In times of financial crisis it is common to be sued as the defendant in a civil collection lawsuit. It is normal during such times to be overwhelmed and terrified by court, attorneys, and the entire legal system. As a result, a large number of collection lawsuits result in default judgments — court orders entered because the defendant debtor did not appear or file a response.
This is somewhat understandable on the surface — after all, if you had several thousand dollars to retain an attorney to defend the lawsuit, you probably wouldn’t owe the debt in the first place — but a judgment is a bad outcome for most people. In Texas, judgment creditors can get a lien against all real property in the county in which the judgment is abstracted. Also, while wages generally cannot be garnished, bank accounts can be garnished with a court order. If you plan on buying or selling real estate, or having a regular banking experience, having an aggressive judgment creditor is a substantial problem.
The larger issue is also, in many cases, a failure to recognize or appreciate the significance of the judgment and other court orders. Judges routinely hold parties in contempt for violation of court orders, and the punishment for disobedience can include fines, attorney’s fees, and even jail time depending on the court and nature of the disobedience. Pretending that the court case does not exist or that the court lacks authority in your case is a guarantee of future headaches and legal expenses.
You need a lawyer in these situations to advise you on the proper course of action to deal with your creditors and avoid judgments and other court orders that can make your life miserable. Don’t bury your head in the sand — hire a professional. Your creditors have attorneys, and you need one too.