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Motion to Vacate—What Are Reasonable Excuses for Not Responding to a Creditor Lawsuit?

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Have you recently discovered that a default judgment was filed against you? Although for some it may seem difficult to imagine a lawsuit or judgment sliding by without notice, it is much more common than you would think—especially when debt has been a problem for a while and you may have begun ignoring the continual calls and letters. Without a response to a creditor lawsuit, most judges will grant the court judgment quite easily. That does not mean you are without recourse later, however, and especially with an experienced judgment attorney acting in your best interest.

If a creditor has a judgment against you and you want to see it gone, your attorney will need to file a motion to vacate and then move forward to defend your case—almost as if from the beginning. This process requires a skilled attorney though who can navigate the complexities of filing such a motion. The first hurdle is in explaining why you were not able to respond or participate in the court process when the credit brought the lawsuit forth initially. Indeed, you may not have been aware of the pending lawsuit at all, and this is often due to problems with service of the documents. The process server may have delivered the summons and complaint to the wrong address—or service of process may somehow have been overlooked altogether; in fact, some creditors or debt collectors may have just mailed the documents.

In having the judgment set aside, your first obstacle is in convincing the judge why you deserve such a chance. While there could be reasons such as a misunderstanding originally, or perhaps new evidence has come to light, there may be another reason you were not able to respond. You may have been sick or taking care of a family member, traveling for work, unaware of the proceedings altogether, or more. Once that bridge is crossed, you will have to prove that you have a reasonable defense. Perhaps the amount of the debt is wrong, service of process was improper, or maybe the debt is not even yours.

You might be surprised to find that once the creditor discovers you are fighting the judgment, they may want to have it dismissed altogether—or at the very least begin to negotiate a settlement for pennies on the dollar. While this may seem like a lot of effort to go through for a credit-card debt you don’t even remember the purchases on, keep in mind that you are saving yourself from the potential of wage garnishment and levying of assets.

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Are you concerned about credit card debt, lawsuits, and judgments? If you are finding it difficult to pay your bills and need an experienced debtor rights attorney, contact us at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC. We can review your current situation and discuss your options with you, whether that means bankruptcy, negotiating settlements, or other avenues. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in all types of consumer rights matters, including bankruptcy, and we are here to help you!

Call us today for a free consultation at (844) 431-3851, or email us at

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