Procedure for Moving to Vacate a Default Judgment

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motion to vacate

Getting Past Default Judgments and Defending Yourself from Debt

What is a default judgment and what should you do if a debt collector gets one against you? This video begins to answer those questions.

When a debt collector brings a suit, and a process server hands it to you or a “responsible” member of your household, you have been served and must take actions to defend yourself in court. If you don’t respond appropriately (by answer or motion to dismiss, for example – NOT by sending a request for verification!!), the debt collector will probably get a default judgment.

Most debt cases – perhaps as many as 80% – end in default judgments. Many people who ignore the suit then think the debt case had just, somehow, “gone away” are surprised to learn that the debt collector got a judgment and is now looking to garnish wages. And the way you find that out is not at all pleasant, because it generally happens after the debt collector has found where you work or bank and seized assets or started garnishing your wages. This massively disrupts most debtors’ budgets and puts them way behind.

It does happen, all too often, that defendants are NOT served, but the process server says they were. Then, the way these people find out they’ve been sued is that they get a notice of garnishment (somebody taking their bank account or part of their wages).

They Got a Default Judgment, Now What?

Regardless of how it came about, the first step in stopping the garnishment and fighting the debt lawsuit is to get the judgment against you vacated. And in order to do this, you must file a “Motion to Vacate.”

This video talks about that process and how you would go about vacating the judgment against you, stopping the garnishment (or not, if you’ve learned of the judgment in some other way).

This is a companion to the video, “Procedure for Moving to Vacate Default Judgments.” This video explains why you should try to vacate (remove) a default judgment against you and generally how to go about doing it. The second video goes into a little more detail on that and tells you specifically what documents you will  need to file and what they should contain. If you have defaulted on a debt suit and want to try to reopen it (to prevent collection), check out our product: Motion to Vacate Pack.

For much more help, you should consider joining. You can find out about that by clicking here or on “About Membership” in the menu above. If you know what you want, just click here.


beat the debt collectors

Defending Yourself when Sued for Debt

What do you do if you’re sued for debt?

Hiring a lawyer sometimes costs more than just giving up, but how can you know the person suing you has a right to do it? And if they don’t, you might have to pay twice.

This video discusses your options and shows you how you can defend yourself and avoid paying unless you absolutely have to. It isn’t “wrong” to protect yourself. In fact, it’s not good if you don’t. The system usually works if you stand up for yourself, but you will lose for sure if you do not. And one thing is for sure: if you don’t protect yourself, no one else will.

The debt collectors want your money, and there isn’t much they won’t do to get it. Don’t let them.

Defending Yourself and Protecting What’s Yours

Why You Will (Probably) Win if you Defend Yourself

A lot of people worry about defending themselves from the debt collector. They’re afraid they’ll have to talk in court and won’t say the right thing, they’re worried they’ll be embarrassed, or they’re worried that the debt collector will have what it needs, and they’ll end up paying more. Actually, none of these things are likely.

Talking in Court

Well, you very well may need to talk in court, at least some, but not as much as you think, and it isn’t as hard as you may imagine either. How can I say that? Because debt law, unlike most other types of law, does not typically involve many, or even any, witnesses. You won’t be called on to make fabulous arguments, either, or go through complicated and amazing thought processes. Most debt cases boil down to just a few issues with only a few arguments. You can make those arguments – helping you do that is why we’re here. Then once that’s done, most of the rest is actually pretty easy and obvious. For a much more detailed discussion of these things, click on the Fast Track link below. That does show you how you can join us, but before that it will tell you much about the process of debt collection (and of course clicking on the article certainly does not obligate you in any way – we’ll never know you did).

You Won’t be Embarrassed

Debt defense is not embarrassing. Again, because the issues are so limited, there won’t be embarrassing questions about your spending habits or whether you owe anybody else money, or anything like that. The questions will be limited almost completely to whether they own the debt and whether the evidence they’re trying to use is “admissible” (allowed in the case). There aren’t many arguments to be made, and we show people how to make them.

Collectors Rarely Have What they Need

Debt collectors rarely DO have the evidence they need in a form that is legitimate, and you can usually keep them from getting it “into evidence.” That means you should win the case. If you don’t, though, the fact that you defended yourself will almost certainly not affect what you owe. That’s because the debt collectors normally ask for attorney’s fees – if they’re going to – in the petition. They have a specific amount in mind, and they plan to try to get that whether or not you defend yourself. So you have nothing to lose by trying to defend yourself in that situation. If you lose, you’ll just pay what you would have if you hadn’t defended, but if you win – as you should – you won’t pay anything at all.

Some Good News

Our mission is to protect people from the debt collection process. If you are being sued by debt collectors, or if you are being harassed for money, you need to take action to defend what’s yours. For much more information on defending yourself, go to Fast Track to Debt Defense.

Getting control sometimes is easy

Is Defending Yourself From the Debt Collectors Hard?

How hard is it to defend yourself from the debt collectors? The difficulty is mostly psychological. It can be scary at first, but if you do the things that need to be done one at a time, it isn’t that hard. And you have a great chance to win.


It isn’t that difficult to defend yourself from the debt collectors. It just requires that you do some things that take you out of your comfort zone – more a question of attitude than anything else. The work is really just a series of steps. Each one involves a manageable amount of learning and doing, and the more you do the better you get at doing it.

