Vacating a Default Judgment in Texas

A default judgment occurs when you fail to file an answer to a lawsuit.  To Vacate a default judgment, the age of the judgment is typically the most important factor.

Recent Judgments

In Texas, a motion for new trial is the best way to Vacate a  Default Judgment in Texas.  The motion must be filed within a short period of time.  If your judgment was in “Justice” Court then you only have 14 days to file the motion.  If the judgment was in “County” or “District” Court then you have 30 days to file the motion for new trial.

If you simply did not answer the lawsuit, then a motion for new trial should be filed.  Even if you made a mistake in not answering, the Court should vacate the judgment.  However, if you knew of the answer deadline, and simply ignored the situation, the Court may not vacate the judgment.  The rules allow for “mistakes” but they are more critical if the situation was known but no action was taken.

Older Judgments

Many people find out about judgments years later.  In these situations, a Bill of Review could be filed within 4 years of the date of the judgment.  Typically, a Bill of Review requires significant proof that you were not served with the lawsuit.  This is much more difficult to win than a motion for new trial.

Good evidence that you were not served would be proof that you did not live at the residence at the time of service or proof that you were out of town.  A Bill of Review is essentially a new lawsuit to attack the judgment.

If you have just learned about a judgment against you, contact us today.