Get Out of Debt Guy

An Old Credit Card Judgment is Hanging Around

Posted August 8, 2013

WRAL Reader Question

Dear Steve,

I have a old balance on a credit card from 2001 and it's 2013. There is a judgment against me at the courthouse for this debt. i thought after 7 years this dropped from your credit report.

What can i do to solve this problem?


Click here to get my free my weekday email newsletter with the latest tips and advice on how to beat debt and do better financially. Subscribe now.



Dear Shawn,

Excellent question. Most people get this completely wrong.

While it is true that a negative item on your credit report will be removed after typically 7 years from when it was reported delinquent, that's not the whole story. Technically it is 7 years and 180 days but most remove it after 7 years. But this only applies to information reported in the account performance section of your credit report. 

There is no such requirement to remove information in the public records section of the credit report.

I see your question came from North Carolina.

I am not a lawyer so I encourage you to speak to a North Carolina lawyer for specific advice about your situation.

Generally, a judgment is obtained after you have been sued. The judgment is valid for ten years but before it expires the creditor can renew it for another ten year term. As long as the judgment is open it will collect interest and the balance will grow. It will continue to impact your credit.

What we don't know about your situation is if the judgment was renewed before it expired at the initial ten year anniversary. I would suggest you contact the courthouse and ask them for the current status of that old judgment. It simply might not have been updated on the credit report.

If you still owe it your choices are to pay it in full, negotiate a less than full balance settlement, or eliminate it through a consumer bankruptcy.

Before we can decide the best way to deal with it more information is needed about its current status. Check it out and post a comment with an update, below. 

Steve Rhode
WRAL Get Out of Debt Guy

If you have a credit or debt question you'd like to ask about, how to get out of debt, just click here and ask away.

If you'd like to stay posted on all the latest get out of debt news and scam alerts, subscribe to my free newsletter.

I'd love to meet you at the next local Raleigh meeting of the Get Out of Debt Guy Meetup Group. Everyone is welcome.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all

About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.