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Motion for Default Judgment - Everything You Need to Know

Hannah Locklear | January 25, 2024

Summary: A motion for default judgment means you didn’t respond to your debt lawsuit in time, and the creditor or collector is requesting an automatic judgment against you. If granted, a default judgment can lead to wage garnishment, property liens, and more. File an Answer into your case to avoid default.

Many people choose to ignore a court Summons or their court dates because they do not know the steps to follow after being sued by a debt collector. When this happens, the judge may rule in favor of the plaintiff. Such a ruling is considered a default judgment or commonly known as a motion of default judgment.

This kind of ruling binds the defendant to obey the court orders, despite their absence during the hearing. However, if the defendant has genuine reasons for missing a court hearing, they can file for a motion to vacate default judgment to stop the enforcement of the ruling. If accepted, the motion to vacate gives the defendant a second chance for a hearing.

What is a motion for default?

A motion for default, also known as a motion for default judgment, is a legal document that a creditor or debt collector can file into a debt case. A motion for default is the creditor’s request to win the case automatically because of the debtor’s failure to respond.

In other words, if you do not respond to your debt lawsuit in time, the plaintiff may file a motion for default judgment.

Here’s an example of a real motion for default judgment:

Note that the motion for default judgment must be granted by the court, and a court order must be obtained, before the plaintiff can enforce the judgment.

Here’s an example of an order for default judgment:

If you receive a motion for default judgment, along with a court order, check the order for the judge’s signature. Without a signed court order, the default judgment isn’t official yet.

It is common practice for big debt collection agencies to sue for debt and file a motion for default judgment weeks later. It’s part of their debt collection system, and it’s usually quite effective because most people don’t know how to respond to a summons for debt.

Don’t be one of those people. A default judgment can lead to serious consequences. Keep reading to learn more.

What happens after default judgment is granted?

After a default judgment is granted, the plaintiff will obtain stamped copies of the judgment paperwork to be mailed to you. This process is done before collecting any amount of money from your employer or bank. The default judgment allows the debt collector to garnish your wages or levy your bank accounts to collect their money back.

Before the garnishment is enforced, you'll be given some time to respond to the judgment by either accepting or objecting to it. You may object by filing a motion to vacate if you have reasons to believe that the court should not have passed the default judgment against you. If the court does not receive any response from you, all the provisions passed in the ruling will be honored.

Avoid a default judgment by filing a response with SoloSuit.

Reverse a default judgment by filing a motion to vacate

A motion to vacate a default judgment could be your best shot at reversing a default judgment and stopping a wage garnishment order from being enforced. If accepted, this motion will give you a chance to argue your case. First, however, there must be viable reasons to compel the judge to allow a second hearing.

Some of the reasons for filing a motion to vacate a default judgment include:

  • Genuine reasons for missing the hearing, such as not receiving the papers for the hearing.
  • A good defense why the plaintiff should not win the case.
  • Bad jurisdiction services, such as being served on a Sunday.
  • New evidence that may not have been discovered during or before the hearing.
  • Personal out-of-control reasons for missing the hearing, such as being ill, transportation difficulties, or being incarcerated on the day of the hearing.
  • You were served by the person suing you.

Use SoloSuit to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in 15 minutes.

It is not guaranteed that the court will accept your motion to vacate a default judgment. However, there are other ways of handling a default judgment.

If your creditor is kind enough, you may agree on an out-of-court settlement in a lump sum or comfortable monthly installments. However, there is no guarantee that the creditor will be willing to negotiate the debt any further. If the debt collection process was costly and frustrating, the debt collector might not grant you any further chances.

Alternatively, you may file for bankruptcy if you have no sufficient income to sustain the debt and your livelihood. If you file for bankruptcy, the judgment will be nullified, including any other debts that you may owe. However, a bankruptcy will significantly affect your credit report and may make it difficult for you to even buy or rent a house in the future.

Make the right defense the right way with SoloSuit.

Falling behind in debt payment is not a crime. But on the other hand, creditors will not hesitate to contact you or pursue legal means to collect their debts. So although they can be frustrating, it is always good to respond to the creditors and negotiate a reliable repayment plan. That way, you will avoid costly debts and all the frustrations related to the whole lawsuit process.

SoloSuit is a step-by-step app that drafts a suitable Answer to a debt collection lawsuit. All you need to do is answer a few questions about your case to generate your Answer document, which a consumer attorney will then review before sending it to the relevant parties. With the availability of apps like SoloSuit, there's no excuse not to respond to a debt collection lawsuit; it makes the whole process easier, faster, and convenient.

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