How do I get a judgment removed from my credit report?
Creditors who do not receive payment may file a lawsuit against debtors in court. If the court rules in favor of the creditor, the court will issue a judgment. Legal debt repayment options allowed will vary based on state law and the type of debt owed. Review your state laws for more information.
Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “If I have a judgment on my credit report how can I get it removed? If I cannot get it removed how long will it stay on the report and is it automatically removed if I satisfy the judgment?”
How to Remove Judgments from your credit report
- Time limit for reporting the judgment expires.
Generally speaking, a judgment will remain on a debtor’s credit report for seven years from the date the judgment was filed or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer. If you have satisfied judgments which expire or unsatisfied judgments (which expire and the creditor does not revive or re-file), the judgment could be deleted from your credit report after 7 years or longer (depending on the statute of limitations for collections in your state).
Keep in mind, however, the time limit for a creditor to re-file the debt varies by state. In fact, some states, like Rhode Island, allow judgments to remain enforceable up to 20 years from the date the judgment was entered or filed with the court. This will, however, require creditors to go to court a second time and renew the judgment prior to the end of the enforcement period.
If creditors choose to re-file the judgment, in some cases, the judgment could continue to be enforced but no longer appear on your credit report.
- The judgment is vacated by the court.
A second method to remove a judgment from your credit report (prior to seven years) is to have the judgment vacated, which refers to judgment which has been rendered null by the courts. A vacated judgment differs from a satisfied judgment. A satisfied judgment has been paid; a vacated judgment has been determined non-existent.
Vacated judgments can be removed from credit reports generally by disputing the item with the credit bureau and sending them a copy of the “order to set aside” the judgment. Not all credit agencies are equally responsive. In fact, you may have to contact the credit bureaus several times to ensure this action is taken.
- Judgments and filing bankruptcy
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy can discharge many but not all types of judgments, making them uncollectable, and unenforceable. Judgments may, however, remain on the bankruptcy filer’s credit reports. If your judgment lingers on your credit report you can contact the credit reporting agency and asked to have it removed.
If all else fails you can also contact a lawyer. Apparently there are lawyers who love haggling with creditors and credit bureaus and can help you remove negative information from public records as well as your credit reports.
What happens to a satisfied judgment?
After the judgment has been paid a satisfaction of judgment should be filed with the court. To update your credit report you can send notice of satisfaction of judgment to the credit reporting agencies.
According to Experian, the judgments are a matter of public record, and they will remain on your report for seven years from the date the judgment was filed. “Once the judgment is satisfied, the status will be updated on your report to show that it has been satisfied or settled, but it will not be deleted immediately.”
Some debtors, however, report that after they satisfied their judgment they were able to contact the creditor’s attorney and get them to file a motion to vacate or dismiss the claim. In some cases, the judge was willing to grant the dismissal. If the judgment, which in this case is satisfied, is vacated by the court, you may be able to contact the credit agency and have it removed from your credit report. Several users in legal forums described success with this strategy so it may be worth investigating.
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A judgment can be enforced but you will have to take the initiative and the proper legal steps.
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