A judgment can remain on your credit report as long as it is “valid” or “active.” In Texas, judgments are valid (“active”) for at least 10 years and they can be renewed for another 10 years after that, and then another 10 year after that, and so on, indefinitely.
So, legally, the judgment could remain on your credit report forever, or until you settle it or pay it.
Learn how it works from our Dallas debt relief attorney:
The general 7-year rule
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the general rule is that bad debts can remain on your credit report for 7 years.
There is a different rule for judgments
The FCRA has a different rule for judgments: a judgment can remain on your credit report for 7 years from the date of the judgment “or until the governing statute of limitations has expired, whichever is the longer period.”
What that means is: the judgment can remain on your credit report until it expires (if it ever expires) or until you pay it or settle it.
The judgment might drop off your credit report after 7 years even it is still active
The FCRA does not say that the judgment has to remain on your credit report until it expires; it only says that the judgment may remain on your credit report until it expires.
You might be thinking: “Why would the judgment drop off sooner? If it can legally remain on my credit report for 10 years or longer, why would it drop off after sooner than that?”
My supposition, based on 20 years of experience dealing with credit issues, is this: the credit bureaus simply make no attempt to apply the 50 different state laws that govern how long judgments are valid. The FCRA says that the judgment can remain on a person’s credit report for 7 years or for some longer time, if the law of the state where that person lives allows for a longer time. So 7 years is always OK. So they leave it on there for 7 years, unless they have some reason (like a public filing renewing the judgment) to leave it on there for a longer time.
Even if the judgment drops off your credit report, you still owe it and they can still collect on it
Let’s say you get lucky, and the judgment drops off your credit report after 7 years, even though it is still active. You still owe the judgment, and the creditor can still collect on it.
So, until and unless the judgment expires, the creditor can still:
- Garnish your bank accounts
- File an “Abstract of Judgment” which can cloud the title to your home
- Seize your “nonexempt” assets, if you have any, and
- Subpoena you to appear at a deposition and give them information about your assets
Find out where you stand for free
Give our Dallas debt relief attorney a call at 844.334.4566 or fill out the contact form. We will review your judgment with you and tell you where you stand and what your options are. The consultation is free, and there is no obligation.