When will a small claims judgment appear on my credit report?

Asked about 2 years ago - Jersey City, NJ

I lost a small claims case about 5 months ago. I havent paid it yet and so far, the judgment hasnt appeared on my credit report. If I pay now, Is it too late to have the judgment vacated? I have heard that if the judgment does appear, it will harm my credit regardless of whether it's shown as paid or not. That being said, what incentive is there to pay the judgment in a timely manner? Why not just make the plaintiff levy my bank account or file a property lien?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Lucius James Wallace

    Contributor Level 7


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . An unpaid judgment on your credit will hurt your credit more than a paid/satisfied judgment will. In order to get the judgment vacated, you may have to get the judgment creditor and the Court to agree to do so. Just because you pay it does not mean you get to have it vacated.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may... more
  2. James W. Zerillo


    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree.A judgement can definitely affect your credit.Additionally,if you have the oppurtunity to settle it,I would reccomend that you do with the assistance of counsel.If you force the creditor to take enforcement action you may have the costs of that enforcement added to the judgement.Plus,you should remember that enforcement may come on the creditor's timetable and with relativelly little notice.If you can approach the creditor through counsel you may be able to pay off the judgement at a compromised amount especially if it is a small claims action.As stated above,make sure any settlement results in the judgement being marked satisfied or withdrawn.

    This answer does not create an attorney/client relationship and is for informational purposes only.For further... more
  3. Peter Walter Weston


    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If there is a judgment, then paying it does not vacate the judgment, rather, the judgment will be shown as satisfied, should it be reported on your credit report.

    It is possible that the creditor does not know how to collect the judgment, and that is why it is not showing up yet.

    The incentive for paying it off at this time, appears to be that there may be no record of it on your credit, so no news is good news, as it applies to derogatory credit remarks.

    General legal advice is offered for educational purposes only. A consultation with a qualified attorney is... more
  4. Jeffrey Steven Feinberg

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . My comment is addressed to the attorneys who have submitted the three posted answers.
    I firmly believe, as do many others on Avvo, that answers should be offered only by those attorneys who are licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which the question is asked.


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