October 20, 2016
A judgment is a document issued by the court which states that money is owed by the person against whom the judgment is entered. This order is public record, meaning that lenders and creditors can check court records for outstanding judgments before going into business with an individual.
A few things to keep in mind about judgments:
(1) It accrues interest at 8% a year from the time it is entered;
(2) It will affect your credit and make borrowing money more expensive;
(3) A judgment does not necessarily have to be for money, it can also be a lien on land which means that it must be paid off before you can sell your property or that a creditor can force you to sell your land in order to satisfy the judgment;
(4) Judgments are effective for 10 years from the date they are entered;
(5) Creditors must use the courts before they can get access to your personal property.
This last point is very important. Creditors must give you notice of your right to claim exemptions in a document that looks like this: https://www.nccourts.org/forms/Documents/252.pdf. Attached to that document will be a blank copy of a motion to claim exempt property, which can also be found here: https://www.nccourts.org/forms/Documents/927.pdf.
This motion must be filled out and filed with the Clerk of Court within 20 days from when you receive it. A copy of your final motion must also be sent to the creditor. Importantly, you cannot attempt to transfer assets or dispose of property in order to avoid the enforcement of a judgment. However, if you cannot pay a money judgment you cannot go to jail and generally, wage garnishment is not an option in North Carolina –except for in a few limited circumstances.
Judgments can seem overwhelming, but an experienced attorney at King Law Offices can help you through this process and help get you the best result possible. Do not wait to take action when a judgment has been entered against you, contact our office and set up an appointment today.