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College Tuition Judgement - HELP!

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Hello!

I appreciate your feedback, I understand I have made mistakes and am looking to fix them to move forward with life  

I am recently in the process of looking to purchase a new home. When speaking with my lender we realized I had recently been issued Judgement for an unpaid University of Cincinnati college tuition. The semester was for Winter of 2010, which I believe is January 2010 - April 2010. I was enlisted at the school in Fall of 2009, my last semester at the school before starting to work full time. I do not believe that I signed up for classes, however, it has been 7+ years at this point, and I honestly can not remember. I do know that it was planned that I would move home to work full time as I struggled to pay for the last semester of classes. 

Fast forward to now, I have been hit with judgement. I called the school, the school directed me to the Attorney Generals office who stated they waited too long and it was sold to an attorney and gave me his contact information. 

What are my options? Do I have options at this point?

Call and try to get into a payment plan? Try to get them to settle? I was never notified of this via call, mail, anything. I lived at the same address until 2013 - ample time to notify of debt? 

I do greatly appreciate your honest feedback. 

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rated:
Start by sending them a letter that says "I dispute. Please validate."

Go to creditboards for excellent specific advice for your situation.

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Someone correct me if I'm wrong ... Looks like the statute of limitations for debt in Ohio is 6 years. I think you're clear legally.

Is the debt causing you problems with your home purchase?

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jerosen said:   Someone correct me if I'm wrong ... Looks like the statute of limitations for debt in Ohio is 6 years. I think you're clear legally.

Is the debt causing you problems with your home purchase?

He says it's a judgement. Which means they sued him and he didn't show up to court. They likely sued within the required time period. If not, he might be able to file with the court for a new trial, but if he was properly served, he's likely out of luck.

To the OP: if it's truely a judgement, paying it won't help. It's on your permanent record. It might fall off of your credit report in 7 years, but, depending on your state laws, it will be enforceable for much longer.

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Check out the Hamilton County (Ohio) court records.  Search for your name to see if you can find the court case.
https://courtclerk.org/records-search/

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Various unanswered questions here, incl. why state apparently hasn't filed a lien subsequent to supposed judgment.  Suggest OP engage an attorney to at least figure out current lay of land, and get advice on options.

Also, relevant to whether personal BK would be useful:  Did OP sign a promissory note for the tuition?  Education debt vs. contractual obligation.

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Find out when this will fall off your credit reports. If it's pretty soon, you might do nothing and wait to buy until after then.

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Isn't the school likely to refuse to issue transcripts if there's a debt on the books? Op, are you gonna need this school to verify your degree ever again?

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atikovi said:   Find out when this will fall off your credit reports. If it's pretty soon, you might do nothing and wait to buy until after then.
  In California, a judgment is on your credit report for 10 years, renewable for another 10 years.

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soundtechie said:   Isn't the school likely to refuse to issue transcripts if there's a debt on the books? Op, are you gonna need this school to verify your degree ever again?
  
I wonder if he gets a copy of his transcript, what grades will show for that semester? All "F"s? OP must have withdrew from the school without telling the school...

rated:
jerosen said:   Someone correct me if I'm wrong ... Looks like the statute of limitations for debt in Ohio is 6 years. I think you're clear legally.

Is the debt causing you problems with your home purchase?

  depends on when the judgement was entered.  sounds like he hasn't looked at his credit report in at least 7 years, and it came up when the lender pulled his credit.
 

rated:
Hi All,

Thank you for your replies - I will try to answer all of the questions from above.

I check my credit pretty regularly, however, this does not show on any consumer credit check (credit karma) - which is why I was unaware of this suit until it was pulled from the lender.

I will not need to attend the school again, nor will I need to have the transcripts released. At this point, I have a full time job and have no intention on returning to the school.

According to the website it says it was filed 4/25/17 and was issued judgement 1/19/17. I was not notified of the suit by any means - and I have lived at the same address + updated the United States Postal Service as I moved. When I look at the court history + review the certified letter tracking # that was provided on the website, it looks as if it was sent to the address that I lived on campus, as it says it was mailed to a Cincinnati address - I had lived in NW Indiana before and after my stint at UC. Even when they had mailed the second letter, it went back to a Cincinnati address, not the home address on ALL of my UC paperwork I had filled out.


Thank you all for your feedback, please advise further

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This is where you'll probably need a lawyer. They will need to do their magic to vacate the judgement and fight the school.

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You will need either a lawyer or a good how-to guide to set aside the judgment. Good luck... and IANYL.

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Thanks for posting here and welcome to this forum. The advice up here is crazy, and either not accurate or incomplete. The correct forum to really study this is www.creditboards.com I'm a longtime member there as well. I went through my own financial issues and the good news is that you can get through it. It took me about 8 years to really set myself straight, and 2 more years to really launch me into the best place.

