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Motion for Judgement - Need help court date is coming soon

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J

jordan37

Guest
What is the name of your state? Washington, DC


I have a credit card from a credit union that I've had for 3 years. I've always paid my bill on time and fell behind for 3 months at the beginning of this year (I made my January payment and then didn't make another payment until May) due to an immense amount of other debt owed. I got caught up in my bills and began making payments to the credit union in May. At the same time that I made this May payment the credit union's collection unit filed papers against me with the courts for a judgement by default of the original credit card agreement to pay on time month. I spoke with the credit union's collection agency after receiving these papers and we verbally worked out an arrangement for them to automatically debit 300 dollars from my checking account each month ($150 per pay period). The credit union has been debiting this money each month since then (June, July, August, September), and in August they received $450 instead of $350 because I had 3 pay periods. The payments are being made and the amount of the debt is going down, but here's my problem...

I now have a court date in a few weeks for a motion hearing because the credit union filed those papers for judgement by default. I plan to appear at the hearing but I don't know what to expect. I also don't want a judgement to be put on my credit and feel that since I have been making the agreed upon payments since May that I should not get a judgement. The collection attorney has led me to believe that it's too late to not get a judgement because they already filed the papers and since I was in default (by not making a payment those 3 months) that the judge is automatically rule against me and give me a judgement. The collections person told me that the only way to avoid getting that judgement is to pay the debt in full before the court date. The debt is approximately $4,500.

Is this true? Is it no use of me thinking that there is a chance to avoid getting a judgement? Is it too late? Will I make a fool of myself asking the judge to deny the motion for judgement since I have been making such large payments and have been doing so on time each month? Also, if I do get a judgement against me, can I ask the judge to let us continue the $300 monthly payments instead of garnishing my pay check? Up to what percentage can they garnish my paycheck for in Washington, DC if the judge does decide to garnish my paycheck?

What can I do to prepare for this court date? The collection attorney is not being helpful at all and I don't know if I need to get a lawyer.

When I first spoke with the collections person for the credit union they told me that they are going to try and work with me to help me pay back this money since I am having financial troubles, but now they keep pursuing me for this judgement. I really don't know what to expect from them when we enter the hearing.

Please advise. What happens at these types of hearings? What can I say in my defense?
 


JETX

Senior Member
Q1) "I've always paid my bill on time and fell behind for 3 months at the beginning of this year (I made my January payment and then didn't make another payment until May) due to an immense amount of other debt owed."
A1) When you 'fell behind', you breached your repayment agreement. The creditor apparently felt that some action was needed to protect their interests, and decided to take legal action. This is not something that a creditor takes lightly (and especially a credit union.... they are much more tolerant of their members!!), so I have to believe that there were problems other then the mere missing of 2 payments.

Q2) "I got caught up in my bills and began making payments to the credit union in May."
A2) You don't say anything about having made the missing payments. If you didn't make them up, then your May payment was really the February payment, and so on. If this is the case, each month is paid late.

Q3) "At the same time that I made this May payment the credit union's collection unit filed papers against me with the courts for a judgement by default of the original credit card agreement to pay on time month."
A3) Something is not correct here. They don't file for a DEFAULT judgment. They file a lawsuit and if you do not show up, then a default judgment is awarded to them. From your later comments, it appears that the trial has not occured, so judgment has been rendered.... yet.

Q4) "I spoke with the credit union's collection agency after receiving these papers and we verbally worked out an arrangement for them to automatically debit 300 dollars from my checking account each month ($150 per pay period)."
A4) NEVER, EVER let these be handled by 'verbal agreement'. Either get the other party to confirm the understanding in writing, or you send them a 'confirming our agreement' letter by certified RRR. The obvious problem here is... you have NO proof any agreement existed or what it is/was. Oh, and NEVER, EVER let anyone 'automatic debit' from your account!!! There are huge potential problems in doing this.... and even more so with a VERBAL agreement.

Q5) "but here's my problem... I now have a court date in a few weeks for a motion hearing because the credit union filed those papers for judgement by default. I plan to appear at the hearing but I don't know what to expect."
A5) We don't either because you keep using this term 'default judgment'. Assuming that you have been sued, the next step is a trial (not a hearing). The creditor will bring their records to court showing that you breached the repayment agreement and asking for a judgment for the claimed amount. You will then have an opportunity to defend yourself against their claims. The court will then decide who 'wins'.

Q6) "I also don't want a judgement to be put on my credit and feel that since I have been making the agreed upon payments since May that I should not get a judgement."
A6) Your 'making good' really has nothing to do with it. The legal issue is, "did you breach your repayment agreement?". If the court finds that you did (even with your good attempts to catch up), then a judgment COULD be rendered against you.

Q7) "The collection attorney has led me to believe that it's too late to not get a judgement because they already filed the papers and since I was in default (by not making a payment those 3 months) that the judge is automatically rule against me and give me a judgement."
A7) Got this one confused also. The attorney is correct in that the court could give THEM a judgment against you if they do in fact find that you are in breach. However, the attorney is not being 'straight with you' about the options, since he could very simply file a motion to dismiss since you have been making payments.

Q8) "The collections person told me that the only way to avoid getting that judgement is to pay the debt in full before the court date. The debt is approximately $4,500. Is this true?"
A8) No. Personally I would try to negotiate with the creditor. First thing I would do would be to stop ALL automatic debits from my account. After all, if you are going to get hit with a judgment anyway, there is no reason to 'bust the bank' paying them. Then, the same day that I cancel the debits, I would contact the creditor and tell them just that.... "Since you are proceeding with a lawsuit against me anyway, I have STOPPED any efforts to pay you. As you know, I have tried very hard to bring this account current and had every intention of continuing. However, your aggressive stance has forced me to rethink this issue. So, your choice: Either dismiss your lawsuit and I will continue the payments, or continue with your lawsuit and get a judgment, and I will either file for bankruptcy protection or will simply make it so that you have to spend LOTS of money trying to enforce your judgment. Your choice."

Q9) "Is it no use of me thinking that there is a chance to avoid getting a judgement? Is it too late?"
A9) Simply, the only way you are going to avoid a judgment is to try to get the creditor to dismiss it. See A8.

Q10) "Will I make a fool of myself asking the judge to deny the motion for judgement since I have been making such large payments and have been doing so on time each month?"
A10) Not a fool, but it will not prevent the legal judgment. The issue is NOT how good you are trying to be now, but whether you are in breach or not.... and simply, you are.

Q11) "Also, if I do get a judgement against me, can I ask the judge to let us continue the $300 monthly payments instead of garnishing my pay check?"
A11) Not really. The court will only render a judgment as to the validity of the claim being made.

Q12) "Up to what percentage can they garnish my paycheck for in Washington, DC if the judge does decide to garnish my paycheck?"
A12) The garnishment process does not just 'happen' at the court. The court will render a judgment. The losing party will then have a period of time to file an appeal (10 to 30 days usually). Then, after the judgment becomes final, the judgment creditor can request a garnishment from the court. This typically doesn't happen for several weeks/months after the judgment.

Q13) "What can I do to prepare for this court date? The collection attorney is not being helpful at all and I don't know if I need to get a lawyer."
A13) The 'collection attorney' is NOT your friend or your attorney, so do NOT ask them for any advice or assistance. His/her job is to get a judgment AGAINST you. From your post, the only thing you can really do is get all your documents together, including proof that you have been making debit payments, then appear at the appointed time. Try to present your 'case' (that you have been making every attempt to resolve this matter), then see what the court says. You should NOT need an attorney for this, since the downside is limited simply to their actual claim, plus attorney fees.

Good luck....
 

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