Skip to Main Content
my account

Small Claims Cases

This legal research guide provides information about small claims cases in justice court and provides links to filing information for select Texas counties.

Judgment Lien

Filing a Judgment Lien

One of the ways in which a creditor could attempt to collect on their judgment is by placing a judgment lien on real property owned by the debtor.  By filing a judgment lien, if the debtor sells any non-exempt property, you may be able to get all or some of the money you are owed from the proceeds of the sale. A judgment lien lasts for ten years.

According to Section 52.001 of the Texas Property Code, a judgment lien cannot attach to any real property that is exempt from seizure or forced sale under Chapter 41 of the Texas Property Code. Homestead property is the most common type of exempt real property.

To file a judgment lien, an abstract of judgment (commonly called an "AJ") must be recorded in the county where the real property is located or where property could be owned in the future. Rules for the issuance of an abstract of judgment can be found in Section 52.002 of the Texas Property Code. Unless you are represented by an attorney, the abstract of judgment must be issued by the justice of the peace court. Some of the Texas justice of the peace courts have a form to request the issuance of an abstract of judgment available on their website. If there is no form available for your justice of the peace court, you will need to contact their office for more information on how to request an abstract of judgment be issued.

Once the abstract of judgment has been issued, it may then be filed with the county clerk where the real property is located. County clerks will require a fee in order to record this document into the property records. Check the county clerk's website or contact their office for their current fee schedule.

See the resources below for more information on filing a judgment lien.

Texas Law

Understanding the Law