What Is a Certificate of Judgment?

A certificate of judgment is issued by a court clerk.

There are many reasons why a person may file suit against another. Many people assume that a court judgment in their favor results in due payment, however, this is not always the case. If a court has ordered someone to pay you money, and that person still refuses, you may need to obtain a certificate of judgment.



In order to file a certificate of judgment against another individual, you must first receive a legal judgment in your favor. If the party found to be at fault fails to make payment in part or in full, within the time frame set by the court, you may file a certificate of judgment against him. A certificate of judgment is a document made by the clerk of the court in which your judgment was issued that creates a lien on the debtor's property.


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The lien created by the certificate of judgment is effective from the date of filing and applies to all property belonging to the guilty party that is located in the county of the court where the certificate is issued or transferred. This includes the debtor's home, automobile and any other forms of applicable property and assets. The debtor receives notice of this lien when the certificate is delivered to his place of residence or employment.



When your debtor does not live or work in the same area or county as the small claims court where your verdict was issued, the best way to ensure that you receive the money you are due is to obtain a certificate of judgment. Once a certificate of judgment has been issued, the court clerk affixes an official court seal onto the document, which allows it to be transferred from one court to another. As a result, the court located in the debtor's area can uphold and demand payment on your behalf.



To file a certificate of judgment, you need to obtain the appropriate application form from the court where your judgment was issued. The fee for application varies, and may be included as part of the payment due from the debtor. The application can be mailed or submitted in person.