Tips for Removing Judgments from Your Credit Report
First, keep in mind that the info represented here is not intended as legal advice. It’s intended for informational purposes only. You should consult with a lawyer before implementing any of the legal methods mentioned here.
Now that we got the legal stuff out of the way, let’s get down to the business of how to remove a judgment from your credit report. Creditors and debt collection agencies often attempt to collect on what they are owed by suing debtors in court.
They know that many ordinary debtors already consider it a lost cause when their case arrives in court. People in debt fear the whole situation so much that they often don’t even show up in court. Because of this, they lose by default.
So if you owe money and there isn’t a judgement against you yet, the best thing you can do is to find a method for paying off that debt as fast as possible.
This eliminates the need to go to court and have a judgment against you.
If you are beyond that point and you already lost a court battle with your creditors, then the rest of this article may be able to help you in repairing some of the damage.
Here’s What You Need to Do First
The first thing you need to do is pay off the debt. And, as soon as you pay it off, either you or the creditor should file what’s known as a satisfaction of judgment with the court.
Your judgment will then show up on your credit report as being paid. Unfortunately, the actual judgment that was filed against you will stay on your credit report for 7 years – even if it is now paid off.
Once it’s on your credit report, the reporting agency is not obligated to remove it, even after you’ve paid it off in full. The only way to get it removed is to go back through the courts and file for what’s known as a “vacated judgment”.
Even then, there’s no guarantee the judge will agree to it. It’s still worth trying, and others have succeeded in getting the courts to remove it.
Here’s the procedure for doing it…
The Basic Steps to Remove Judgments from Your Credit Report
One you pay your debt off, your first step should be to have the judgment against you vacated or canceled through the courts. That’s the only way a reporting agency is allowed to take it off of your credit files.
You can have this done by contacting your creditor and asking them to file for a vacated or canceled judgment with both the court where the claim was filed and the county clerk – who then notifies the credit reporting agency.
Hopefully you have maintained somewhat of a decent relationship with your creditor and they would be willing to do this.
Ask them politely and be very nice and courteous with them. If they agree, they would then file one document with the court and county clerk and you’ll be on your way to having the negative mark removed from your report.
The other way to get it removed from your credit reports is to file the documents yourself with the courts. But this is a long shot. The judge is not obligated and you have to show good reason for having it vacated or canceled.
However, some people have had success doing it themselves.
There have been cases where someone was trying to buy a house and that’s the reason they gave the judge for getting the judgment vacated. The person wasn’t able to obtain a mortgage for the house unless it was removed from the credit report.
And the judge agreed to vacate it.
So it has been done before, but it’s a long shot and you need a very good reason other than you believe it’s a bad mark on your credit. Still, if the first strategy mentioned above has failed you, this second method is worth trying.
You just have to convince the court.
But here is an important fact… every state is different. So you need to know how to file this motion with the courts in your state.
You can do that by searching Google for the following keywords: “motion and declaration to vacate judgment [your state]”. Just put the name of your state at the end of the search phrase. You’ll be shown a government website with all the info and the forms you need to file.
Again, every state is different. So be sure to follow the correct procedures, otherwise you can be turned down based on a silly technicality.
Can a credit card judgment follow you to another country?
Some people with terrible credit report problems – foreclosures, bankruptcies and so on – consider simply moving out of the country and starting life afresh elsewhere.
Since the three major credit rating agencies do credit reporting work in other countries as well, people planning on moving out often worry about seeing their credit problems following them to their new lives.
This cannot happen, though. Credit reports are not international in nature.
Even if you do have judgments on your credit report here, they won’t appear on your credit reports when you relocate to Europe, Asia or anywhere else. Your credit will start on a clean slate. Credit bureaus in different countries do not share information.
Before you make plans to leave, though, it’s important that you realize that credit problems don’t usually warrant such drastic measures. Bankruptcies and judgments only stay on your credit report for a few years. Afterwards the slate is wiped clean and you get to start over.
If you do plan to leave for another country, you should remember to cash out your retirement accounts behind. If they remain untouched for years, the money in them will simply revert to the government.