What Happens When a Judgement Is Filed Against You?

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A judgment is an official entry on a court’s docket that signifies a plaintiff has prevailed in his civil lawsuit for damages against a defendant. In most jurisdictions, a judgment remains valid for 21 years from the date it was issued by the court.

Judgment Creditor

A plaintiff who obtains a judgment becomes a judgment creditor and can utilize all of the post-judgment collection procedures authorized by law against a judgment debtor to obtain satisfaction for his judgment.

Default Judgment

Upon application to the court, a plaintiff may obtain a default judgment when a defendant fails to properly respond to the complaint within the time specified by the court rules.

Removing A Default Judgment

A defendant may seek to vacate or dismiss a default judgment if he can demonstrate to the court that he was not properly served with notice about the plaintiff’s complaint.

Post-Judgment Collection Remedies

Subject to approval by the court, a judgment creditor can seek to attach the assets of a judgment debtor, place a lien on his property or garnish his wages.

Public Record

Since a judgment is a matter of public record, it may appear as a negative trade reference on a debtor’s credit report.

Satisfying A Judgment

A judgment is extinguished upon payment of the remaining amount of the balance due on the judgment.


About the Author

John Barron started freelancing in 2008. Barron writes articles on topics including law, business and finance for various websites. He is an attorney with over 22 years experience in all phases of civil litigation, and corporate and securities law. Barron received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and political science from Boston University and a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School.