Taking a customer to court over unpaid bills is not the most pleasant thing in the world. Nonetheless, it is necessary at times. If you could get resolution without actually going to trial, that would be good. Enter the consent judgment. It is a unique type of judgment that offers the best compromise outcome when the existence of a debt is not disputed.
More About the Consent Judgment
The simplest way to understand a consent judgment is to say that both parties agree that the original debt is legitimate. They also work out a way to settle that debt. The parties present their agreement to the court and ask that a consent judgment be entered.
If the court agrees, entering a consent judgment settles all the claims made in the lawsuit. It also binds the two parties to their agreement. Further legal action cannot be taken unless one of the two parties breaches the agreement.
Improving the Chances of Getting One
Although consent judgments are not necessarily difficult to get, there are never any guarantees that a court will go along with a petition to obtain one. Courts need to look at a number of different things to determine whether a consent judgment is appropriate.
With that in mind, here are some tips for improving the chances of getting a consent judgment, as a creditor:
1. Be Willing to Accept Less
Before you can convince a court to render a consent judgment, you need to convince the debtor to go along with it. One of your best motivations for doing so is offering to accept less money than what is actually owed. How much less is up to you. The more generous you are willing to be, the more likely the debtor is to get on board.
Accepting less money can be difficult and disappointing. But there is another alternative that is even more so: not getting paid at all. Sometimes it is better to accept less than risk never seeing a penny.
2. Offer a Reasonable Payment Plan
Next up is the payment plan idea. According to Salt Lake City’s Judgment Collectors, it is not unusual for debtors to be willing to pay but not have the money to do so. They are willing to enter payment plans if any such plans are offered. This is where you can become a hero to the person who owes you money.
Offering a payment plan offers a way out of a bad situation. It could be the very thing that convinces a debtor to go along with a consent judgment. It could also be the thing that convinces a judge to grant the petition.
3. File as Soon as Possible
The chances of obtaining a consent judgment are highest when a case is still in its early stages. Why? Because over time, new facts are brought up. There may be new evidence that has to be considered. Time is more or less the enemy in civil litigation. The longer cases drag on, the more complicated they get.
Petitioning for a consent judgment early on almost always means handing the court a simple case. Courts love simple cases that do not require a lot of legal gymnastics. The chances of getting a consent judgment on a simple case are pretty good.
It goes without saying that consent judgments aren’t always the best course of action. But when they are, they can quickly resolve civil disputes without having to go to trial. Staying out of the courtroom is rarely a bad thing in civil cases.
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