If you do not dispute the amount of the plaintiff's claim but you want to make payments in installments rather than all at once, your best bet is to show up on the day your case is scheduled and explain your situation to the judge. Tell the judge how much you can afford to pay each month. The judge has the discretion to allow you to pay the judgment in installments.
Explain why it would be difficult or impossible to pay any judgment all at once. For example, if you are on a fixed income, have recently been unemployed and have a lot of debts, or have a low or moderate income and a large family, just state these facts–there is no need to tell a long sob story. (See Chapter 23 for more on paying a judgment in installments.)