A civil judgment is a ruling against a defendant in a court of law. It refers to a non-criminal legal matter and often requires the defendant to pay damages. Damages are generally money amounts.
How Does a Lawsuit Start?
When a plaintiff wants to sue a defendant, a complaint is filed with the jurisdiction where the issue occurred. If the complaint doesn’t result in an out-of-court settlement, it proceeds to trial. The result of the trial may require the defendant to pay a civil judgment.
Does a Civil Judgment Appear on a Person’s Credit Report?
Yes, a civil judgment will appear on a person’s credit report. Typically, judgments aren’t directly reported to credit bureaus, but they are publicly documented on county court records. Credit bureaus review county court records and each credit bureau treats a judgment as a negative action. Thus, it lowers an individual’s overall credit score.
Can a Judgment be Removed from my Credit Report?
No. A civil judgment usually stays on a person’s credit report for up to seven years from the date it was filed with the court. It can be a shorter number of years if the judgment is paid. The creditor does have the option to re-file the judgment after the seven year-limit expires.
Can Creditors Garnish my Wages?
If a creditor wins a judgment against an individual, they can garnish the person’s wages. Wage garnishment refers to a percentage of money deducted from a person’s paycheck every week or two weeks to pay off the judgment. Federal law allows up to 25 percent of a person’s pay until the debt is satisfied.
Can a Lawyer Help Me?
A bankruptcy lawyer can help you resolve a civil judgment. The lawyer can tell you how to proceed or if bankruptcy is your best option to resolve the judgment.