The $33,000 Divorce Mistake
I received a call the other day from a woman who was calling on behalf of her boyfriend (very common!)
who said that her boyfriend was divorced about 6 years ago after a marriage of 5 years. He didn’t hire a lawyer and was too busy to go to court that day and just assumed the court would make sure that what was done was fair.
That was a mistake, technically it was a $33,000 mistake. You see what happened was what is called a default judgment, where the Court orders that the side that appears pretty much get everything they asked for and in this case the wife asked for him to pay all the debts and additional costs associated with a house that had been foreclosed on. Then 6 years later he tried to buy a truck and found that his credit score was terribly low due, mainly, to a judgment for $33,000. To make matters worse he was notified that his paycheck would be garnished by a few hundred dollars each time to pay this debt off.
The really bad news? There is nothing that I could do to help him. You generally can’t go and reopen a judgment years afterwards and especially because “you were too busy to go to court” our system just doesn’t work that way.
Although I’ve written many, many topics on how to avoid this I still get a call a week about how to fix this type of problem and while sometimes it can be done it always costs more and the result is usually not as good. Thus, my free legal advice of the day: Show up at court.