If you are behind on payments owed to creditors, they could file a judgment against you to get you to pay your debt. While this is a less than desirable outcome for you, it is one of the surefire ways creditors can use to get their money. You can take some steps to deal with a creditor that has filed a judgment against you. However, you still might have to navigate the judgment process.
A judgment occurs when a creditor takes you to court over an unpaid debt. In most instances, this process takes place after repeated attempts to contact you to take care of your debt. A judgment not only makes you legally bound to pay the debt, but it also goes on your credit report and will be listed as a negative item that stays on your credit for up to seven years.
The creditor files a claim in your court system, after which a date is set to hear the case. Once you both show up in court, the creditor's attorney(s) will argue the case and request the debt be paid in full. After hearing your side, the court will render a judgment, generally siding with the creditor unless you can successfully dispute the nature of the debt. A payment plan is set to pay off the debt.
Many debtors believe that there is no way to win in court during a judgment hearing, so they don't even bother to show up. However, this issue is not about winning. When you show up and are truthful with the court about why you haven't paid, the judge presiding over your case may be more lenient in the terms of your case and grant you more latitude in repaying the debt.
Attempt to resolve the situation before it gets to the point of a judgment ruling. Even if your creditor has filed a judgment against you and the hearing has been set, attempt to make one last-ditch effort to settle the debt. Even at the final hour, some creditors may be willing to settle for a portion of the amount or even take a hefty down payment on a payment plan to stop the judgment process.