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If you fail to pay your credit cards, medical bills,  have a foreclosure, or car repossession they can sue you for the balance owed.   This will normally result in a judgment against you.  Judgments are then recorded with the Clerk of Court in the county in which they were an issue.

What you need to know.

How long is the judgment good for?

Lien of Judgment under FSA §55.081 is good for 20 years.

Actions on non-recorded judgments under  FSA §95.11(2)(a) are good for 5 years.

Mechanic Lien judgments under FSA §95.11(5)(b)  are good for 1 year.

Judgments of Foreclosure where a deficiency is reserved on must have the action on the deficiency filed within  1 year from the foreclosure judgment.  FSA §95.11(2)(c)

Many judgments can be re-recorded for an additional 10 years.

The Judgment will appear on your credit report.

Once a judgment is filed against you it will show under public records on your credit report. This is information that is pulled by the credit bureaus through various services.  The majority of unsatisfied judgments will sit on your credit report for 7-10 years from the date the judgment is filed by the court.  This will have a major derogatory impact on your credit score.

If the judgment is re-recorded before the 7 year period runs, it can appear for an additional 7-10 years on your credit report from the new recording date.

Satisfied Judgments

If you pay a judgment you will receive a notice of Satisfaction from the lender. You need to record this with the Clerk of Court. Some lenders will record these, but many will not.  Once the Satisfaction is recorded with the Clerk of Court the next time the credit bureaus pull your public records they will be notified of the update.  You can also send a letter of dispute on your credit report with a copy of the recorded satisfaction.   This will not result in the removal of the judgment from your credit report, but you can have it noted in consumer comments.

Vacated Judgments

Vacated judgments can be removed from your credit report. Send a copy of the order Vacating the judgment to the credit bureau.

Some mortgage lenders will require judgments to be paid off in order to close on a mortgage depending on your credit.

Credit reports contain inaccurate or missing information about 1/4 of the time. You should check your credit report for each agency on a yearly and follow up on anything that needs to be disputed.  You can pull a free credit report here: It is best to only pull one report every 4 months so you have a constant snapshot, unless you find an error.

Judgments and Bankruptcy

The underlying debt if disclosed to your attorney, or on your credit report, will be included in your bankruptcy. This means you will no longer be liable under the judgment once your bankruptcy is discharged.  However, this does not remove the judgment lien. Additional action, which incurs additional attorney fees in needed.

This action is a Motion To Avoid A Judicial Lien, the typical charge is $400.00 and it is filed during your bankruptcy case.  The Order is then filed and recorded in your State Court Action, thereby releasing the lien.  These judgments can then be removed from your credit report.

Related Articles:

Unpaid Debt and the Statute of Limitations

Debt Collection Calls

Debt Collector’s Calling?

Time Barred Debt in Chapter 13


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