Notice: Due to government restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are currently conducting all consultations via video, phone, or email. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions!

Deadlines Part 3: Race Against the Clock: After Judgment Has Been Entered – Double Edged Sword

By Law Office of Abel L. Pierre, Attorney at Law, P.C.

If you just found out that a judgment was entered against you for an old credit card or medical debt collection, then you had better hurry up and retain a lawyer to help you resolve this issue. The cost may not be as high as you think and many lawyers will operate on a payment plan. The cost of ignoring the judgment may be more expensive if the collection agency and their collection lawyer find out where you work or, worse yet, where you have your bank accounts.

The deadlines regarding judgments vary and depend on how the judgment was obtained. If the collection attorney got the judgment against you after you filed papers in court, they have 30 days to serve you with notice of that judgment. Once you receive it, you have 30 days to start paying or to appeal.

If the collection agency got a default judgment against you, then they still have to serve you with notice of the judgment within 30 days; but they almost never do. The biggest and most troublesome deadline occurs regarding how long the judgment can keep haunting you.

In many states, the statute of limitations to enforce a judgment is longer than the statute of limitations on the debt itself. For example, a debt collector can enforce their judgment for up to 20 years! They can even renew this time period! WOW! The judgments also stay on the credit report longer than other debts, up to 10 years.

The pitfall occurs when the 10 years are up and the judgment stops appearing on the credit report. Most people think that the judgment just went away. This is not true; it is still very active and very much enforceable. People find this out the hard way when they get that dreaded notice that their paycheck is being garnished or, worse yet, when they go the ATM and discover that their bank account is frozen!

In the next installment, we will discuss the deadlines that apply when you retain a lawyer to release to hold on your bank account or stop a wage garnishment in its tracks.


If you received notice that you are being sued by a debt collector or found a judgment on your credit report, call the Law Office of Abel L. Pierre, Attorney at Law, P.C. We can simplify the process for you and do our best to prevent the bill collector from getting a judgment against you, or have the judgment vacated and removed if they already obtained judgment against you. Call now at (888) 682-2165.