How best to negotiate a judgement amount?

UPDATED: Oct 6, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How best to negotiate a judgement amount?

Have a judgment against me and I need it cleared up to get approved on a home. The original debt was for $1100. The attorney had asked for $3200 at first; I told him Ionly could pay $1000. He then dropped it down to $2400. Told him I couldn’t exceed $1100. He said he could go down to $2200. What are my options and what could I say to get this amount to be reduced closer to my $1100?

Asked on October 6, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, as you probably know, but to reinforce since it's important, if there is already a judgment against you, unless there are good grounds to appeal it or seek to vacate it (e.g. you never received proper notice; it's based on demonstrably false evidence; etc.) you have no "legal" options--that is, the creditor may insist on being paid the judgment amount, and you have no way to force them to take less. Therefore, it's all about the negotiation and getting them to voluntarily take less.

(That said, if there is a judgment against you, it's for a sum certain--you only owe what the judgment amount is. The attorney can't ask for more than the judgment, so check the judgment itself to see what you owe.)

In terms of negotiating, you seem to be doing a good job. There is no "magic bullet" about how to negotiate--generally, you try to demonstrate (i.e. with payroll stubs, bank account statments, evidence of other debts you have to pay, etc.) that you can only pay so much money, and hope the other side will understand that they're better off voluntarily taking that amount, rather than holding out for more but being unable to get it. Do not mention that you want  to be approved on a home--doing so will  give the other side leverage over you, as well as undercut your claim of financial hardship (if you can afford a home, why can't you pay your debt?).

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption