The part of your credit report which contains public record information can be really damaging for your score. Especially financial failures such as tax liens or bankruptcies have a big negative impact on how your creditworthiness is seen – which is quite obvious. But then, in the public records category there is a subcategory “derogatory marks” which contains civil judgments. Are civil judgments damaging for credit report or we should not worry much about such items?
Civil judgments concern non-criminal matters and as it is in the case of results of civil lawsuits or child support cases, they often appear on credit reports (criminal records usually do not appear on them).
Such marks do not go to 3 credit bureaus directly, but they are available for public in court records.
Thus, credit bureaus may check it and then add it to your credit report. However, civil judegments can affect your report also in other ways. For example, they can result in wage garnishment, eviction or a real estate attachment – and these do not bring a good prognosis for your credit health.
Since your credit report is supposed to be a picture of your financial situation and civil judgments usually result in a debt, such information must be available for potential lenders.
Will it affect my credit score?
The answer is: yes. Civil judgments have a negative impact on credit scores. However, such information can be also seen as the effect of some mistakes from the past rather than the consequence of the wrong financial management. Apart from that, it can be treated as the reason why the borrower have problems with repaying other obligations. But still, civil judgments information causes more harm to the score than, for example, the information about a sized loan.
Can I somehow remove this item from my credit report?
Unfortunately, it is not an option. Most of the civil judgments on credit report will appear for the next 7 years (starting from the filing date). Whether you pay the obligations or not, it does not shorten the period. Of course, if you pay the judgment off on time, you will be on a better position and you can repair a bit of your credit health. Your status will be updated and it will be shown that you have handled it. If your judgment is not paid, it will be stuck on your report as the negative item for the whole seven-years period and it can be renewed for… the next seven years.
Nevertheless, remember that you have the right to dispute the mistakes or incorrect information on your credit report. Thus, if you have some doubts you can turn to the credit bureau so that the issue could be solved.
Take care of your credit health
It is very important to be well informed about maintaining a good credit health. It is always better to avoid bad marks than using credit repair companies later. Your knowledge about damaging financial behaviors is the key for success in this case.