What should I doif I set up a payment arrangement with a creditor and they stillwent and obtained a judgement?

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What should I doif I set up a payment arrangement with a creditor and they stillwent and obtained a judgement?

I recently went to court due to a lawsuit put against me by a collection agency. I owe medical bills and I never disputed that. They were unwilling to to grant me a payment arrangement, at first, because the amount that I could afford a month was not satisfactory to them. So they went forward with a lawsuit. So I showed up at court and the only person there was the creditor that filed the lawsuit. The judge hadn’t showed yet. She then was willing to offer me a payment arrangement in which I agreed to. She told me since we had set up an agreement, it was not necessary for me to stay and attend court.

Asked on June 16, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

IF there was an agreement, that agreement is enforceable. However, proving that agreement, if, for example, it was not in writing but was just the outcome of a verbal or oral discussion you had at court, can be very difficult--you can take it as a given that the creditor will dispute you story. Since there is a judgment against you, you are starting at a disadvantage--it is an uphilll fight (not impossible, but often tough) to set aside a judgment. If at all possible, retain an attorney to help you try to vacate the judgment, on grounds of both an agreement and also fraud (false representations) by the creditor; if you can't afford an attorney, contact the court and find out how you would try to vacate the judgment yourself and focus on the fact of the agreement.

In the future, always attend court; never leave it early; and don't rely on what the other side tells you.


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