How Long Does a Satisfied Judgment Stay on Your Credit Report?

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Close-up of credit summary report
Close-up of credit summary report (Image: Erin Wilkins/iStock/Getty Images)

When you satisfy a legal judgment against you, that doesn’t erase the judgment from your credit history. While the paid-off debt looks better than an unsatisfied obligation, potential lenders will still see it on your credit report for seven years from the date the judgment was entered. This holds true whether the debt is paid or unpaid.

Part of Your Record

Though satisfied judgments indicate that you eventually did settle your obligations, the credit reporting bureaus still consider them to be an indication that you've had problems managing your finances in the past. State laws differ on the amount of time a judgment can be reported, but the credit bureaus generally remove the judgments seven years after the date they were entered, even if state law allows a longer reporting period.

Removing it Sooner

It’s very difficult to get a satisfied judgment off your credit report before that seven-year period elapses, since it’s a matter of public record rather than a private relationship between you and the creditor. You’d have to get the judgment vacated by the court and then update the credit reporting bureaus that this has occurred. On a positive note, judgments have less of a negative impact on your credit score over time, so a paid judgment that's five years old will have less of an effect than one that's five weeks old.

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