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abstract of judgment

n. a written summary of a judgment which states how much money the losing party owes to the person who won the lawsuit (judgment creditor), the rate of interest to be paid on the judgment amount, court costs, and any specific orders that the losing party (judgment debtor) must obey, which abstract is acknowledged and stamped so that it can be recorded at the county recorder. The purpose of an abstract of judgment is to create a public record and create a lien or claim if necessary on any real estate owned or later acquired by the loser located in the county in which the abstract of judgment is recorded. If the loser does not pay the judgment voluntarily then the winner can force a sheriff's sale of any property to collect. There are several problems: a) to find the county where the loser owns real estate; b) the probability that there are secured loans, tax liens and/or other judgments that come ahead of the judgment lien; c) the possibility that the loser/debtor may go bankrupt and avoid paying the debt.

See also: levy  lien 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications