Categories: Get Out of Debt

Do Judgments Ever Go Away?

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Having a judgment against you can be very stressful. When dealing with one, it can be easy to wonder – do judgments ever go away?

There is no simple answer to this question – but there is hope for those who are saddled with judgments. Here, we’ll discuss how to deal with life after a judgment and how to best move on from one.

What Does it Mean to Have a Judgment Against You?

It’s easy to be told that you have a legal judgment against you – but it can be much more difficult to understand what that actually means. Let’s break down what having a civil judgment against you entails:

  • With a judgment, the winner of a case is clearly determined and the award is outlined. Many times, when it comes to legal matters that involve money, it’s best when details are clearly outlined. This is the purpose of a judgment. It delivers a clear verdict about who is the winner of a dispute and who owes what amount of money to whom. These answers prevent further drama and discourse later.
  • If you ignore the complaint and summons regarding the case, you will lose automatically. Unfortunately, a common response when people see the summons to appear in court for one of these cases is to simply ignore it. When you do this, though, you automatically forfeit – and lose. The other party will win by default, even if you are in the right. What’s more, those who don’t attend their hearing have no grounds for appeal.
  • As long as you show up, though, you may have grounds for appeal. Want a chance to speak up about the potential judgment being levied against you? Be sure to show up! Again, there is no other way to ensure your right to be heard.
  • With a judgment in place, law enforcement – including local law – can be used to collect awards if necessary. Having a judgment levied against you may upset you enough that you might decide not to remit payment for the award amount. Don’t do this, or you might face recourse from law enforcement.
  • A judgment entitles creditors to seize or put liens against your assets. Once a judgment has been levied against you, your creditors will need a way to seize the amount they are due. If you do not have the total amount due on hand and ready to remit, they can use liens against your property or other assets or seize these assets to resell them in order to pay for the debts you owe.
  • A civil judgment will appear on your credit report. Like many other issues involving money and the decisions we make with it, a civil judgment will be re[ported against your credit report. It will also remain there – even after being resolved – for seven years.
  • Once a judgment is made, it isn’t set in stone. It can still increase in amount due to fees, etc.
  • Civil judgments can last a very long time. This is the fact that leads people to wonder – do judgments ever go away? This is because, while the total number of years varies from state to state and based on a number of other factors, judgments can last ten years or more. This gives those who win a sufficient amount of time to collect their award amount – but it can also cause issues for those who are dealing with judgments made against them.
  • Judgments can be dismissed in a bankruptcy, though. Most debts that are the cause of civil judgments can be dismissed through a bankruptcy, offering relief to those who are seeking help with overwhelming debt. However, declaring bankruptcy shouldn’t be your automatic solution for a judgment; always be sure to consult a legal expert before making a choice like bankruptcy to be sure it’s the best option for your scenario.
  • There are several end scenarios for a judgment. These include a satisfied judgment, which is one that is paid in full during the stated time frame given by the court. While this is preferable to an unsatisfied judgment, it does not remove the judgment from the person’s credit report any sooner than it would if the judgment went unpaid. A judgment may also be vacated, which means that it is dismissed by the court that initially issued the judgment. This is the most preferable option, since it treats the judgment as if it never existed -and removes it from the credit report.

Do Judgments Ever Go Away?

So, with all of this in mind, you may be wondering – do judgments ever go away?

Depending on who you ask, you will probably get a variety of answers. This is because while these judgments can be dismissed, resolved, etc., they may remain on a credit reported, be revived or reinstated by the creditor, or continue to haunt you in other ways well beyond their typical lifespan. It can sometimes feel as if they never truly go away.

This is why it is so important to understand the process of a civil judgment, from the summons and complaint to the appeal process and what to do once a judgment has been handed down against you and how to recover from it. By following the correct procedures, you stand a better chance of lessening the time you will have to cope with the fallout from this scenario – and the impact on your financial future.

The best way to move on effectively after a judgment is to obtain advice from an experienced, qualified legal professional. Where can you find that? Look to a practice like the Van Horn Law Group of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. With the legal expertise you need to navigate life after judgments, Van Horn and associates can help you make the best of what you’ve been handed – and create a better future for yourself!

About Chad Van Horn

Chad T. Van Horn, Esq. is a South Florida business leader and founding partner attorney of Van Horn Law Group, P.A. Through a combination of dedicated philanthropy, spirited entrepreneurship and legal expertise, he applies his resources and network to helping people. Learn more about Chad Van Horn

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Do Judgments Ever Go Away?
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Having a judgment against you can be very stressful. When dealing with one, it can be easy to wonder - do judgments ever go away?
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Van Horn Law Group
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Chad Van Horn

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