What is a civil suit and a judgment?

UPDATED: Dec 5, 2011

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What is a civil suit and a judgment?

I owe a card company some money and they have taken the case to a collector (attorneys). These collectors say if I don’t pay in full, they will file a civil suit and seek judgment. This is a large amount which I can not pay. They are asking to pay at least half the amount up front (also too large) in order for a payment plan to take place, or else they will secure a judgement. What are the ramifications of this?

Asked on December 5, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A civil lawsuit is a process where a plaintiff files a claim in the county court clerk's office of a given state seeking some form of relief (usually money) against a person (defendant).

In your situation, that is what the situation may result concerning the credit card debt that you presumably owe. If a lawsuit is filed and you are served with the summons and complaint, you have a certain period of time to file a response and if not, a default judgment could be entered against you.

A judgment is when the court makes a decision that either the plaintiff or the defendant wins the action. If the plaintiff wins the action and money was sought, the court will award the plaintiff so much money against the defendant that the defendant has to eventually pay.

In your situation, I recommend that you consult with an attorney who practices debt collection law. If you owe money to the credit card company, I suggest that you try and work out a written settlement where you pay so much per month that you can afford.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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