Should I sign an agreement for judgment?

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Should I sign an agreement for judgment?

I am going to trial next month for a debt collection on my credit card. There’s also a court date for a judgment hearing. I agree I owe the debt. I have been out of work since for 2 1/2 years because I am now legally blind and collecting social security disability. I know they can’t touch my SSD check. Should I sign the judgment papers which says I owe said debt plus 12% and court cost. Plaintiff agrees to waive attorney fees. Both parties agree defendant has no ability to pay debt and plaintiff can review again in 6months, agreement be filed with the court.

Asked on August 22, 2011 Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

For an answer as to what you specifically should do, you need to consult with an attorney who can render you an actual legal opinion as your representative. That said, here are some factors to consider:

1) Unless the credit card agreement you signed allowed them to collect legal fees from you, they probably couldn't get them anyway--you should look at your agreement to see whether you'd have to pay in the event of a lawsuit. It is common, by the way, that you would--but definitely double check. If they couldn't collect them, they're not giving you anything by "agreeing" to waive them.

2) It appears that the judgment interest rate is 12%, so you're not getting a "break" on this--you're agreeing to pay at the same rate they could get you to pay if they won from you in court.

3) By coming to an agreement or settlement without forcing the creditor to go to court, you are saving them money--it would be reasonable for you to get something off on the debt (e.g. a reduction in principal) to reflect that they are settling before trial.

4) Saying you currently have no ability to pay will not necessarily stop them from taking whateve actions they can, like puttig a lien on property or trying to garnish a bank account.

In short, it seems from what you write that you are giving them everything they could get in court, withou forcing them to go to court. It's not clear how this is better for you than a trial would be. However again, definitely check your credit card agreement to see what you could be obligated for (especially lawyer fees; if you'd have to pay them otherwise, saving them is big savings) and if at all possible, consult with an attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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