In Alabama, if someone wins a monetary judgment against you, they can record the judgment in the probate office where you live to place a “judgment lien” against property (real or personal) that you may now own or own in the future. The judgment lien will last for 10 years automatically and then may be renewed for another 10 years (see Alabama Code §6-9-210). If the lien is not renewed it is presumed satisfied.
The judgment lien will accrue interest at the contract rate of interest or 7.5% if the judgment is not based upon a contract (see Alabama Code §8-8-10).
Once a judgment is recorded in Alabama, there are three ways of dealing with the lien:
1) You may choose to pay the judgment against you to obtain a release from the other party. Upon receipt of a release, you should record the release in the same probate office where the lien was recorded to ensure that the lien is removed from your property.
2) You may file for bankruptcy to remove any judgment liens that impair any exemptions that Alabama law provides to you (see “What are Exemptions in Bankruptcy”).
3) You may choose to ignore the judgment lien if you do not have any real property or personal property that exceeds $3,000. The lien cannot attach to property if you do not have property for it to attach. Before choosing this option, it would be best to contact your local Bond & Botes office in Alabama and setup a free consultation.
It is essential to not ignore the judgment lien without first meeting with a licensed Alabama attorney. At Bond & Botes we offer a free consultation to discuss your financial needs so give us a call today.