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Just Discovered Default Judgment Against Me but I was Never Served


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California: In 2002 I became unemployed and defaulted on my credit cards. Once I changed industries and was employed again and back on my feet in 2004, I was able to settle with the collection companies on all cards but one that would not negotiate down the debt of $9900.

Fast forward to today and I recently received an Abstract Judgment notice from the county recorder for a judgment of $22,500 against me. I requested the court docs relating to the judgment and it turns out that in 2006, there was a default judgment against me for the original $9900 debt which has now grown with interest to $22,500. For some reason, there is still no record of the default judgment on my credit report, possibly because there is a misspelling of my first name in the judgment.

The issue is that I was never served. The docs show me that service was made in 2006 to an address which I had moved from in 2004. Someone named as "Co-Occupant" with a name I do not recognize is listed as the person served, likely just the person that moved into the apartment after I moved out. I do have a copy of the lease of my new home that I moved into in 2004 after leaving the address where service was done, showing that I was no longer a resident at the address of service in 2006. So basically I wasn't aware of the default judgment for over a decade and that's an issue I now need to deal with.

I will be hiring an attorney, but would appreciate any feedback anyone has on what I'm facing here and what type of attorney I should hire. I have only contacted the county recorder for records so far and I have not contacted the collection agency as of yet.... Thank you so much in advance!

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