Chloe Meltzer | December 01, 2022
Summary: Is your creditor asking you to sign a stipulated judgment? Find out what effect it will have on your case and your unpaid debt.
When it comes to owing a debt, most people want to find some way to be done with it and move past it. Often, creditors feel the same way. Typically, this leads to a settlement with the creditor. If you already within the process of a court case, then you may be asked to sign a “stipulated judgment.”
When a stipulated judgment occurs, both parties will have agreed to a judgment. The stipulated judgment requires both parties to sign it. With that signature, you give up your right to a trial. Your signature also means that you agree to be bound by the terms of the stipulated judgment.
Typically, there are a few common inclusions in stipulated judgment. This agreement usually includes a clause stating how you will pay. Whether you have agreed to a monthly payment or a lump sum. As long as you pay the lump sum or continue to pay the monthly payment, the creditor agrees that they will not file against you.
This form of agreement allows the creditor to be protected if you default on your monthly payments. If you do happen to default, then they have a judgment for the full amount, which typically would not have been received without going to trial.
The amount you will eventually pay on a stipulated judgment is usually an amount that is far less than the original lawsuit. If you do not pay the agreed-upon amount, you run the risk of being forced to pay far more. This is the main incentive of a stipulated judgment. Although you sign and are bound to the payment, it will be less than if you would have gone to trial and lost.
If you legitimately owe a debt, then signing a stipulated judgment can make sense. Especially if you cannot make a counterclaim or a dispute, then you have no legal leg to stand on to avoid paying the debt.
Rather than go to trial over your unpaid debt, it makes sense to agree to a settlement with the creditor and negotiate the terms. This will allow you to pay your debt slowly and in a method that you can manage. Instead of being given a bill and forced to pay it, you can regain some control of the situation.
The primary downside to a stipulated judgment comes if you are unable to make your agreed-upon payments. After signing the stipulated judgment there will no more leeway for missed payments. If you do not make your payments then you can end up with a judgment against you. This also means that you will have waived your right to trial. This leaves you with no option but to pay the debt along with interest and often legal fees.
Consider your options before you agree to a stipulated judgment. You may have a defense to win your case or have it dismissed. If you decide to sign a stipulated judgment, be ready to stick to the terms. Otherwise, you could make things worse. Most importantly, never sign an agreement you don't understand. Get help from an attorney if you need it!
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.