“How do I settle an old judgment in Alabama?”
If you have a judgment against you from a long time ago, you may wonder, “Is there any way I can settle this old judgment?”
It’s really a 3 step process to settle an old judgment in Alabama.
Step 1: Negotiate a settlement.
You can either hire a lawyer or you can do this on your own.
Normally, it will be a lump sum settlement that you will pay. And you should get a discount off of what you currently owe (amount awarded against you plus accumulated interest).
Step 2: Once you’ve paid the lump sum by certified funds (a cashier’s check, certified check, etc.), get a satisfaction of judgment.
This is a document the collection lawyer will file in court that says that you’ve “satisfied” or “paid” the judgment.
This means that they’re saying, “We had a judgment against you, but you’ve satisfied it.”
That way when someone is looking through the court record on your case, they’ll see that you were sued, you lost, you got a judgment against you, but you’ve satisfied that judgment.
That’s your proof that you don’t owe any money in the case anymore.
If there’s a lien on your property in probate court, then you can ask the collection lawyer for a release of lien.
This is a document that you file, which is about $25 to record, into probate court that tells the world, “Hey, that lien on my property is gone.”
Step 3: If the judgment is on your credit report (which it should be for 7 years), send a dispute letter to the credit bureau.
Don’t write the court, because they’re not responsible for the credit reporting.
Make sure you specify the court case and order, and give them the date it was filed.
You need to dispute with them and tell them that you’ve paid off, or satisfied, the judgment. You normally want to include a copy of the judgment and the satisfaction of judgment.
If they want to report the judgment, they need to report it accurately which means a zero balance or that it is paid/satisfied.
If the credit bureau comes back fixes your credit report, that’s great.
What if they don’t?
1.) You can either ignore it, which is a terrible idea.
2.) You can dispute it again, which may or may not fix things. Generally the credit bureau will say you’re being “frivolous” is trying to dispute with them again.
3.) Or you could sue them for money damages.
The third option is usually what we go for.
If we do this, then we can make sure they take it off of your credit reports, they pay you money, and they pay us money.
Everyone is happy.
Except the credit bureau.
But hey, 2 out of 3 isn’t too bad. 🙂
If you have any questions and you live in the state of Alabama, you can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447.
I look forward to chatting with you!
Have a great day.