February 10, 2021
Summary: Not sure if you have any judgments against? Here's how to find out what a judgment means for you and how to deal with it.
Whenever you borrow money, whether it is a loan or in the form of a line of credit, you will be required to repay it. Sometimes life happens. If you are not able to pay back the money that was loaned to you, it can end up in a lawsuit.
After a successful debt lawsuit, the creditor or lender who brought forth the lawsuit may have a judgment against you. Judgments are not to be taken lightly and can greatly impact your finances for years to come. The worst situation is being caught with an outstanding judgment that you are unaware of.
Finding out if there is any form of judgment against you is a great first step in sorting out your finances and getting back on track.
When a judgment is filed against you, you will usually be given a variety of notices. This means that although it may be difficult for a judgment to be filed against you without you knowing, it is still not impossible.
Typically a summons will be sent to you by mail, or “served” to you in person. This summons will let you know when you need to show up in court, or the date you need to respond by. If you do not abide by these guidelines then a default judgment will be entered against you. Default judgments are the last situation you want to be in and are easy to avoid, simply by responding to the summons.
If you received a summons, or you were served, and you did not appear in court, then you most likely can assume there is a judgment against you. This can be checked by simply calling the court on the summons.
It is also good to note that you will typically be notified when a judgment is entered against you by mail. In some cases when you have changed addresses, or mail is lost, then you may not be aware.
Another way you may be notified of a judgment would be through wage garnishment. This means that you may notice the creditor or a collection agency removing funds from each of your paychecks to pay off your debt.
Although you may believe that you can check for a judgment by pulling your credit report, this is not the case. To see this, you would need to run a judgment search through a title company or go through the county recorder's office. This may show a debt, but it will not show a judgment. Most often a judgment can last up to 20 years, so finding out sooner than later is your best bet.
If you have found that you have a judgment against you, it is important to act fast. Judgments can mean loss of wages, money, or property. Overall it can cause you trouble when it comes to obtaining insurance, obtaining loans, or renting a house.
If you can, respond to a lawsuit before a judgment occurs. Debt collectors can often help you by coming to an agreement. Your best bet is to avoid the point of being sued altogether before it's too late.
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.