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Contesting A Judgment: Part 2 Your Limited Options

The first part of this article addressed some background information regarding judgments. A judgment is a decision of a court regarding the rights and liabilities of parties in a legal action or proceeding. Judgments typically include the court's underlying reasons for making its decision and issuing a particular court order. After entry of a judgment, the creditor-plaintiff is referred to as a judgment creditor, and the losing defendant is referred to as a judgment debtor.

A creditor with a judgment has many more collection options available than a creditor without one. A judgment debtor's options are limited in these circumstances, but there are options. The attorneys at Loan Lawyers can help you deal with judgment creditors.

Many creditors obtain default judgments, which are one-sided and uncontested by defendants that typically make no appearance nor file any court documents in response to the lawsuit. Thus, circumstances may be present that indicate a defendant never received an opportunity to be heard.

Further, it may be possible to attack the judgment holder’s standing to enforce the judgment by demanding proof of rightful ownership of the judgment. Debts are regularly bought and sold and the judgment holder is likely not the same commercial entity to which the debt was originally incurred. Since the ownership of debts changes hands so frequently, it is common that documentation demonstrating ownership of the debt is missing, inadequate or nonexistent. However, a court may find that the time for challenging ownership of the debt may have passed and that the plaintiff-judgment holder's proof of ownership is beyond dispute.

Another option is to negotiate a settlement of the amount of the judgment. Creditors have been known to settle these debts for a lump sum payment of 50% or less. Because collecting a judgment is difficult, time-consuming, and presents circumstances which may force a judgment debtor into filing bankruptcy, a settlement for 50% or less is not such a bad deal for a judgment creditor, since otherwise it may ultimately receive nothing.

Another viable but last course of action option is to consider filing a bankruptcy case under Chapter 7, or even Chapter 13. The amount of the judgment may be substantial and there may be other debts or judgments that may remain unpaid. While bankruptcy is a significant step, it does provide a solution to the problems at hand.

The experienced South Florida defense attorneys at Loan Lawyers are here to review a difficult financial situation to assess all of your available options. To schedule a free consultation at any of our three conveniently located offices, contact Loan Lawyers today by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813).