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What Is a Abstract of Judgment? Definition, Uses and Importance.

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An Abstract of Judgement is a court document that states the amount of money a defendant (the debtor) owes the claimant(the creditor), the court costs, and the interest rate on the said amount. 

Here, both parties accept the recorded and stamped Abstract of judgment. Then, the creditor requests for a lien on any of the debtor’s current real estate property. In a case where the debtor fails to repay their debt, the creditor has the right to acquire any current real estate property of the debtor.

In other words, an Abstract of Judgment states the amount a creditor owes their debtor and gives out orders on how they can repay their debts. 

Some examples of real estate properties are canals, lands, fences, railroad tracks, etc. Let’s have an in-depth at other important things to note about Abstract of Judgement. 

Importance of Abstract of Judgement 

Abstract of Judgment is important because:

  • It helps the creditor to lay a legal claim on any of the debtor’s real estate property.
  • It is the best way anyone can recover their money – once an Abstract of judgment is filed and recorded, the losing creditor can go ahead and get their money back.

How is Abstract of Judgement Structured

The claimant has to electronically file their complaint, except the court orders otherwise.

After that, they can get in touch with their debtor and enforce the judgment on them either by placing a lien on their lands or seizing some of their assets. 

Abstract of Judgement is different from Lis Pedens. That’s because an Abstract of Judgement only deals with real property. 

Lis Pendens, on the other hand, only applies to when a claimant has filed a lawsuit regarding a real estate property. It is usually included in divorce cases, especially when there’s yet to be an agreement regarding real estate properties.  

In Lis Peden’s, the claimant may decide to involve the title of the real estate property or outrightly state their interest of ownership in it.

The lifespan of Abstract of Judgement 

The line can go on for at least 10 years. It starts from the day the judgment is recorded and indeed with the county. However, the lien doesn’t affect a judgment that has not been visited over a period it would need to be reviewed.

Uses For Abstract Judgement

Most cases that go through trial and end with a judgment are called an abstract of judgment once it is accepted and recorded. In the case of probate, an abstract of judgment can happen against an estate if creditors file a suit. Another use would be when beneficiaries sue another heir for a breach of probates such as undue influence or fraud. If the case goes to trial the probate court issued a summary judgment order on undue influence.

Related Article: Can You Inherit Debt When Your Parents Die?

Frequently Asked Questions  (FAQs) about Abstract of Judgement

Here are some frequently asked questions about Abstract of Judgement:

How Do You Release an Abstract of Judgement?

To release an Abstract of judgment, there has to be a notification from the court stating that the said judgment has been paid for. 
So, the first thing to do while releasing an Abstract of judgment is to pay any previous debt. The payment for the judgment is often made to the creditor or court, depending on the government involved. 

What happens if a judgment is not paid?

If the debtor refuses to send the statement to the judgment and pay to the creditor, they might be charged for contempt and the court can sanction them subsequently.
That means, the debtor may attract an arrest warrant for themselves and may have to pay attorney’s fees and penalties. 

How do you obtain an Abstract?

You can start by contacting a real estate attorney or a title company of your choice. That’s because title companies often have a trained team of Abstractors, who are knowledgeable enough to study the history of your real estate property.
Secondly, you will be asked to pay a certain fee which varies according to the title company or professionals involved.
Lastly, review the Abstract. The reviewing process can last for days or weeks, depending on the challenges encountered with the lien, property, etc. Usually, the Abstract will State in clear terms, any claims the creditor has against the piece of property, the land boundaries or survey, and even the present titleholder.

What to do after a judgment is paid?

As soon as a judgment is paid for, whether I’m bulk or installment sum, the creditor must publicly acknowledge that the debtor has paid. Then, the court clerk will have the creditor fill and sign on the “Satisfaction of Judgement”.

How do you remove an Abstract of judgment?

A: In removing an Abstract of Judgement, the debtor must be discharged of the Abstract of Judgement. This way, the creditor will remove the lien placed on the debtor’s real estate property.
As a debtor, ensure to reach out to the judgment creditor, arrange and repay your debts. Once that is done, you can ask the creditor to discharge the Abstract of judgment.

Final Thoughts On Abstract Of Judgement

In all, most people are yet to understand the Abstract of Judgement and how it protects them and their money. The goal of this piece is to teach how you can go about recovering your money from a bad debtor in order to get paid back for what belongs rightfully theirs.

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