Judgment Lien

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Definition of 'Judgment Lien'

A judgment lien is a legal claim on a debtor's property that is obtained by a creditor after a court has ruled in the creditor's favor. The lien gives the creditor the right to sell the property to satisfy the debt if the debtor fails to pay.

Judgment liens are typically used to collect debts that are not secured by collateral, such as unpaid medical bills or credit card debt. In order to obtain a judgment lien, the creditor must first file a lawsuit against the debtor and obtain a judgment from the court. The judgment lien then attaches to all of the debtor's property, both real and personal.

There are a few exceptions to the general rule that all of a debtor's property is subject to a judgment lien. For example, certain types of property, such as retirement accounts and Social Security benefits, are generally exempt from creditor's claims. Additionally, some states have homestead exemptions that protect a certain amount of equity in a debtor's home from being seized by creditors.

If a debtor fails to pay a debt that is secured by a judgment lien, the creditor can foreclose on the property and sell it to satisfy the debt. The proceeds from the sale are used to pay the creditor's debt, and any remaining funds are returned to the debtor.

Judgment liens can have a significant impact on a debtor's ability to borrow money or obtain credit in the future. Lenders are often reluctant to lend money to people who have judgment liens against them, as they are considered to be a higher risk of default. Additionally, judgment liens can make it difficult to sell a property, as potential buyers may be wary of purchasing a property that is subject to a lien.

If you are facing a judgment lien, it is important to speak to an attorney to discuss your options. There may be ways to challenge the lien or to negotiate with the creditor to avoid foreclosure.

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