Civil Judgments

General questions related to civil judgments in North Carolina

Will I go to jail if I don't pay a civil judgment?

For an ordinary North Carolina civil money judgment, jailing of the debtor-defendant is not a remedy available to the plaintiff-creditor.

4 Ways a North Carolina Judgment Goes Away

A judgment is a decision from a court as to the outcome of a civil lawsuit. When a money judgment is entered, it is a determination by a court that the defendant (judgment debtor) owes that money to the plaintiff. Having a judgment allows the plaintiff to use certain court-sanctioned processes to collect the judgment debt. In North Carolina, this includes execution on personal property and judgment liens on real estate.

When considering what to do about a judgment, it is useful to consider how that judgment might ultimately go way in the long term. I present in this post four ways that judgments go away in North Carolina.

Pricing in Debt Collection Settlements

Consumers with old debts or old judgments frequently receive offers to settle the debt, either by a lump sum payment or via series of (higher) installment payments. They might receive differ offers on the same debt over time, even from the same collector. Where do these numbers come from?

Without Wage Garnishment, Are Collections Judgments a Concern?

North Carolina is one of the few states that does not generally permit wage garnishment as a means to collect debts. Things like child support, taxes, and defaulted student loans are sometimes collected by garnishment, so it should be emphasized that wage garnishment does exist, it's just not broadly available.

Judgments, Judgment-Proof, and Bankruptcy

In essence, money judgments are final orders entered by courts that a defendant in a lawsuit owes a certain sum to the plaintiff. They represent a particular stage of the life of a debt, and might arise from all manner of debts. Consumers are most often faced with judgments when a credit card lender or utility company successfully sues to collect an amount owed, an auto lender obtains a judgment following repossession of car worth less than the money owed, or a mortgage lender obtains a judgment following a foreclosure that fails to pay off the loan. The latter two are known as "deficiency judgments" and on the occasions that they are obtained, often surprise the debtor who thought losing their house or car was the end of that debt.

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