It might seem as if once a debt is paid, you can walk away without any problems and begin to rebuild your financial life, but it might take a bit of work. In order to “undo” a debt problem, you might need to secure a Satisfaction of Judgement or Release and Satisfaction, which is a legal document showing you paid all of the money you owed to a creditor. This document is non-revocable, so once a judge has signed it there is no way it can be changed and civil action against you must stop.
What is a Judgement Release?
A Satisfaction of Judgement is proof you paid what you owed. Without this document, it will be impossible to get a mortgage, secure a loan, buy a car, rent an apartment, or do anything else that requires you assume new credit.
Without the form, collection efforts can also still continue. If your wages are being garnished or you have a lien on your property, it could continue even if you believe you have satisfied the debt. Information about obtaining a lien release can be found on the FDIC website.
Once you believe you have satisfied the obligations of your debt, you need to request from the lender a document verifying this to be the case. Remember, once a judgment occurs, you could be responsible for more than the original amount of the debt and the entire amount will need to be paid for you to receive the release. However, if you made arrangements to pay in a lump sum settlement, the amount could be less. This, too, counts as satisfying the debt and should be enough to qualify you for a judgement release.
Requesting a Judgement Release
Sometimes the lender (the plaintiff suing you for repayment) will automatically send a release once the debt has been repaid. If you do not receive one, contact the lender’s attorney in writing requesting the letter of release.
If you still do not receive a judgement release, you will need to petition the court and show evidence you satisfied your debt. You’ll need to show a cancelled check or other proof of payment, so the judge knows you indeed did pay the debt.
The loose ends left after you have paid a debt, especially after there was a judgement against you, can be frustrating and complicated to tie up. Having the assistance of an experienced attorney can help.
For more information or to schedule a time to discuss your financial challenges, contact the the Bankruptcy Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696.