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In most cases, judgments can stay on your credit reports for up to seven years.

What is a judgment?


A judgment is a court order that results from a lawsuit. Only civil judgments are reported to the credit bureaus. These types of judgments are court rulings that pertain to the repayment of a debt. When you owe a creditor money and don't pay it, the creditor can try to recover it by going to court and suing you for it.

When a creditor sues for the money you owe, the court decides on the merits of the case. If a judge rules against you, the decision becomes a judgment against you. In the case that the judge decides you owe money, they can:

  • Order wage garnishment

  • Order you to come up with a payment plan with the lender

  • Allow the lender to attach liens to your property in order to recover their money

How much will a judgment affect my credit score?


When judgments show up on your credit reports, they can do severe damage to your score. A judgment in your credit history means that a lender had such a difficult time recovering their money from you that they had to go to court.


Judgments tell potential lenders that you can't be trusted to pay them back. Any lender still willing to do business with you will do so knowing that you are a risky customer. Because of this, they will likely impose stringent terms and higher interest rates to any line of credit they offer you.

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