Timeline for Payments on a Summary Judgment by the Court … and Possible Options

Written by James Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

A summary judgment by the court is a demanding obligation that could lead to seizing of assets to liquidate, garnishing of wages, and general stress and worry that unfortunately typically goes along with this type of situation.  There is no specific limit of time for a debt to be paid, but a creditor who is obtaining the judgment against a debtor, be it summary, which is taken before the court hearing, or a court judgment, which occurs at the hearing, will want some kind of schedule and amount stated by the court in the judgment to insure it is paid in full.  There is very little difference between the two judgements other than more time passes as well as court expenses for all involved.  A few people experienced rather long time periods for paying off the debt and judgment.  One stated fourteen years from experience.  That is a long time.

The greater number of people with experience and many experts expressed that almost any option is better than getting a judgment against one’s self.  This judgment goes on the debtor’s credit report for as long as the judgment remains incomplete plus some time for the court to clear the item.  Everything about the leading up to and the attachment of a judgment is bad for the debtor.  The primary option that these people call out is to “negotiate, negotiate, negotiate”.  The creditor does not want the expense and resource expenditure that is necessary for a court adventure.  The creditor will likely push its expenses back onto the debtor as a part of the judgment.  This is another worthwhile reason to negotiate.  The debtor will need a lawyer, or (at least) should have a lawyer if the court hearing is the path taken.  That expense would also be saved by negotiating.  Another savings is whatever will happen to the debtor’s credit rating and reporting if a judgment occurs.

One point to make is that bankruptcy has no provision for discharging court judgements.  In a bankruptcy, all judgments are excluded by the trustee in the proceedings.  A side-point that appears to arise is that if one intends on filing for bankruptcy due to this creditor, and likely other creditors, it would be best to file for bankruptcy before the court hearing, and certainly before signing (or not signing at all) any summary judgment.  As always stated, a good lawyer and at least a consultation on the debtor’s situation are warranted at the very least.

If one is the creditor or person whose legal debt is being ignored by the debtor, consider negotiations in contrast to the cost and expenses one will experience driving towards a judgment.  How long might the judge allow the debtor to pay?  Fourteen years?  Somewhere in between, there is usually a happy middle ground where both parties can agree on a negotiated settlement.

One last point and this is for both sides, get whatever is negotiated in writing and signed.  Without the written, and signed, word, it did not happen.

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