If you have just paid a judgment, then your next step is understanding how to release an abstract of judgment. Creditors use a recorded abstract of judgment as notification to others that they have placed a lien on your property to satisfy a debt. Once you pay that debt, you can file a document evidencing satisfaction of the judgment, at which time the abstract of judgment is effectively released.
Abstract of Judgment Defined
Creditors use an abstract of judgment to create a lien on a debtor's property. An abstract of judgment is a document provided by a civil court, upon request, confirming that a creditor has received a judgment against a debtor. It lists information about the judgment, such as the judgment amount and date, and contact information for the debtor and creditor. Once filed, the abstract of judgment becomes notice of a lien on debtor property.
Satisfying the Judgment
To release an abstract of judgment typically means to provide notification that the judgment identified in the abstract has been paid. Therefore, the first step in releasing an abstract of judgment is to pay the underlying debt. Depending on state law, this payment is made to the court or to the creditor. After payment, the court will issue a document evidencing satisfaction of the judgment. A debtor can use this document as proof of the paid judgment.
Read More: What is a Judgment Lien?
Filing a Statisfaction of Judgment
To release an abstract of judgment, a satisfaction of judgment must be recorded locally. Depending on state law, either the creditor or the debtor can file the satisfaction of judgment with the local county recorder's office; this typically requires payment of a small fee. The county recorder will include the satisfaction of judgment in the county records.
Your State's Law on Judgments
The process for releasing an abstract of judgment is based on state law. By looking up information on judgments in your state's online legal code, you can know the process for receiving and satisfying judgments. You can also call a civil court clerk to learn how to pay a judgment and receive a satisfaction of judgment. A legal aid office or attorney can give you this information as well.
Based in Richmond, Va., Karen Brown began her professional writing career in 1992. She has expertise in legal topics, federal administration, small-business issues and technical writing. Brown holds a Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.