If a judgment was filed against you in relation to a debt you owed and you have worked hard to pay that debt, you will need to make sure you get a Satisfaction of Judgment or Release and Satisfaction documentation. This is the official legal document proving you paid off what you owed. It is non-revocable, which means it finalizes the fact that you no longer owe money on that debt and that the paid in full debt cannot be changed, and it ensures no civil action can be taken against you.
Having an unpaid judgment on your credit report can prevent you from being approved for a loan of any kind, including a mortgage, car loan, or credit card. Any time someone reviews your credit, he or she will see the judgement and use it to negatively judge whether or not to lend to you.
Furthermore, collection efforts will continue as long as there is a judgement against you. This means your wages can be garnished, your tax refund can be taken, and you can face a lien on your property. A judgement clears you of all of these obligations and is absolute legal proof you no longer owe money on that specific debt.
How Do I Get a Judgment Release?
In most cases, getting a judgment release will require you to pay off the debt, including any interest and court costs. Once the final payment is received by the lender, they will issue the judgement release.
It is also possible to get a judgement released by making special arrangements with the lender. Some are willing to accept lump sum payments for a portion of the original amount. Before agreeing to a settlement such as this, be sure to speak to an attorney and have him review any paperwork associated with the settlement.
My Debt is Paid – Now What?
Once your debt is paid, you are eligible for a judgment release. Some lenders will automatically send this, but this is not always the case. It is important to ask, in writing, for a copy of the document that was filed with the court stating the judgement is released.
If the lender refuses or seems to be giving you the runaround, you have the option of petitioning the court for an order showing your debt has been satisfied. If you upheld your obligation, the judge will vacate the judgement, which accomplishes the same purpose as the judgement release. Keep in mind you might need to present evidence of having fulfilled the debt, which is why it is so important to keep detailed records. The court will likely need to see the cancelled check(s), correspondence with the lender, and anything else that supports your having paid the debt.
It is also a good idea to consult your attorney the moment you believe there might be an issue with a judgment release. This ensures your rights are protected and the hard work you put into repaying your debt is honored.
If you are facing a judgment or you deserve a judgment release and have not received one, we can help. Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to discuss your situation or schedule a bankruptcy lawyer consultation.