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Can I be garnished 10 years after there is a judgment against me that I didn't know about?

Prineville, OR |

In 03 i co-signed for a loan for a vehicle for my husband at the time. He then went to prison for 16 years for 11 counts of sexual abuse on my 9 year old daughter. i divorced him and returned the vehicle the month after we assumed the loan. now 10 years later i receive a garnishment for almost 9,000. the original debt was 1,800, the rest is interest. the judgement for garnishment was done in 2003. It is 10 years later and didn't even know it existed.

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Attorney answers 2


I'm sorry for your situation; I am sure it is very frustrating to have this pop up from the past.

The legal answer is that an OR judgment can be good for up to 20 years, and they can garnish you at as long as the judgment is active and says you owe creditor money.

Is the judgment they have against you valid? To answer that question you will have to seek a consultation with a local consumer law attorney. There may be ways to attack the judgment but at this late date the odds are not good, in my experience.

If you other debts burdening you, consider bankruptcy options.

Best of luck,
Tim L Eblen


If there is a Judgment against you (as opposed to just against your ex-husband), it means that someone told the court that they served you a copy of the Summons and Complaint back when they filed the lawsuit. It may be worth your effort to look up the court file and see the details - they will have told the court exactly what date, time, and place they served those documents and, if not upon you directly, who it was they gave them to. IF they delivered them to the wrong address, for example, or other excusable reason for your not responding at the time, you may be able to get the court to set aside the judgment. Nevertheless, as Mr. Eblen said, the odds are not in your favor. The other outside chance is that a Judgment in Oregon is good for 10 years initially. It can be renewed once for another 10 years - but only by the plaintiff going back to the court after at least 9 1/2 years but before the ten years are up. Ten years and one day - too bad, Judgment has expired and there is no way of bringing it back. So...if they are still garnishing based upon a Judgment that has perhaps expired, you should be able to get any money they garnished back and not have to worry about future Judgments. If, however, they properly renewed the Judgment or if they garnished prior to the initial 10 years being up, there is little else you can do.

A single interview with a debt collection or consumer law attorney should not be terribly expensive and might provide you some peace of mind that all possible avenues of overturning the Judgment have been explored.

Nothing contained herein should be considered as legal advice for any specific situation and nothing herein is intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. Every case is very "fact-specific" and persons wishing legal advice on a specific matter should contact me or another attorney for an appointment to review their particular circumstances and to create a lawyer-client relationship. Gregory L. Abbott, Attorney at Law, 6635 North Baltimore, Suite 254, Portland, Oregon 97203. Tel: 503-283-4568; Fax: 503-283-4586; Email: Specializing in Consumer and Small Business Law.

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