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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 27636
Experience:  Lawyer
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There was a hearing small debt $300 on November 2, 2015. I

Customer Question

There was a hearing for a small debt $300 on November 2, 2015 . I was not present. If a judgment was entered in General District Court, Fairfax, I would like to have it removed. This is a debt related to a divorce. I have not been able to determine whether
the debt is valid and if so, it is owed by me or my ex. What steps can I take to remove the judgment if one was entered? Can I appeal and have it vacated? Is there a deadline to do so? At this point, I am just tired. I would rather pay the amount and have
it removed so that it does not cause me credit problems. How is the best way to do so? Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

If you're willing to pay the debt, that is the fastest and easiest way to resolve the situation. The problem is, Virginia law only allows a default judgment to be set aside in specific circumstances, such as if you are a service member who was unable to attend court, or if the judgment is void. If you were told about the case and decided not to appear at the hearing, then you legally forfeited the right to defend the debt. The way to find out if a debt is valid when someone sues you is to go to court and make them prove it to the judge (and to you). There is unfortunately no ability to appeal a default judgment - the way to have one removed is to file a Motion to Vacate (linked below). But again, that's only permitted in very specific situations that do not appear to apply based on what you've said.

Another grounds for removing a default judgment is what's called "accord and satisfaction." That's the legal term for a settlement. So, if you can pay the judgment or reach an agreement with the company, you can file this form and have the judgment removed.

http://www.courts.state.va.us/forms/district/dc434.pdf

I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand. Please rate my answer positively to ensure I get credit for the time I spend helping. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
I was unable to attend court. I was not in the state.
I would like to vacate the default judgment.
I see the form you have listed.
I would like to file. How much time do I have to file? It was entered on November 2.
What do I need to do to file? Will there be a hearing in General Court or Circuit?
I would like to talk with you as soon as possible about how to file.
This can I call you. Are you in Virginia?
Thanks
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry, but I'm not able to speak to customers on the phone.

When a person is out of state due to being in the military, they can file at any time after they return to remove the default, because in that scenario, the judgement never should've been entered. Again, if you were aware of the hearing and simply did not attend or seek to reschedule it, and you weren't in the military, the judgment will probably not be removed. The way to make the request is to file the form I provided above.

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