debt is NOT from
a written contract and your last payment was more
than 3 years ago and the last services/products
provided were more than 3 years also. In that
case, the statute of limitations has run out,
and the debt cannot be collected. (It is 5 years
for a written contract, measured from the date
when the last payment or other obligation was
due, not from any payment.)