Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Virginia

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!

Asked on 10/28/05, 3:33 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Daniel Press Chung & Press, P.C.

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.

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Answered on 10/28/05, 7:14 pm

Jonathon Moseley Moseley Legal Associates LLP

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.)

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Answered on 10/29/05, 11:06 am

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