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Suffolk County Default Judgment

Whether it is a credit card bill, mortgage payment, or car loan, if you miss payments your creditor will escalate its attempts to collect the debt from you. Initially, the creditor may send you reminders in the mail. If that does not work, the creditor will call you repeatedly. Your account may then be turned over to a collection agency. If you still do not pay, the creditor may conclude that you have no intention of voluntarily paying the debt. The next step is that the creditor may go to court to get a judgment against you in the amount of the outstanding debt, plus additional fees related to getting the judgment. If you do not show up in court to challenge your creditor's claims, then the court will issue a judgment in your absence. This is called a default judgment. Even if you cannot afford to make your monthly payments, there are options to consider so that your creditor will not go to the extreme step of seeking a judgment against you. For example, you could enter into a debt settlement agreement with your creditors, you could pay off your debt through debt consolidation, or you could file for chapter 7 bankruptcy in order to get your debts eliminated, or you could file for chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to get your debt payments reduced. If a default judgment has been entered against you, it is critical that you immediately contact an experienced Suffolk County Default Judgment Lawyer who will review your financial situation and explain your options for avoiding a judgment or getting a default judgment reversed.

Default judgment process

Under New York law if a creditor such as a credit card company decides to bring a lawsuit against you in order to collect a debt there is a process that the creditor must follow. A creditor must first let you know in advance of the intention to take you to court. The creditor must serve the papers regarding the lawsuit to you at your home according to the rules regarding service of court papers. The papers will include a summons and a complaint that will details why you have been sued, including the name of the creditor, the amount of money the creditor is seeking from you, and the date, time and place where a hearing will held regarding the lawsuit.

If the creditor properly serves you with the lawsuit papers, but you fail to appear in court at the designated time to defend against the lawsuit, the court will likely issue a default judgment. However, if you were not properly served and as a result did not appear in court on the designated date to respond to the lawsuit the judge may still end up issuing a default judgment.

Consequences of a default judgment

If a creditor gets a default judgment against you the creditor can collect on the judgment through a wage garnishment. This means that the creditor can require your employer to send a portion of each of your paychecks directly to the creditor until the amount of the judgment is satisfied.

There are, however, limits on the amount of your paycheck that the creditor can seize. A creditor cannot seize your entire paycheck, leaving you with no money to purchase food and pay for other life necessities. According to New York Civil Practice Law and Procedure section 5231, a creditor can only take the lesser of 10% of your gross wages or 25% of your disposable income to the extent that such amount exceeds 30% of minimum wage. "Disposable earnings" are defined as the money that left over in your paycheck after your employer has made deductions required by law such as federal, state and local taxes, and social security.

In addition to wage garnishment, if a creditor gets a judgment the creditor can also take the money you owe directly from your bank account. This is referred to as a bank account levy.

A default judgment is serious. As a result your creditor will have the legal authority to take aggressive actions to collect the debt, such as having your wages garnished. However, there are ways that you can fight a default judgment. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has extensive experience helping clients avoid garnishments, eliminate debt and deal with other issues related to debt relief. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your debt issues.