It will take some work, of course, and sometimes it may be frustrating, but you can do it, and the rewards can really be great. You will be able to do something it would cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars to get someone else to do for you, and you’ll know they’ll never be able to push you around again.

Our mission is to protect people from the debt collection process. If you are being sued by debt collectors, or if you are being harassed for money, you need to take action to defend what’s yours. For much more information on defending yourself, go to Fast Track to Debt Defense.

Helping Pro Se Debt Defendants – Letter to new visitors

If you’re a pro se debt defendant or thinking about doing that, welcome to our site.

If you are already representing yourself in a debt lawsuit – or if you think you might want to – you will find the help you need here. In addition, you will find hope and encouragement to take the steps you need to take to protect your rights.

It may seem like the deck is stacked against you, but you have an excellent chance to win and get out of this in good shape. That’s because of the way the system is designed – the debt collectors run a factory, and that leaves you plenty of opportunities to protect yourself. We tell you why, below.


As you look at this site, you will probably notice that we spend a lot of time trying to persuade people they can defend themselves from debt collection law suits. The main challenge in self-representation is often just being able to make yourself take the next step. It can seem hopeless or hopelessly complicated, so taking any action can require a leap of faith. We want to help you with that, because most people who represent themselves with our help actually do win.


Of course it takes more than encouragement. You have to do some right things, but debt law is not all that difficult to understand. With some basic help you will have an advantage in defending your rights.

With a little courage, and help from this site, you will be able to defend yourself competently. Enough to make them take notice. Enough to cost them money. And, often, more than enough to win or make them go away and leave you alone.

You’ll learn something pretty great about yourself on the way. You have power, and you can defend yourself from people who are trying to take things away from you.

sometimes good things come from bad

Good can come of bad

About the Debt Industry

These are the plain facts as far as we know them.

No one really knows exactly how many debt lawsuits are filed each year. The numbers are not kept in any central location. Our guess is that the number is at least a million per year.

No one really knows exactly how many of these suits are won by default, or even how many actually get served on the defendants. And of those that do get served and defended, no one actually knows how many are won by defendants. The number that lawyers who defend many of these cases usually use is that between 80 and 90 percent of the cases that get served are won by the debt collectors by default. We would estimate from our own experience and observation that around 90-95 percent of the cases are disposed of without a defense –i.e., that defendants either default or settle on the day of court by agreeing to pay everything claimed in the lawsuit.

If that seems like a big number, it is. In most kinds of law the default and give-up rate is much, much smaller. But this will work out to your advantage if you will actually fight.

Of the lawsuits that are defended, no one really knows how many are won by the defendants or the debt collectors, or what the terms of any settlements actually are (nationally). From our experience and research, we would estimate that at least 80 percent of cases that are defended with any significant effort and knowledge are “won” by defendants. We consider a settlement for a small fraction of the amount sought a victory for the defendant.

Of the lawsuits defended pro se by users of YourLegalLegUp, most result in dismissal without payment, and almost all the rest result in settlement for what you might call a “token amount.” It would appear that members of Your Legal Leg Up do much better than those represented  by lawyers who do not specialize in debt defense.

A Caution: Not every customer has told me the outcome of his or her case.

Debt defense help

You are not alone

Why It Works This Way

The reason it works this way is not magic. It’s simply that debt collectors generally do not have the materials they need to win their lawsuit when they file suit against you.

Because they win most of their cases without a fight, it isn’t worth the expense of getting lawsuit materials before they need them, and the people who sold them the debt do not want to be troubled by it any more. The original creditors actually resist giving the debt collectors the documents they would need to beat you and sometimes destroy the records or make the debt collector promise not to seek them. In other words, the debt industry works by getting people to give up. If you fight – and keep fighting for a while – they may well lose interest or simply lack what it takes to beat you in court.

Lawyers who specialize in debt defense know that debt collectors do not have the materials they need to win and have to spend money to get them. These lawyers know how to expose the weaknesses of the debt collectors’ cases and force the debt collectors to spend money trying to get the evidence they need and defending against counterclaims and motions. The debt collectors know these lawyers and what they can do and choose not to fight most of the time.

Lawyers who do not specialize in debt defense often suggest you settle the case right away. They do not know what debt collectors have or need and find it expensive to try to defend the cases. They often tell their clients that it will cost more to defend than is in dispute in the case. And the debt collectors know these lawyers are not familiar with the debt collection business and take advantage of them.

Pro se defendants who get YourLegalLegUp materials know what the lawyers who specialize know, but they are inexperienced in the courtroom and have to get used to the way courts work.

The lawyers for the debt collectors do not know what the pro se defendants know (at first) and (at first) do not expect or believe that the pro se defendants will continue to fight. As they do continue to fight, however, the pro se defendants become more experienced and comfortable in the courtroom, and the debt collectors become more aware of what the defendants know. They become willing to settle on much better terms because they can see that continuing to litigate will lose them money. As far as I can tell, the longer the pro se defendant is willing to keep fighting, the better the terms get, and often the debt collectors drop the case because they do not want to lose money.

Employees: Know Your Rights

There are a plethora of labor rights which afford employees the privileges, most conveniently omitted from employee handbooks. Know your rights to comprehend when you are being manipulated. Here are the top 10 rights you have as an employee:


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