Why would my lawyer recommend I do a consent judgment in a debt collection lawsuit?
A consent judgment is exactly what it sounds like – it is a judgment that you have agreed or consented to.
This person asked, “Hey, in that old case I had, why would my lawyer recommend that I do a consent judgment?”
And this is a really good question.
There are two possibilities for why the lawyer would recommend this.
Reason 1: Your lawyer knows you are very likely to lose.
In this situation, you would have a conversation with your lawyer where they tell you there is going to be a judgment.
Currently, judgments don’t show up on credit reports most of the time.
It used to be that all judgments showed up on the credit report, now we hardly ever see them on the report.
However, the credit bureaus could change this at any time.
Your lawyer would have a conversation with you where they say, “Look, this isn’t going to be on your credit report. Do you need to be able to honestly answer that you don’t have a judgment for a security clearance or a loan you’re applying for?”
If the answer to this question is no, you could work out a good agreement as to how to settle the case.
This is a legitimate reason for agreeing to a consent judgment.
Reason 2: Your lawyer just wants the case to be over quickly
Usually what we see is this second, negative possibility.
The lawyer representing the consumer comes back and says, “I’ve got great news. Sign this consent judgment.”
It is usually because that lawyer frankly doesn’t know what they’re doing, or they don’t know how to fight the case, or they are unwilling to put in the effort.
The lawyer just wants to get the case to move along quickly, so they ask you to agree to the consent judgment.
I think that consent judgments are horrible 90% of the time.
It is terrible to agree to a judgment.
A judgment can hurt you in job promotions, security clearances, and applying for credit.
The only time it may be legitimate is when it doesn’t matter if you have a judgment, but you need to protect your income or bank account from garnishment, or you need to protect your house from a lien.
So, you agree to a consent judgment where you pay $50, or $100, or whatever small amount, and it just makes sense to do so.
Be very careful about consent judgments.
If you have a lawyer and they recommend this to you, you should talk to your lawyer to ask why they want you to do this and see what other options are available.
If you do not have a lawyer and you are thinking about a consent judgment, just think really long and hard before agreeing to it.
Remember that a consent judgment is still a judgment against you.
If you live in Alabama and you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.
We would be glad to help you in any way we can.
You can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447, or you can fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you quickly.
Have a great day!