Did you know that there is a way out of a default judgment if one’s been filed against you. Stick around because inside this video, I’m going to tell you how you can vacate a default judgment.
Hi my name is Peter Lamont. I’m a Business and Personal Law Attorney and I make videos like this to educate people and help them better understand the law because I think it’s a really powerful tool to understand your rights and obligations.
So as promised inside this video, we’re going to talk about vacating a default a judgment. So in the prior video, we’ve explained what a default judgment is and it’s essentially when you fail to answer or otherwise move when you’re served with a summons and complain and the plaintiff obtains a default judgment against you, meaning, that whatever relief they’ve requested in their complaint is being granted simply because you didn’t respond. So, how do you vacate a default judgment?
Well, good news, first of all, the courts favor litigating cases on the merits as opposed to giving someone a default especially when money is involved. So, here’s how you do it: you have to file a motion to vacate the default judgment and there are two things that must be in every motion. Now, it’s going to vary from state to state but in majority of states, you’ve got to be able to show two things.
One, excusable neglect, a reason why you didn’t answer the complain for example, you weren’t serve on time and you never received a copy of the summons and complain and then two, a meritorious defense, meaning, you’ve got to be able to show the court that you do have a defense and that there’s a reason for them to vacate the default because you can defend the claim because of a meritorious defense so that’s just a tangible or real defense. Whether or not you can prove it’s a separate thing but as long as you can show the court that you’ve got some defense then they’re going to vacate the default judgment.
Now, there are times that you should not attempt to do this on your own and that’s majority of the time. Quite frankly, I’m not a big believer in saying that every legal matter that pops out, you need an attorney for because the truth is that a lot of things you can handle on your own but once you’ve been served with a motion for default or a default judgment or any of those things. It’s kind of gone beyond the stage that you should be handling it.
In another video, we talked about when you should handle something on your own and when you should not but assuming that it is a relatively high judgment against you and relatively high depends upon your level of comfort. For some people, a thousand dollar judgment may be really high. For others, it’s a 10,000 dollar judgment that’s really high. So you’ve got to kind of gauge your level comfort. But in general, I always recommend consulting with an attorney when you have a default judgment against you because you’re, like I said, you’re at the end of your rope. All they have to do now is seize your bank account or garnish your wages and then you’re really stuck and it’s a lot more difficult to kind of get out of that hole.
So, if you have a default, you can file a motion to vacate like I explained but it’s always a good idea to talk to an attorney. Well, I hope that you understand now a little bit of the dynamics of how to vacate a default judgment and if you’d like more information or if you’d like to see a sample motion.
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© 2014, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.