Have you ever tried to remove a credit report judgment?
Why? You might ask, would you need to remove a credit report judgment in the first place?
Well, sometimes, you might run into financial trouble and default on a loan.
After several months of missing payments on the loan, the creditor might try other options to get you to pay back the debt.
One such option might sue you to court and getting a “judgment” ruled against you.
This judgment is a court injunction asking you to pay the debt.
As soon as a judgment is filed against you, it immediately shows up in your credit report where it can stay there for up to 7 years while significantly reducing your credit score.
Now, seeing the damage that a judgment can do to your credit score, it is very important that you learn how to remove a credit report judgment from your credit file and how to avoid getting a judgment in your credit report again.
To fully understand how to remove a credit report judgment from your credit report, we’ll be looking at the following;
- What is a judgment?
- Why remove a judgment?
- How do you remove a judgment?
- What if you can’t remove a judgment?
What Is A Credit Report Judgment?
A credit report judgment is a civil judgment issued by a court asking you to pay a creditor you owe.
Some credit report judgments can remain on your credit report for up to 7 – 10 years after the judgment is issued.
If you want to maintain a good credit score, then you must remove a credit report judgment from your credit file.
Different Types Of Judgments Include:
A default judgment is issued against you when you have failed to take some kind of action. This might be your refusing to respond to a notice or summons, or refusing to show up in court.
When the notice period has passed or you refuse to show up in court, the judge then rules in favor of the other party by “default” meaning your failure to take action or show up in court means victory for the other party.
Once a default judgment is filed, you can still appeal the judgment and have it “vacated” or “set aside” if you meet the right conditions. This is one way to remove a credit report judgment from your credit file.
A vacated judgment is a judgment that has been appealed after it was issued. The court might dismiss the judgment after your appeal for several reasons.
A vacated judgment differs from a satisfied judgment because it is as if the judgment never happened.
Now, while the credit bureaus rarely like removing vacated judgments from your credit report, they must do so as soon as you provide a court order interesting them to do so.
This is the surest way to remove a credit report judgment from your credit files.
This is the second-best option you can get if you cannot remove a credit report judgment.
A satisfied judgment is a debt judgment that you have paid back, either in full or negotiated a settlement fee.
As soon as you settle the debt with the creditor, the status of the judgment should be changed to satisfied.
Now, while you might not remove a credit report judgment that has been satisfied, you can lessen the impact of the judgment on your credit report.
An unsatisfied judgment is the exact opposite of a “satisfied” judgment, meaning that the debt is still unpaid. Now, while civil judgments showing up in your credit report are bad enough, an unsatisfied judgment is the worst type of judgment to appear in your credit file.
Unsatisfied judgments tell potential lenders that you still have unpaid loans, and this shows a heavy risk to potential lenders.
When looking to remove a credit report judgment, make “unsatisfied” judgments your top priority, even if that means that you can only change their status to “Satisfied”.
Sometimes, you might negotiate a time frame to pay back the loan. If you cannot settle the debt within the agreed timeframe, then the court can go ahead and re-file the judgment against you.
Plus, a creditor can have a judgment refiled against you before the expiry of the 7 years from the official filing date.
If this happens, it means the judgment would remain on your report for another 7 years.
It is necessary to remove a credit report judgment by paying your bills so the judgment won’t be refiled against you.
Why You Should Remove A Judgment
Getting a court or credit bureau to remove a credit report judgment comes with its own set of challenges, and sometimes, you might come out unsuccessful even after putting in the time and the labor.
Now, before you learn how to remove a credit report judgment, it is useful to understand the dangers of failing to remove a credit report judgment from your account.
Here are some dangers of failing to remove a credit report judgment on your credit file:
Reduces Your Credit Score Significantly
Some credit report judgments are said to reduce your credit score by a staggering 150 points. Plus, it is said that the higher your credit score, the lower your credit score will reduce because of credit report judgments.
While this may not be exactly true, it is no doubt true that negative information like credit report judgments reduces your credit score.
And a reduced credit score means that you’ll have less access to loans and other credit opportunities which can hamper your financial future.
Therefore, you need to remove a credit report judgment from your files as soon as possible.
Remain On Your Credit Report For A Long Time
Civil judgments will usually stay on your credit report for as long as 7 years before they fall off naturally.
