Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in New York

My questions is: if an old debt is no longer showing up on my credit report but a judgement was made in court against me - is it still collectable? I am from upstate NY and the creditor is from way over 6 years ago but I found out that they sued me in 2005 and as I had moved around a lot back then I never received any notice of this in the mail or otherwise. I only just got a notice from them recently, a letter from a law office for the creditor, referencing the court case. They were very vague about if they had already taken money (I'm not missing anything from my bank accounts) or if they will be taking it some other way. I do not have extra money and the payments I could make are extremely small after I pay my monthly bills. But my question is can they still collect? I mean if it's not on my credit report and it has not been for the past 3 years because once I started to get my credit in order I always checked - can they take the money? I mean, how can you possibly prepare to pay a debt you don't even know you have? Especially when I'm not just ignoring calls and letters I'm doing everything in my power to make sure I know where my credit stands. Does the judgement from court make it still collectable? Please help, I so can't afford for some lump sum to disappear from my bank account overnight or for my wages to be garnished.

Asked on 5/03/13, 1:15 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

A judgment is good for 10 years in NY and can be renewed another 10.

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Answered on 5/03/13, 1:49 pm

Stephen Starr Starr & Starr, PLLC

Judgment stays on credit report for 7 years, but is enforceable in NY for 20 (yes - twenty) years. Judgment bears interest at 9% a year. If filed as a lien at the county level the lien is good for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10. Judgments have a negative effect on your credit report.

A creditor with a judgment can both garnish the judgment debtor's wages and levy a writ of execution against the judgment debtor's bank account (or just restrain the account pursuant to a restraining notice).

Please see the prior posting on our Blog ( on the topic of dealing with a default judgment. The posts are:

Help A Collector Has Frozen My Bank Account in New York, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn!

- and -

What Can I Do If a Default Judgment Has Been Entered Against Me in New York?

The foregoing is intended as general information of interest to readers of this website and is not intended as legal advice for your situation. You should consult with an attorney.

Best regards,

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Answered on 5/03/13, 1:55 pm

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