Just when you thought that old debt was dead, old Court Judgments can come back to haunt you! Now that Courts in Illinois are up and running, debt collectors are looking for opportunities to get some “found money” from debts that are very old. The debts are very old, but the creditor would have obtained a Judgment many years ago. Lately, many clients have come to see me with these “Zombies” of debts that have come alive!
This old debt may even drop off someone’s credit report. When people think of their debt, they typically figure that if they don’t see it on their credit report, they don’t owe it. “Great, I outlived my debt and got away with it!” Nothing could be further from the truth! The credit report is like a newspaper—just because it wasn’t reported there does not mean that the debt isn’t outstanding.
But, why would you care if the debt is so old and it doesn’t show up on your credit report? Because the debt can lie dormant and then “come alive” when the creditor files a Motion to Revive Judgment. Illinois law allows creditors to revive a Judgment for consumer debt, within 10 years, and for other debts, within 20 years! (735 ILCS 5/2-1602).
What about the Statute of Limitations? Isn’t there a limit on how long a creditor can sue a person for a debt? Yes, in Illinois it is 10 years on written agreements (such as credit card debt). Most creditors get the original judgment within that time period. The Judgments that are revived are for old court judgments that went uncollected. But, reviving the judgment extends the collection period another 10 years!
So that debt you forgot about is back, and the creditor can add interest and attorneys’ fees. That debt is alive, well, and much larger. The creditor will File the Motion to Revive the Judgment, and send a copy to you. The next step is to get a court order to garnish your wages and take money out of your paycheck every payday!
There are ways to defend these debts, or to use the US Bankruptcy Code to take care of the debt, and it’s important to review any documents you get about old debt with an attorney! You don’t want to be caught trying to deal with Zombies!
Call or email us with questions! We are happy to help!