February 08, 2021
Summary: Find out how to satisfy a judgment and why it's important to get proof that you paid off your debt.
Judgments are court orders based on the decision in a lawsuit. If a judgment is entered against you, it means that a debt collector may be able to begin garnishing your wages, put a lien on your home, or use other methods to collect their debt.
Typically you have a higher chance to have a judgment entered against you for the amount claimed in the lawsuit for two reasons: You ignore the lawsuit. Or you don't respond to the lawsuit promptly.
When a judgment is entered against you, it doesn't only mean you will need to pay off your debt. You may need to pay additional fees as well. This might include fees to cover collection costs, added interest, and maybe even the attorney fees of the debt collector. To satisfy your judgment, you will need to show that you have paid off your debt.
The Satisfaction of Judgment is also known as the Release of Judgment. Obtaining satisfaction means that you hold a legal document that states the debt collector who sued you has been paid. Your Satisfaction of Judgment will show that you paid all of the debt agreed upon in the original judgment against you.
The Satisfaction of Judgment is not revocable. Once it is filed with the court, it cannot be changed. If you have a judgment against you, you most likely will want to satisfy it immediately to prevent it from affecting your credit.
The Satisfaction of Judgment is proof that you have paid your debt. Without Satisfaction of Judgment, your credit score will be affected. If you have an unpaid judgment on your credit report, this will lower your score and may prevent you from obtaining a loan, purchasing a home, or renting an apartment.
Additionally, if you still owe money on your debt and have not satisfied your judgment, the debt collector will continue to pursue the debt, increasing the amount you owe or generally causing more issues for you.
The only time that you will be able to satisfy a judgment is after you have paid off the amount of the judgment. This includes interest and court costs. This document should be sent to you once the final payment on your debt is received. If you have not yet paid off the entire judgment amount, you can attempt to make other arrangements with the plaintiff, such as making a lump-sum payment, to receive the Satisfaction of Judgment sooner.
After paying off your debt, you will need to obtain a letter immediately. This is the release and satisfaction document. If this is not automatically sent to you, you should call their attorney quickly.
Request a letter stating that the entire amount of the judgment has been paid. This can be done by sending a demand letter. Then, the release and satisfaction form is to be filed with the court clerk and entered into the case record.
After you have this proof, the judge will vacate the judgment and dismiss the action. Be sure that a copy of the vacate order is sent to credit bureaus to correct your standing.
If you have satisfied your judgment but are not able to obtain proof, then you may need to present evidence that you fulfilled the debt. For example, you can show a canceled check in which you paid the full balance or proof in a ledger of payments. Another option is to send a letter in which the debt collector agrees that you paid the debt. This will need to be notarized.
If you paid off your debt but never received satisfaction of judgment, you may be able to pursue damages. This would be under the guise of suffering due to the debt collector failing to provide the required satisfaction of the judgment. For example, failure to submit the proof of the satisfied judgment may have lowered your credit score. And your lower score may have prevented you from obtaining a loan.
Overall, satisfying a judgment essentially means that you are paying off your debt. When you finish the process of satisfaction, you will be given proof. You can then rebuild your credit, stop wage garnishment, and move on with your life.
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.
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