November 24, 2017

Beware Judgments

Do you know what it means to have a judgment entered against you?  Judgments arise from lawsuits – often collection lawsuits – and they happen when a state court judge decides in favor of the other party.

In collection lawsuits, this means that the judge has ruled in favor of the plaintiff – usually a credit card company, finance company or other person or company who is suing you for money damages.  Sometimes a judgment is entered after trial but most of the time, a default judgment is issued when the defendant (i.e., you) does not answer the lawsuit.

In Georgia, if you are sued, you must file a written “answer” with the clerk of court, within 30 days after you are served with a lawsuit.  If you do not file an answer in a timely manner, the plaintiff can go to court and ask the judge to issue a default judgment.

Unfortunately you will not know when or if this default judgment is entered.  If you choose not to participate in the litigation, you may not receive notice about the status of that litigation.

Here at Ginsberg Law Offices we often speak to clients who only found out about a judgment when they opened their pay stub only to discover that 25% of their take home pay was seized, or when their savings or checking accounts were seized by the judgment creditor.

The take away from all this is clear – if a sheriff’s deputy or process server knocks on your door and hands you a lawsuit, your next move should be to call a lawyer for guidance.  If you hear a rumor that someone has sued you (perhaps out of state or in the county where you used to live), don’t ignore the problem hoping it will go away. Instead, call a lawyer.  Lawsuits usually do not go away, and, as discussed above, bad things can happen if a judgment is issued.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Ginsberg represents honest, hardworking men and women in the Atlanta area who need personal bankruptcy protection. In practice for over 25 years, Jonathan teaches bankruptcy law and practice at legal continuing education seminars and he is a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network. Jonathan lives with his wife and children in Atlanta.

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