That means that they’ll continue to hurt your credit score for 7 years.
It is good to remove a credit report judgment, otherwise, whenever a potential lender goes through your credit report, they’ll continue to see the judgment on your report for 7 years from the official filing date even though you may have repaid the debt a long time ago.
Judgments Can Be Renewed
If you don’t pay off the debt and you plan to wait out the 7-year term, you risk having a/the court refiling the judgment against you.
That means that the refiled judgment would stay on your credit report for another 7-year term limit, which further increases the damage done to your credit score and the time you have to suffer for the civil judgment.
It’s better to pay the debt or you risk failing to remove the credit report.
The court can still pursue other means of getting you to pay back the loan. E.g. Wage garnishment; where the court orders your salary/wage(s) seized and sent to the creditor until your loan is fully repaid.
It is safer to remove a credit report judgment so that you don’t end up with any “refiled” judgments.
Considering the dangers, it is better to remove a credit report judgment from your credit file, even if that means paying off the debt in full or negotiating a settlement, and having the judgment status changed to “Satisfied”.
Even if some credit bureaus are moving towards not including judgments on your credit report.
How To Remove A Credit Report Judgment From Your Credit File
Now, after seeing the dangers that a credit report judgment can do to your credit score, you must learn how to remove a credit report judgment from your credit file.
Here are some ways you can get a court or credit bureau to remove a credit report judgment:
Pay the debt back and file a “satisfaction”. The easiest way to remove a credit report judgment would be by paying back the debt. You can pay the debt in full or you can negotiate a “settlement price” with the creditor.
Once you have negotiated with the creditor and settled the debt, the creditor will usually file a “satisfaction” telling the court that the both of you have settled.
You can also approach the court and file the settlement yourself. You can try to negotiate a Pay-to-delete with the creditor to remove a credit report judgment.
File an appeal and have the judgment “vacated”. You can file an appeal of the court’s earlier ruling I.e the judgment, and if you are successful, you can get the court to “vacate” the judgment.
Some good reasons to appeal the initial judgment include:
- Procedural issues, e.g. you never received the court papers
- You had a good excuse for not appearing at the court hearing, e.g illness
- You provide a strong counter-argument, e.g. inaccurate information, etc.
If you are successful in getting the court to dismiss the earlier judgment, I.e. to vacate the judgment, then you can approach the credit bureaus and ask them to remove a credit report judgment from your credit report.
Now, while most credit bureaus don’t like to remove a credit report judgment, they are mandated by law so long as you can provide a court order.
File A Dispute With The Major Credit Bureaus
Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can remove a credit report judgment by filing a dispute with the credit bureaus.
So go through your credit report with a microscope and pick out all errors you can find.
Then present the errors along with all the documentation and hand it to the credit bureau(s) after filing the dispute.
Once you prove the error, the credit bureaus are mandated by law to remove a credit report judgment from your credit file.
Try a standard credit repair agency – You can also employ the services of a professional credit repair agency to remove a credit report judgment from your credit file.
A good credit repair agency will search for errors in your credit reports, especially errors among your negative information like judgment and bankruptcies, and file disputes on your behalf.
They will also provide tips on how you can maintain a good credit score.
What If You Can’t Remove A Credit Report Judgment
In situations where you have filed a successful appeal and have gotten the court to dismiss the judgment, then trying to remove a credit report judgment from your credit file might be easy as filing a dispute(s) with the credit bureaus and providing them with the court order asking them to remove vacated judgments from your credit file.
However, in most cases, you cannot remove a credit report judgment immediately and you might have to wait until the credit report judgment falls off naturally.
In that case, it is good to still pay the loan in full or negotiate a settlement with the creditor so that the judgment is not “renewed” in the course of your waiting.
While the process may seem a little daunting, if you know the right steps, you might remove a credit report judgment from your credit history.
The process might involve:
- Appealing a court judgment and having the judgment “vacated”
- Negotiating a settlement to have the judgment “satisfied”
- Hiring the services of a credit repair agency to remove a credit report judgment from your credit file
Remember that while the judgment would deal a serious blow to your credit score during that 7-year period, there is still the risk of the court “renewing” the judgment, which would add another 7 years to your waiting time.
So it’s better, in the long run, to embrace the challenge and do all you can to remove a credit report judgment from your credit history. Thankfully, this post is here to help you throughout the way.