Often when a debtor has failed to repay a loan or credit card debt , the creditor will attempt to seek a judgment by filing a lawsuit against the debtor. Once a creditor has won a judgment, they will have the power to collect on that judgment by using aggressive collection tactics such as garnishing wages and seizing the debtor's bank account. Usually a non-secured debt is only collectible for 7 years; but once a judgment is won by the non-secured creditor, that judgment is enforceable for 10 years and can be renewed by the creditor for another 10 years.
For example, if a debtor owed $1000 on a credit card and the last activity on that credit card was December 1, 2006, the ability to collect the debt would expire after December 1, 2013. But if the credit card company wins a judgment against the debtor on November 28, 2009, that judgment would be enforceable until November 28, 2019. To renew the judgment for another 10 years the creditor would need to request a renewal before the expiration of the 10 years (usually within the 9th year). However, judgments that are discharged in bankruptcy can never be collected or renewed. If a debtor has a judgment he/she can discharge that judgment in bankruptcy and the creditor is forbidden from attempting to collect the debt.