If you have completely paid, or are close to paying an outstanding judgment, it’s important to know your next steps. A civil judgment can carry several consequences with it that wreak havoc on your life. Notifying relevant parties that you no longer have an active judgment is a step toward a more stress-free life.
Once a Judgment Is Paid What Happens?
Once a judgment is paid, whether in installments or a lump sum, a judgment creditor (the person who won the case) must acknowledge that the judgment has been paid by filing a Satisfaction of Judgment form with the court clerk. The filing of the release and Satisfaction of Judgment makes it clear to credit rating agencies, potential future creditors, and all others that the person who lost the case (the judgment debtor) has met his or her obligations and satisfied the judgment against them.
If the judgment creditor has recorded a lien on real property, he or she must, by law, take certain steps to ensure that the lien is removed. See Texas Property Code §52.0012.
The small claims clerk in each of Texas’s courts can assist by directing you to the appropriate forms, or please contact Houston attorney Seth Kretzer for help with resolving outstanding judgment issues.
How to Find Out If a Judgment Is Satisfied
If a judgment creditor receives payment in full on a judgment but fails to file a Satisfaction of Judgment form with the court, the judgment debtor should request that the creditor take this required action by way of a “Satisfaction of Judgment Letter.”
Use of a trackable mailing service such as Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested by the United States Postal Service, or similar registered overnight carrier, is recommended. If, after written demand, the judgment creditor still doesn’t file the release and Satisfaction of Judgment within the required number of days provided in the request (15 to 30 days is a reasonable timeframe), the judgment debtor may make a motion with the court to recover all provable damages he or she suffers as a result of the failure (for example, denial of a credit application).
The release and Satisfaction of Judgment form should be signed by the judgment creditor when the judgment is paid, and then filed with the court clerk in the court where the case was heard.
If either party ever needs a copy of the Satisfaction of Judgment form later, the court clerk can readily provide a certified copy of the filed version of the Satisfaction of Judgment form. In order to prove you are entitled to a copy, bring to the court, or otherwise transmit to the court, documents including proof of payment such as a canceled check and a statement signed you indicating that the creditor has been paid in full.
What Is a Satisfaction of Judgment?
What is a release and satisfaction of judgment? Under Texas state law, a Satisfaction of a Judgment is a document showing that the amount owed by the debtor has been paid in full. The Satisfaction of Judgment is a form available in each Texas county, but generally includes:
- the names of the parties to the judgment
- the caption and docket number of the suit
- the court in which the judgment was rendered
- the type of court the case was disposed of
- the date and amount of the judgment, and the date of issuance and return of the execution
The release is an accompanying legal document that indicates the creditor thereby releases the debtor of any further obligations.
To be valid, the Satisfaction of Judgment must be signed by the creditor party. Specifically, Texas law states that a Satisfaction of Judgement must include “a receipt, acknowledgement, or release that is signed by the party entitled to receive payment of the judgment or by that person’s agent or attorney of record and that is acknowledged or proven for record in the manner required for deeds.” See Texas Property Code §52.005 (2).
Release and Satisfaction of Judgment Letter
If a creditor has not properly orchestrated the process of the execution of the release and the Satisfaction of Judgment, it is time to reach out to your creditor yourself or ask Houston judgment defense lawyer Seth Krezter to reach out on your behalf by way of sending a Satisfaction of Judgment Letter. The letter will ask the creditor to execute a Satisfaction of Judgment and to file it with the court where your matter was heard, as well as copy you on all correspondence with the court so that you may maintain a paper trail.
How to File Satisfaction of Judgment
Satisfactions of Judgments are filed with the court clerk in the county where the judgment was initially rendered, and the case was heard.
Attorney Seth Kretzer Can Help Relieve Judgment Issues
If you need legal help with a Satisfaction of Judgment, you will need a lawyer with specific experience on Satisfaction of Judgment issues in Texas who has the right knowledge and resources to help you.
Contact Houston lawyer Seth Kretzer today to discuss your case.