Imagine checking your mail and receiving a legal notice stating you are ordered by the court to pay someone as a result of a settled lawsuit that you did not know existed. Unfortunately this scenario is not uncommon. If the court enters a judgment against you, the law considers you a “judgment debtor.” This means the law states you owe the judgment amount unless you can prove otherwise. You must take immediate steps to protect your rights and prevent the matter from becoming worse.
Debt collectors have a number of legal options to collect this debt, which include trying to force the sale of your home, seize your personal property and garnish your wages. In California, judgment debtors have short windows of time to protect their rights and fight the debt. Often times you will be ordered to appear at a court hearing known as a “judgment debtor examination” or an “OEX.” During these hearings, the creditor and their attorney may ask you personal questions under oath about your finances, assets and other sensitive information.
If you act promptly, you may be able to fight the judgment itself and have it set aside or settle for a lesser amount. You may also be able to protect your home and personal assets. To learn how our attorneys can assist you with your judgment debt matters or other legal needs, contact us today.