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What is a judgment?

A judgment is a court order that is the decision in a lawsuit. If a judgment is entered against you, a debt collector will have stronger tools, like garnishment, to collect the debt.

Update for renters
All debt collectors must follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This can include lawyers who collect rent for landlords. Starting on May 3, 2021, a debt collector may be required to give you notice about the federal CDC eviction moratorium.

A judgment is an official result of a lawsuit in court. In debt collection lawsuits, the judge may award the creditor or debt collector a judgment against you. You are likely to have a judgment entered against you for the amount claimed in the lawsuit if you:

  • Ignore the lawsuit, or 
  • Don’t respond to the lawsuit in a timely manner.  

The judge may also award additional fees against you to cover collection costs, interest, and possibly attorney fees. 

Important: Judgments give debt collectors much stronger tools to collect the debt from you. Those tools can include wage or bank account garnishments, as well as putting on a lien on your home.

Tip: Contact a lawyer if you are sued, or if someone has obtained a judgment against you. You may also be able to work out a compromise or settlement by negotiating with the creditor or debt collector before a court makes a judgment. There are several ways to find a lawyer for a debt collection lawsuit

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