Default Judgment means a court judgment was granted against you, in your absence. Sometimes, there is a judgment against you that you don’t know about until after the fact. You can possibly still undo such a judgment. If the judgment was obtained wrongfully by not properly serving you with the court documents, and you can prove it, it will be voided. If it was obtained because you somehow missed the trial date, then you may be able to reverse the judgment if you can prove that you didn’t intentionally ignore the court proceeding.
- Motion to Set Aside Judgment
- Motion for New Trial
- Motion to Strike the Service of Process (if applicable)
- Bill of Review (if too much time has passed)
- Objection to Garnishment (if applicable)
Each motion listed above has specific facts that must be pleaded inside the document. Be sure to at least consult a trial lawyer before filing anything. New trial may be granted only within a certain number of days from the time of the judgment – usually maximum of 75 days in Texas. Don’t delay. Your lawyer will calculate the time frame for you. If you are already outside the applicable appeal time frame, then the Bill of Review will be used instead.
The court will make a decision on the motion(s), or bill of review, following a hearing. At the hearing, you will give testimony and may be asked questions by the opposing side and/or the judge. The other side will also give testimony as to what happened. If the court agrees with you, then that Judgment will be set aside and you will have a new trial hearing. If the service of process was struck as well, then the opposing side has to serve you properly first, before going to trial. If there was a garnishment in process such as a frozen bank account, that will be released if the underlying judgment is voided or reversed.
As always, it is best not to evade service because that could lead to an unfavorable default judgment against you and not all judgments can be undone.