There is a Judgment For Eviction (or Default) already entered against me. What do I do?


By: Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA)

My landlord filed an eviction case against me and I didn’t file an answer or respond before the court entered a judgment against me. What do I do?
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If there's a judgment of eviction against you in Justice Court, you only have 30 days from the date the judgment was signed by the judge to seek relief from judgment. This may be called a judgment for possession or a default judgment. You can file a Motion with the Court to ask the Court to undo the judgment because of a mistake, inadvertence (lack of attention), surprise, or excusable neglect. The judge is required to set a hearing after you file your Motion. At the hearing, you testify in detail about the reasons the court judgment against you should be set aside so that you can have the opportunity to raise your defenses to the eviction.

For example, you can file a Motion for Relief from Judgment if there's a default judgment against you and you have a good reason for:

  • not filing your written answer with the Court after you got served; or
  • not showing up at trial.

IMPORTANT: You may need to file your Motion well before the 30-day deadline. If the Judge in the judgment orders you out of your rental by a certain date and you want to ask for more time, then it's best to file your Motion before the date you're ordered out, and not wait the full 30 days.

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