Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.
Please allow me to respond in order listed.
1) Is a consent judgement reported in my local paper?
Any judgment that is not governed under a settlement or a confidentiality
claim, or is otherwise sealed is potentially public record. I cannot tell you if your local paper will report it, but the paper can obtain this record, and can potentially publicly disclose it (as it is already public record).
2) Is a CJ reported on my credit report even though I remain current with my payment?
Yes, it is still a judgment so it is still reported against you with the credit bureaus. It still shows it as a debt even if it is being paid regularly.
3) Does the judgement ever expire and if so when?
If you make payments then it does not generally expire. The other party has 7 years to collect and can charge up to12% interest on the balance but if you make a payment, it renews the statute meaning that you could not simply stop paying after 7 years and tel them that they cannot collect.
4) If the debt has not been satisfied at expiration, or I die (highly likely, duh) beforehand does the collection process also stop or will my estate be burdened with this mess.
Your estate remains burdened but if you have no assets, it is fairly tough to obtain this obligation from your executor.
5) Would a Chapter 7 be a better alternative? At least there would be peace in the meantime and only 10 years of reporting for certain.
That depends on the size of this judgment and your other debts. If you have over $10K in debt and you are not expecting to obtain any sort of credit or financing over the next 7-10 years, then bankruptcy may be a viable option. Otherwise, however, it would not serve if you have other obligations, assets, interests, or pursuits.