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March 10, 2019

Judgment


Word of the day

Judgment

The formal decision of a court on the respective rights and claims of the parties to an action or suit. A judgment that has been entered and recorded with the county recorder usually becomes a general lien on the property of the defendant.

A purely statutory general lien on real and personal property belonging to a debtor. Usually the lien covers only property located within the county where the judgment is rendered; notices of the lien must be filed in other counties when the creditor wishes to extend the lien cover¬age. To collect the amount of the judgment, the court is asked to issue a legal document, called a writ of execution, directing the sheriff to seize and sell as much of the debtor’s property as is necessary to pay the debt and the expenses of the sale. A judgment lien differs from a mortgage in that a judgment lien does not have a specific parcel of real estate given as security at the time that the debtor-creditor relationship is created.

The law in the state where the real estate is located determines priority of liens. A judgment takes its priority as a lien on the debtor’s property on one or a combination of the following dates: (1) the date the judgment was entered by the court, (2) the date the judgment was filed for record in the recorder’s office, or (3) the date an execution was issued. Judgments are enforced through the issuance of an execution and the ultimate sale of the debtor’s real or personal property by a sheriff. When the property is sold to satisfy a debt, the debtor should demand a legal document known as a satisfaction judgment, which should be filed with either the clerk of the court or, in some states, with the recorder of deeds so that the record is cleared of the judgment.

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