Dear Dr. Don,
My husband’s credit record has included a judgment. He has since paid it and now we’re thinking about buying a house. I’m wondering since he paid the judgment, will it still show on his credit report? If so, how can we get the negative information removed so we can get our dream house? We are a young married couple starting a family. Any information will help.

— Tori Trepidation

Dear Tori,
Paying the judgment won’t cause it to drop off his credit report. Such judgments typically remain on a credit report for seven years after the date the judgment is filed.

For others, an unpaid judgment can stay on a credit report for more than seven years, depending on state statutes of limitations. Some states also allow judgments to be renewed.

An unpaid judgment is a bigger negative on a credit report than a paid judgment because the unpaid judgment represents a claim on income or assets.

You would be wise to get your husband’s credit score to determine where things stand. As the saying goes, time heals all wounds including when it comes to credit histories. He shouldn’t have to wait seven years to qualify for a mortgage. If he does have a low credit score, look into a Federal Housing Administration loan, which allows borrowers to borrow despite relatively low credit scores.

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