A judgment is a court’s final determination of the rights and obligations of the parties in a case. There are many types of judgments depending on the type of claim at issue in a case. In the case of a suit filed by a creditor against a debtor, there are a few types of judgments that are relevant including but not limited to:
- Default Judgment – A default judgment is a judgment that is entered against a defendant who fails to plead or otherwise defend against the plaintiff’s claim. When a lawsuit is filed by a plaintiff the defendant has 28 days to file a response and present a defense. If the defendant fails to do so, the plaintiff can obtain a judgment against them.
- Consent Judgment – A consent judgment is common in cases where a creditor sues a debtor. If the parties are able to agree to a payment plan or settlement to be paid over time, the parties will agree that a judgment be rendered against a debtor and the creditor agrees that they will not take action to collect on the judgment as long as the debtor pays as agreed upon.
- Summary Judgment – When a case is being litigated and the defendant has filed an answer admitting or denying the allegations, either party can file for summary judgment. This means that the parties are seeking a judgment without a trial based upon the documents that have been filed with the court.
Once a judgment is obtained, there is a complex process that a creditor must undertake to collect on that judgment. During this process a creditor may garnish wages, place a lien on a bank account to collect money from the account and place a lien on or seize an individual’s real property. Often a judgment can be avoided with the help of an attorney. If you have a judgment entered against you, consulting with an attorney is still beneficial as it is still possible to prevent some of the collection efforts mentioned above.