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Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC

What is a Judgment?

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: October 7, 2014

If you have unpaid debts, your creditors can sue you in court to obtain a judgment against you. A judgment is a court decision that is enforceable against you to garnish your wages, bank account and other assets. If a creditor takes the debt to court and the judge sides rules in favor of the creditor, either because you provided a poor defense or didn’t show up or respond, then a judgment could be entered against you.

When you have a judgment against you, it will appear on your credit report and in the public record. A creditor has anywhere from 10 to 20 years to collect on a judgment in most states, and that time period can be extended. Interest and additional creditor attorney fees can be collected on unpaid judgments as well.

Once you have a judgment against you, the law is on your creditor’s side. They may be able to go after your bank accounts, take property that you own, and/or have 25% of your Gross wages garnished. The creditor may only claim non-exempt property for the debt. That is, any property that can be sold during bankruptcy is eligible for collection for a judgment. You can view a list of the exemptions in Washington State here.

When you file for bankruptcy, all collection efforts by a creditor must stop.

Most judgments can be discharged in your bankruptcy; however, certain judgments, such as child support, alimony, taxes, student loans, and payments due as the result of DUI cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Over the past 27 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped over 2,300 of Washington clients take control of their financial situation. We can stop your garnishment and change your monthly payments for all your combined unsecured debt, and if you have had more than $600 garnished within the last 90 days, we can get all of the money back in most cases. But you have to act quickly–call (253) 815-6940 for your free consultation, or email us today. Evening and weekend appointments available.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More