Lots of comments and I also don't want to claim that this is a comprehensive list of all the things you need to know, nor that it is 100% accurate for your situation.  I just wanted to give you my best shot at answering it right now in large detail:

  • I'm not a lawyer and the official answer is to seek legal advice. My personal layman advice is that you probably don't need one (at least not at this beginning stage).
  • You have two separate issues when it comes to credit and judgements. One is your credit report and another is your legal judgement and a court order to pay
  • Good news is that most judgements no longer appear on your credit report starting July 1. (news here )
  • Negative items don't appear on your credit report past 7 years 6 months (generally except for Bankruptcies).  This negative item can be the school and/or a collection agency reporting the owed debt and also separately the judgement itself (if it still qualifies to report).  The negative items will fairly significantly hurt FICO scores. (If you're checking your credit FICO scores are the only ones that matter).
  • Just because your credit report doesn't show it, doesn't mean you don't have the legal obligation and a court order to pay the debt.  It's far easier to clear the credit report (GREAT if it's clear already).
  • You were sued for non-payment of tuition.  It appears the statute of limitations in Ohio is 4, 6, or 15 years depending on if it is an open account (no signature), installment sales contract, or a written contract. 
  • BUT this doesn't matter and it probably no longer applies because they sued you.  You didn't show up to court and therefore they won.
  • The statute of limitations in Ohio for judgements appears to be 21 years (one of the longer ones).  They *might* be required to renew it every 5 years, or that might mean after 21 years they have the option of petitioning the court every 5 years to renew it.  I think the latter but I only spent 5 minutes searching this for you.
  • A judgment quite possibly attaches to a piece of property you own.  It does in my state and most states but I don't know the process specifically in Ohio.  In my state they will run a judgement search before you can close on a house because the bank doesn't want that judgement to attach to their collateral.  The banks here make it a requirement that you pay off the judgements (or get them declared void).
  • Each state has Rules of Civil Procedure that determines the process of vacating and/or voiding a judgement.  Many have time limits and rules on this.  In my state that is 1 year...after that no claims can be raised on that topic.  On top of that usually the only way to petition the court and prove you were not given notice to the lawsuit.  There's mixed caselaw in my state about how and if you can even petition the court for something if you truly knew nothing about it.  Some states allow them to serve any person that answers the door to your house, some a family member, sometimes even serving notice in a newspaper (and more recently via email in some circumstances).  That's tricky when you're a student and maybe moving around a lot.  BUT if you burred your head in the sand (like I did) and enough time passes, you give up your ability to question it (or make it much, much larder to question it).  LUCKILY, you've caught it early.
  • HOWEVER, even if you can successfully prove you didn't get proper notice, usually the result of that will be that the court will enter into trial right now.  You'll have to face the actual issue in front of a judge if you owe the money or not.  You'll face a lawyer will all his/her documents in a row and does this for a living.  It's sorta like trying to beat a cop in court.  It sounds great in the movies but in the courtroom it will go so fast and you're up against professionals.
  • That's where you may really need a lawyer...but it may cost you thousands and you better be sure you can win.

Three final summaries:

  1. It's likely that you need to 1) pay the judgement or 2) wait for it to expire or 3) get it vacated/voided/set aside since it's early.  For me I had several....I paid a few of them, fought one and won, fought one and lost, and the biggie I was too scared to fight and lose.  I let the sleeping dog lie and just a few months ago it expired after 10 years in my state. 
  2. It's worth finding out for sure from a lender or closing company but it's likely that you need to give up on the idea of buying a house; JUST FOR NOW...until this is cleared up.
  3. You didn't mention it but if you were like me, it's likely that you're not in a financially smart position to buy a house.  Houses are expensive.  It's better to live super cheap, sell the fancy cars for now, pay off the debt aggressively, while pursuing your career.  Keeping up with your friends or trying to live like your parents (after they worked for 30+ years for what they have now) is a dumb move long term.  Double or triple down with getting your financial life back on track and you'll launch into such a great position when you come out the other side.  BE ENCOURAGED!!

Wow this took 45 minutes to write....I wanted to write all this because it's less common information on this forum...maybe it will help you and other people that can find this same thread.  Feel free to PM me on here or creditboards if you want.  Same username.  Cheers and goodnight!

rated:
BostonOne said:   Start by sending them a letter that says "I dispute. Please validate."


 

  
Do this first.

rated:
not sure why you redded me myfrogger. Are you implying OP should continue on just assuming the debt is his and valid?

The important thing, I believe is whether or not OP registered for classes. This should be verified during the debt verification process. If OP didn't register for classes, it's likely the debt is invalid.

source:
https://forum.freeadvice.com/education-law-47/college-trying-cha...
https://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=137204
https://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=189997

rated:
imbatman said:   
BostonOne said:   Start by sending them a letter that says "I dispute. Please validate."


 

  
Do this first.

  There's already a judgment.  Validation likely won't help at this point.  The damage is done.

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