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What is an Abstract of Judgment?

An abstract of judgment is a written list of a judgment that states how much money is to be paid by the losing defendant to the person who won a lawsuit. This includes the amount owed, the interest amount, court costs and all other requirements listed. In order for the abstract judgment to be a legal document, it must be recorded and made official with the government. The questions below have been answered by Experts.

How to get an abstract of judgment and how much does it cost?

Once a judgment has been determined, you will need to go to the county clerk and file an Abstract of Judgment in the county where the debtor has real property. The cost is could change with time. You will also have an additional fee for recording the judgment at the County Clerk's office. Once this is done, the county is aware that you have placed a judgment lien on the debtor's (the person who owes you) real estate in that county. This judgment will probably show up on the person's credit report. You can file in as many counties as you want, but there is a fee each time an abstract is recorded.

Does one have to be notified to receive an abstract of judgment?

Normally, a person is served when the lawsuit is filed. If you were not served or the service was bad, you can have the judgment voided, but the process must take place in the state you reside in.

The first thing you should do is contact the attorney who is collecting for the judgment. Inform the attorney that you were never served the lawsuit. By doing this, you can stall for time to figure out what went wrong with the service and they will halt efforts to collect temporarily. To do this, you need to contact the court where the judgment was filed and get a copy of the return of service.

What should one do if he/she was sent an Abstract of Judgment but was never served papers and did not go to court?

In a situation like this is you would be eligible to have the default judgment set aside, giving you a chance to defend against the lawsuit based on the facts in the case. However, if you know that you owe this debt, you won't have much of a defense. There really wouldn't be reason to go through the process, unless you want to stall for some time before the collection process starts.

If for some reason you find fault in the amount of the judgment or the amount is exaggerated, you may want to file a Motion to Set Aside the default judgment with the court. Once this is filed, the court will set a date for a hearing to hear your argument in regards to the failure to be served. Normally, the court will set aside the judgment, allowing you up to 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.

What is an "Abstract Lien" and can they attach my money market or checking accounts in California?

In California, an abstract of judgment is when a judgment creditor places a lien on your real property, such as your home. The judgment is recorded in the county where the real property is located. Before you can sell your real property, you will have to pay the judgment. However, for a debtor to attach your accounts, they will have to get a writ of execution from the court.

What can one do if he/she cannot find any information on a company that filed an Abstract of Judgment against them?

In California, a judgment is good for 10 years. However, the judgment can be extended if the creditor renews the judgment before the 10-year time frame is up.

If you have tried everything possible to find the creditor and you cannot find them because they are no longer in operation or they have moved without any forwarding address, all you can do at this point is to file a Motion with the Court. You will need to use the same case number that was given to your original judgment. You will then need to ask the court to open an escrow account under your name and someone who is named by the court. If the judgment expires and the creditor hasn't contacted the court, the money will be returned to you. You may want to consider asking the court to deposit your payments into an interest bearing escrow account.

If you have questions or doubts about Abstract of Judgment, you should consult with an Expert who can clarify your doubts and explain how this works.

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