There are different types of judgments courts can enter to resolve civil litigation. Default judgments are utilized in every state, at least as far as we know. Summary judgments are pretty standard as well. In some states, consent judgments are yet another option. The question for this post is whether it is wise to push for either a consent or summary judgment.
We are not qualified to provide legal advice on our website. Our specialty is collecting unpaid judgments in Utah, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, and a few other states. But we can tell you what we know about consent and summary judgments. Whether or not to push for one would be a decision best left to you and your attorney.
A consent judgment is a type of judgment in which creditor and debtor agree to some sort of payment plan. Most of the time, it boils down to the debtor making monthly installments until the debt is settled. It might involve the creditor agreeing to settle for a lesser amount to get the issue resolved.
The thing about consent judgments is that not every state allows them. And in those that do, they just do not happen on their own. The two parties involved still need to petition the court to render a decision to that effect. A consent judgment is not official or legally enforceable until the court does so.
Pushing for a consent judgment does have its advantages. The primary advantage is bringing an end to collection efforts. By its nature, a consent judgment dictates that the creditor stops any and all collection efforts for as long as the debtor continues to make payments as promised.
It benefits the creditor inasmuch as no further time, money, or effort needs to be put into collection. It benefits the debtor inasmuch as he is no longer facing collection efforts.
A summary judgment is a different kind of judgment rendered in cases in which the defendant is actively fighting the suit. But what is a summary judgment, exactly? It is a judgment rendered by the court without going to trial.
Under normal circumstances, a judgment creditor headed to trial wants to prove his case with enough evidence to convince the court. Sometimes the creditor’s evidence is so compelling that it cannot be argued in any reasonable way. The creditor can ask for a summary judgment – a judgment based solely on his evidence alone.
As with a consent judgment, there are certain benefits to pushing for a summary judgment. Chief among them is avoiding the pitfalls of going to trial. As any attorney will tell you, one can never be sure what will happen in a courtroom. Whether you are looking at a bench or jury trial, things are too unpredictable to bank on anything.
If you can avoid trial with a summary judgment, doing so could be the right way to go. But again, whatever strategy you pursue against a debtor is up to you and your attorney. Every action has its pros and cons. Only you and your attorney can look at all the circumstances and come up with the best course of action.
Meanwhile, we are here to help if you already have outstanding judgments waiting to be collected. As judgment collection specialists, we work on behalf of judgment creditors in multiple states across the country. We are more than happy to look at your case to see what we might do to help.
Published September 26, 2023