If you have a default judgment entered against you and do not file a motion to vacate, it will not go away. The plaintiff can enforce the judgment 30 days after the default judgment.
Enforcing a judgment depends on the type of case. For example: If the judgment was for money, the plaintiff can file court papers to collect it.
A judgment for eviction means the plaintiff can get the sheriff to forcibly remove a tenant. Be sure to read the judgment against you to know what the plaintiff can do to enforce the judgment.
When can a motion to vacate a default judgment not be filed?
Motions to vacate are only used in cases where there has been a default judgment. You cannot file a motion to vacate if:
- You defended the allegations against you, but you lost at trial or on motion for summary judgment
- You agreed to settle your case, but are now unhappy with the result
If you lose the case, you will need to file an appeal, not a motion to vacate.
For an appeal you may want to consult an attorney. If you decide to appeal, you need to act quickly. You usually have a month or less to appeal a judgment. Also, some settlement agreements contain language that may waive your right to appeal the judgment.
Costs to file a motion to vacate a default judgement
To find out the exact cost in your county, you will need to contact your circuit clerk. A list of circuit clerks can be found at the Illinois Courts' website.
If you cannot afford the costs of filing your papers you may be able to have the costs waived.
Vacating a default judgment after the 30 day time frame
You can vacate a default judgment after the 30 day timeframe has expired. There is a separate procedure in Illinois to vacate a judgment that is less than two years old. It is also possible, although far less likely, to vacate a judgment that is more than two years old. In either case, this procedure can be highly technical and you will want to consult an attorney.
If you can't afford to hire an attorney, you may be eligible for free legal assistance.
Updated: January 2017