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Cognovit Note

debtor judgment creditor court

An extraordinary document by which a debtor authorizes his or her creditor's attorney to enter a confession in court that allows judgment against the debtor.

A creditor may ask the borrower to sign a cognovit note when credit is extended. If the debtor falls into arrears the creditor can obtain a judgment against the person without notification to the debtor. There is usually little the debtor can do to attack the judgment when it is discovered. The Supreme Court has held that cognovit notes are not necessarily illegal but most states have outlawed their use in consumer transactions.

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