What canI do about an 18 year-old judgement?

UPDATED: Jul 29, 2010

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What canI do about an 18 year-old judgement?

I have an 18 year old judgement that I didn’t know about. I didn’t go to court for it. I found out about it while trying to refinance my home. The interest alone is over $10,000. I’ve talked to them and they have offered to settle if I pay the original amount plus half the interest. Which I can’t afford.

Asked on July 29, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, Virginia has one of the longest statutes of limitations for judgments in the nation: if it is a domestic judgment (i.e. judgment rendered by a Virginia court), it could theoretically be enforceable for  up to 20 years. That means that your 18-year-old judgment could still be valid. You need to consult with a lawyer about this. If you NEVER had received notice of the judgment, it may be possible to challenge it on that ground, but that would be difficult after so many years. A lawyer can help you understand if (1) the judgment is in fact still enforceable and (2) whether there are any grounds to challenge it. A lawyer can also determine if the interest charged is legitimate; might be able to negotiate with the creditor on your behalf; and if all else fails, can advise you as to whether bankruptcy might be  good choice or option.

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