How to Calculate the Total Value of a Judgment
If a creditor has filed a judgment against you or is threatening to do so, it's important for you to understand what this means. If you legitimately owe money on a loan or credit card that you haven't paid, the creditor is completely within his rights to file a judgment, and you will almost certainly end up paying a significant sum that goes above and beyond what you originally owed.
Understand What a Judgment Is
A judgment is the result of a lawsuit. If a creditor wins a judgment against you, you have an obligation to pay the determined amount. Creditors can win a judgment against you if you have failed to pay an outstanding debt. The judgment essentially becomes a new debt that you must pay, and it will be much bigger than the original sum you owed.
Argue Your Case
If you believe that a judgment is being filed unfairly, it's important to argue your case. Contact an attorney to find out how you can fight an unfair judgment. If you know that the unpaid debt is valid, you may be able to settle with the creditor before the judgment is filed with the court. Offer to pay as much as you can or ask to set up an ongoing payment plan.
Consider What Will Go into the Judgment
When a creditor wins a judgment against you, you are required to pay much more than the sum of the original debt. The judgment may also include:
- Interest on the loan or debt
- Court costs that the creditor incurred in bringing the case
- Attorneys' fees associated with the case
If you fight the case and lose, you will of course need to pay your own attorney fees as well. Losing a judgment is very costly.
Calculate How Quickly You Can Pay
If a creditor has already won a judgment against you, it's important to set up a payment plan as soon as possible. If you can pay the entire sum, you should do so promptly to avoid interest charges. Most judgments will incur interest the longer they go unpaid, further adding to the total that you owe. If you're able to pay in full or set up a payment plan, this is the best thing you can do.
If you cannot pay the judgment, the creditor is often entitled to find other ways to collect the money from you. This may include garnishing your wages, taking money from your bank account, or going after your property.
Add Non-Monetary Costs
A judgment can cost you more than just money. It will stay on your credit report for seven years and lower your credit score. This can impact your ability to get credit cards, loans, a mortgage, an apartment, or even a job.
If you're facing a judgment, it's important to take action and either fight it if you feel it's unjustified or set up a payment plan if you're facing a legitimate debt. The cost of a judgment will add up quickly and have a major impact on your financial health.