Q: How would I settle a judgment for less than the judgment amount?
I recently found out I have a judgment that is affecting my drivers license so this is something I need to pay. About 8-9 years ago my ex and I were sued in Maryland District Court and I had a default judgment entered against me and she did not. We were never served with any papers to appear in court although court records show I was served by registered letter and she was not served. I'm sure it is unlikely to get the judgement vacated due to the age of the case but I'd be willing to offer a small lump sum of money to satisfy the judgment as any future earnings will be going towards priority debts (child support). The only other option is bankruptcy but I really don't want to file BK. If I write an offer of settlement for 10% of the original amount of the judgment would a lawyer accept that or would I have to offer more although I couldn't afford to offer much more. The judgment is about 6600 plus court cost $70.
A: The original judgment may have been $6,600, but it’s been accruing 10% postjudgmemt interest annually since then, meaning it’s probably doubled by now. If the judgment creditor has never tried to collect on the judgment, you might let sleeping dogs lie, at least until 12 years have gone by since the date of judgment. Judgments expire and become unenforceable after 12 years unless the creditor files a request to renew it before the 12 years expires. I doubt they will accept 10%, and all you’ll do is wave a flag saying “here I am, come collect!” Unless you need to clear this judgment to get a loan or to improve your credit, think twice. Otherwise, maybe hire a lawyer to negotiate the settlement.
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