How to Make Payment Arrangements on Your Judgment

By Jessica McElrath

A judgment is a court ruling that obligates you to do something or grants you rights against another person. If a person sues you for monetary damages and wins a judgment, you are obligated to pay the creditor the amount determined by the court. If you cannot pay the entire amount in a lump sum, the creditor or the court may agree to a payment arrangement.

Ask the creditor to create an installment plan. You are obligated to pay the creditor within a certain number of days after the court issues the judgment, typically 30 days, but it depends on state law. Therefore, you should contact the creditor as soon as possible about a payment arrangement. Ask the creditor if you can pay the judgment over time in an installment plan. The creditor does not have to agree to your request, so be polite, cooperative and assure the creditor that you want to pay him. If the creditor agrees, put your agreement in writing and include the number of payments you will make, the commencement date, the amount of the payment, the due date and the address where you will send the payments.

Ask the court to arrange an installment plan if the creditor denies your request. You will need to fill out the appropriate court forms, which vary depending on the state. In California, for instance, when you request that the court set up an installment plan you must complete a Request to Make Payments and a Financial Statement. Generally, you will need to provide the judgment date, judgment amount and the proposed installment plan. If you are also required to complete a financial statement, you will need to provide your income, a list of the property you own, and your expenses. You or the court clerk will send a copy of your request to the creditor. Check with your local court for the appropriate forms.

Attend the hearing. If the creditor rejects the proposed installment plan, the court will likely hold a hearing. You and the creditor must both be present. You, the creditor, and the judge will discuss the matter. The judge will make a decision after hearing both sides.

About the Author

Jessica McElrath has been a freelance writer since 2000. McElrath is the author of "The Everything John F. Kennedy Book" and "The Everything Martin Luther King Jr. Book." McElrath has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of California at Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law.