Federal Judgments

Title 28 U.S.C. Section 1962 provides as follows:

"Every judgment rendered by a district court within a State shall be a lien on the property located in such State in the same manner, to the same extent and under the same conditions as a judgment of a court of general jurisdiction in such State, and shall cease to be a lien in the same manner and time. This section does not apply to judgments entered in favor of the United States. Whenever the law of any State requires a judgment of a State court to be registered, recorded, docketed or indexed, or any other act to be done, in a particular manner, or in a certain office or county or parish before such lien attaches, such requirements shall apply only if the law of such State authorizes the judgment of a court of the United States to be registered, recorded, docketed, indexed or otherwise conformed to rules and requirements relating to judgments of the courts of the State."

An abstract of the federal judgment, good for 20 years, must be recorded in the land records for each county to create a lien on the judgment of debtor's property.

Amended Section 52.001, Property Code, specifies that a judgment lien does not attach and does not constitute a lien against a debtor's exempt real property, such as a homestead residence. This bill also specifies that a judgment lien would only become a lien against the homestead when the property no longer constitutes the debtor's homestead. A judgment debtor may, at any time, file an affidavit in the real property records of the county in which the judgment debtor's homestead is located that substantially complies with Subsection (f). A copy of the affidavit is attached to this bulletin. The AJ lien will not have retroactive effect since the property was homestead and exempt at the time the AJ was recorded. Effective September 1, 2007.

Changes/actions required: When you have satisfactory proof that the property in question is homestead, it is no longer necessary to obtain releases of the Abstract of Judgment for sale or loan transactions. Satisfactory proof would be a homestead affidavit claiming the subject property and disclaiming other property when you have no reason to believe that the affidavit is false. Satisfactory proof would also be the affidavit filed in compliance with this statute. An inspection of the property to determine the homestead status is also allowed.



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