A judgment occurs when a creditor wins a debt collection lawsuit. It gives the creditor additional collection options it did not have before. For example, judgment creditors often have the right to garnish paychecks and seize bank balances. However, judgements aren't collectable forever, and states don't allow creditors to enforce them beyond a specified period.
Where you live determines how long a creditor can enforce a judgment against you. Each state sets its own statute of limitations for judgments, and the time frame can range from as short as three years to ten years or longer.
Once a judgment expires, it is no longer legally enforceable. This causes problems for the creditor if it has yet to successfully recover the full amount. Some states, however, allow creditors to renew their judgments, as long as they do so before the original judgment expires. When the court renews a judgment, it "refreshes" the statute of limitations on the judgment – giving the creditor additional time to collect the debt.
- Nolo: How Creditors Enforce Judgments
- Carreon and Associates: Statute Of Limitations For Debts, Judgments & Taxes: All States
- California Courts: Renew the Judgment
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: What Should I Do if a Creditor or Debt Collector Sues Me?
- Cardreport.com: Statute of Limitations on Judgments