Do you know the difference between a judgment and a judgment lien? Are you familiar with the different ways that judgment liens are created? These questions are important to keep in mind when conducting a public records search.
A judgment is an official decision made by a court resolving a legal dispute and setting forth the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved. A judgment lien is a type of lien that attaches to a defendant’s property as a result of a judgment and is used to collect on that judgment.
In many states, a judgment doesn’t become a lien on the defendant’s property until the plaintiff makes an additional filing and records the judgment in the county where the property is located. However, in other states, a judgment entered by the court automatically becomes a lien on the property of the defendant located within the county. In these states, the plaintiff is not required to separately record the judgment to create a lien on the defendant’s property, as long as the property is located in the same county that the judgment is entered.
States often have different rules depending on the type of property involved. Most, if not all, states allow a judgment lien to attach to a defendant’s real property. Some states allow for a judgment lien to attach to a defendant’s personal property. In the states that allow a judgment lien to attach to both real and personal property, the method by which the lien is created may differ based upon the type of property.