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The Fair Credit Reporting Act rules regarding judgments

Debtors often ask about how long a judgment will stay on their credit reports and if a judgment can be reset after the initial seven years. The original debt for which the judgment was issued differs in the rules that govern it vs. those that govern the judgment itself. Some debtors worry that a judgment will keep being renewed and hang over their heads by way of their credit reports for the rest of their lives.

The fact is that, as per the Fair Credit Reporting Act rules, any judgment must be removed from a debtor's credit report seven years after the date it was entered. However, the statute of limitations for the state of the debtor's residence also comes into play and must have expired as well, but that differs from state to state. The longer of the two becomes the governing time period. So, since the period of time for the statute of limitations in a debtor's state could be from 5 to 20 years, and creditors can renew a judgment in certain states, a judgment may remain in force for a very long time.

On the other hand, a judgment could remain on a debtor's credit report for a much shorter time. According to TransUnion, Experian and Equifax, judgments are removed after seven years. The FCRA may allow judgments to stay on a credit report for longer, but the credit bureaus generally do not.

When a debtor in Arizona has questions and concerns regarding creditors and judgments, a bankruptcy attorney with a practice that handles debt management could help. Consulting an attorney could help clear up any issues regarding the state's statute of limitations, as well as the methods that a creditor can use to collect the debt.

Source: FOX Business, "How Long can a Judgment Impact Your Credit Score?", Jane McNamara, February 11, 2014

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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  • NACA | National Association of Consumer Advocates
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