If you have a judgment on your credit report, it is a very serious item. This item on your credit report is sure to significantly reduce your credit score. The only item that is worse for your credit is a bankruptcy.
What Is A Judgment?
A judgment is when you have been sued for repayment of an alleged debt. Typically debt collection agencies or attorneys on their behalf will file a civil lawsuit against you for repayment of the debt. You will be notified of your court date.
It is very important that you show up to defend yourself, even if you do not have a valid defense. If you fail to appear on your court date the judge will be forced to find in favor of the plaintiff (collection agency). And find you responsible for repayment of the debt.
This will result in a default judgment against you. To clarify, the judge will have to find you legally responsible by default because you did not appear on your court date.
How Long Will A Judgment Remain On Your Credit Report?
Paid judgments will be on your credit report for seven years from the date of payment. Unpaid judgments can remain on your credit report for as long as 12 to 20 years. Additionally with unpaid judgments, they can be renewed. This would result in a longer window that you will have a judgment on your credit report.
How To Remove A Judgment On Your Credit Report
This is going to be very difficult if you are attempting to resolve this issue yourself. We would encourage you to speak with a professional credit repair attorney to assist you. You can negotiate a payment to satisfy the judgment.
However, if you choose to just pay a judgment the best case scenario is the judgment on your credit report, will be changed to a paid judgment. This will still significantly damage your credit rating!
Did you know judgments are public records? In other words, it is not a lender or debt collector that has reported a judgment against you. Only a court of law can report this information to the credit bureaus. There are rumors that the credit bureaus will not check public records to verify judgments against you.
It is important that you give your full attention to this issue or pending court case. If you have a judgment it can result in your wages being garnished, liens being placed against you or your property, and you can even have assets frozen and seized for repayment.
3 Ways To Remove Judgments On Your Credit Report
1. Credit Bureau Dispute
One of the most effective ways to remove a judgment on your credit report, is to file a dispute with all 3 of the major credit bureaus. When the credit bureaus investigate your credit dispute they are going to contact the court and ask for verification of the judgment.
A clerk at the courthouse is going to be required to go and check the public records to verify your judgment for the credit bureaus investigation. Often court clerks are overworked and underpaid.
This frequently results in your judgment not being verified with a credit bureau investigation. If this happens, then the judgment must be removed from your credit report according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
2. Procedural Errors
You can frequently pursue procedural errors that the debt collector committed when they obtained a judgment against you. If you can show a procedural error, it is common for courts to dismiss your judgment.
Experts estimate that approximately 75% of all court judgments are awarded in error. This means you have a very good chance of getting the court to throw out a judgment against you. We would strongly encourage you to seek out professional credit repair help to assist you with removing a judgment on your credit report.
3. Motion To Vacate A Judgment
There are a few reasons you can request the court to vacate a judgment. For example:
- If you did not own the alleged debt
- You were not properly notified of the debt, so you could request debt validation
- If you were not given the necessary information informing you of your court date
- Or you have a good reason for not showing up to defend yourself such as a doctors appointment
If you file for a motion to vacate a judgment with the court. You will be required to pay some court filing fees. This will provide you another court appearance, where you can appear along with the debt collector to have your case retried.
What If It’s Not Your Debt
Unfortunately, many consumers have discovered credit report judgments for debt collection accounts that were not actually their debt. In other words, the collection agency sued the wrong person. However that person was still found responsible, despite having never owned the debt. This is an excellent reason to request that a judgment be vacated.
Some Debt Collectors Are Lawsuit Happy
Yes, it’s true. Some collection agencies will take full advantage of their ability to file a lawsuit and attempt to get a judgment against you! The possibility of a bill collector pursuing a judgment will depend upon the size of your alleged debt. Generally speaking the larger your debt is, the more likely the collection agency is to pursue a lawsuit for repayment.
The statute of limitations should also be checked before you do anything. Many debt accounts are your legal responsibility for seven years. This time limit will vary depending upon what state you live in. If you have a collection agency pursuing a judgment against you, please check the dates of your debt with the original lender.
The statute of limitations begins from your first date of delinquency. For example, with a defaulted credit card account the very first month you miss a payment is when the statute of limitations begins. If you can avoid getting a judgment on your credit report, please do everything in your power to do so.
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