The short answer to your question is that you do not get a judgment off your credit report by paying it. But this is how you fix the issue.
If you have a judgment against you and you resolve by either settlement (get a settlement letter) or paying it in full, the creditor is obligated to mark the judgment satisifed. The creditor has 60 days to do this after you pay. Once the judgment is marked satisfied, the credit bureaus have their own way of updating the files and it may take 60-90 days after the judgment is satisfied for the credit bureaus to get around to updating the report.
If you are trying to get financing for a home, usually, providing the new lender with a copy of the satisfaction will let the lender know the judgment has been taken care of and that they can loan you the funds. You can also send the credit bureaus a written request to update your credit report and include a copy of the satisfaction of judgment. The same thing would work for a car. And yes, if the judgment is not paid it will appear (or should appear) on your credit report. Likewisee, the fact that that the judgment is paid/satisified should show up.
Don't apply for financing at a car dealership until you get the judgment taken care of. While the dealer may still sell you a car, if you have an unpaid judgment against you, the car lender is going to inflate the interest rate or else they will not make the loan to you. When you apply for credit, your credit takes a hit as it is. So get the judgment taken care of first.
If more than 60 days have passed since you satisifed the judgment and no satisfaction is file, write a letter that you send by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the lawyer who obtained the judgment. Advise that the judgment was settled (send a copy of the settlement letter or final payment showing a zero balance) and proof of all your payments showing that you paid the full judgment or settlement amount. Tell the lawyer for the creditor that the creditor is obligated to mark the judgment satisfied and if they refuse then you will get a lawyer and sue. Under the GA statute, you can recover attorney fees and $100 in damages/or your actual damages if any.
The information Ms. Hunter provided is accurate. Depending on your objectives, it is sometimes possible to remove a judgment by agreement with the creditor. An agreement would have to be reached with the creditor to satisfy their claim and the creditor would have to agree to vacate the judgment. Good luck.
The answer given is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Dwight Bowen is a bankruptcy and consumer attorney and may be contacted at (404) 880-3310.