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Civil Judgments and Judgment Enforcement

How to Avoid Judgments on Your Property

A court's formal decision in a lawsuit is called a judgment. Once a judgment is entered, it denotes closure of a lawsuit as well as the issues raised by contesting parties. Some types of common judgment orders by the court, sometimes also called a judgment, include:

  • Sometimes, when one party fails to appear or respond to a summons, a court will automatically enter a judgment in favor of the opposing party. Such a judgment is called a default judgment and it is usually entered in the plaintiff's favor.

  • Some kinds of judgments do not order any of the parties to take any action on the basis of the judgment. The judgment might only declare the rights and obligations of the parties. This kind of judgment is entered in civil cases and is called a declaratory judgment.

  • Sometimes, a judgment may be entered without going into full trial of the case. The judgment is entered purely on merits of the case by deciding certain questions of law and not questions of fact. This is a summary judgment and is entered when a motion for summary judgment is filed by one of the parties.

  • Another kind of judgment is a deficiency judgment. This applies to situations where there is a loan default. In such cases, a lender takes possession of the property. However if the value of the property is less than the loan, the lender can take legal action against the borrower, seeking a deficiency judgment for the amount of loan that is deficient.

  • If you have defaulted on a credit card payment, there are chances of a credit card judgment being entered against you. If a credit card company secures a credit card judgment, it becomes the judgment creditor and the credit card company is entitled to recover the amount due. Generally, creditors file lawsuits for unpaid debt without informing their debtors. If a civil judgment entered on your credit report, it indicates that your creditor has filed a suit against you.

Although having secured a court judgment in your favor offers immense relief, it might be a more difficult task to enforce the judgment. Judgment enforcement is not automatic. You have to take action to get a judgment enforced. If you are not satisfied with a judgment, you have the option of filing an appeal before a higher court showing why the judgment should not have been entered. The appellate court, if convinced, will grant a vacate judgment motion over the lower court.


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