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The real estate, mortgage and escrow industries frequently intersect with my business when someone needs to clear a judgment lien in order to finish a refinance or sale of a home.  I have found that most of these professionals do not know how to remove a judgment lien on real property after a judgment has been satisfied.    Most of these professionals incorrectly believe it is the responsibility of the judgment creditor.

A judgment lien on real estate is created when a judgment creditor records an abstract of judgment in a county where the judgment debtor has property.  A recorded abstract of judgment also attaches to all property the judgment debtor currently owns and all after acquired property in that county. 

When a judgment is satisfied by the debtor, the judgment creditor must file with the court a satisfaction of judgment.  If the creditor has recorded an abstract it must list the counties it was recorded in and the number of the recorded document.  Once this document is filed it is to be served on the judgment debtor.    However, the filing of the satisfaction of the judgment does not release the judgment lien created by the abstract of judgment.   The judgment debtor is responsible to record the satisfaction of judgment in the county where the property is held.  To accomplish, the judgment debtor needs to obtain a certified copy of the satisfaction of judgment and take it to the county recorder’s office and pay the recording fee.