Do Judgments Ever Expire?

Suppose you were awarded a money judgment against an opposing party but, not surprisingly, the defendant didn’t immediately write you a check to satisfy the debt. How long is your judgment valid?

In North Carolina, a judgment is valid for ten years from the date it was awarded by the Court. The judgment can be renewed for another ten years, giving a judgment creditor additional time to try to collect the money owed. A judgment is renewed by filing a second lawsuit for the remaining amount due on the original judgment. This second lawsuit must be filed within ten years of the date the original judgment was entered – most often it is done just a few months before the ten year expiration in order to maximize the length of both judgments. The attorneys at Black, Slaughter & Black have experience in renewing judgments and would be pleased to assist you with this process.

You may ask yourself why you should to initiate the second lawsuit if you have been unsuccessful in collecting on the first judgment. While there is no guaranty that you will be able to collect on the second judgment, there are many benefits to renewing the judgment.

First, a judgment operates as a lien on real property owned by the defendant. It is a good idea to contact an attorney with Black, Slaughter & Black to assist in making sure that the judgment is properly recorded in all counties in which the defendant owns real property. Having a lien on the real property can make it difficult for the defendant to sell the property without paying off the judgment.

Second, a judgment reflects poorly on credit reports and may have a negative impact on a defendant’s ability to purchase a new home or vehicle or obtain a loan.

Finally, a defendant may not have had sufficient assets within the first ten years to satisfy the original judgment. But, in an ideal world, we all hope to be in a better financial position in the future – by obtaining raises or bonuses at work, completing new degrees that allow for better paying jobs, etc. The “renewed” judgment extends the time for collecting on the judgment, so if the defendant does find itself in a better financial position, the judgment creditor may have a better likelihood of collecting the money owed.

The attorneys at Black, Slaughter & Black in both the Greensboro and Charlotte offices would be pleased to work with you to renew and collect on your judgment.