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J is for Judgment

J is for Judgment

When a creditor files a collection lawsuit against you (i.e. credit card debt, medical bill, deficiency balance on a car, etc.), the goal that they have is to obtain a Judgment against you. A Judgment is a very powerful piece of paper in the State of Michigan. It gives this creditor certain powers to collect a debt. These powers include:

Garnishment of wages, bank accounts or State tax refunds.

Seizure of a motor vehicle. Which can then be sold with the proceeds going towards the balance owed on the Judgment.

Recording of a Lien on real estate for the amount of the Judgment.

A Judgment can enter against you in as little as 21 days after you've been personally served with a Summons and Complaint if you don't taken any action. Even if a creditor cannot get you served personally with the Summons and Complaint does mean you can dodge it. A creditor can file papers with the Court to allow them to effectuate service via mail, certified mail and/or affixing the Summons and Complaint to your door.

Once a Judgment has entered against you there is generally a 21-day period where you can appeal it. Assuming you don't, that's when the Judgment becomes final and the creditor can apply for garnishments, etc.

Keep in mind that even if you've been served with a Summons and Complaint, or you have a Judgment entered against you, or even if you have already had a creditor attempt to collect on their Judgment – that the filing of a bankruptcy proceeding will give you an 'automatic stay' of these proceedings.

If you find yourself in a situation where you're being sued by a creditor it may be best to contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney right away.


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