Indiana judgment records are documents that state a court's final decision following a judicial proceeding. It establishes the grievance of a party and indicates the relief the aggrieved party is entitled to. A judgment record is a part of the overall case record the court preserves for a civil law case. Like most Indiana court records, the Office of the Clerk in any of the state's courts creates and maintains judgment files.
Judgment records typically contain details of the proceeding including, the date of the judgment, the obligation the parties in the case must perform and the name of the plaintiff and the defendant. Also included in the record is the judge's signature, and the names of the legal representatives of each side (if present).
What is a Judgment?
Rule 54 of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure defines a judgment as a decree or any order from which an appeal lies. A judgment is the court's resolution over a legal dispute and it states the right of a petitioner to receive relief for suffering an injury. This could be monetary compensation, receipt of some service, or protection from some undesirable service.
Indiana Judgment Laws
Indiana judgment laws are a body of stipulations detailing legal expectations regarding verdicts in the state. These include issues about the creation of judgment, its functions, applicability, and limitations.
What is a Judgment Lien?
A judgment lien is a legal interest placed on a debtor's property following the court's decision in a civil dispute. The judgment lien gives the case winner the right to seize or sell the loser's property to use the proceeds to cover for the debt owed. Indiana also refers to judgment liens as judicial liens – a class of liens for debt collection purposes.
What is an Indiana Summary Judgement?
A summary judgment in Indiana is a rapid case resolution without the added procedure of a trial. A court issues a summary judgment when there is no genuine issue regarding the case facts, testimonies, or other evidence. Therefore, the summary judgment allows for faster disposal of litigation with no factual basis that would only waste the court's time.
To initiate a summary judgment, one of the parties in the dispute must file a summary judgment motion with or without affidavits. The party filing the motion must refer to the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admission, matters of judicial notice, and other documents to support the motion. Rule 56 of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure covers summary judgment guidelines.
What is A Summary Judgment Motion In Indiana?
A summary judgment motion is a legal filing in a civil dispute for speedy resolution due to the non-existence of facts. If the motion is unopposed - the other party does not present evidence contrary to the motion indicating the existence of a genuine issue - the application proceeds to a hearing. Following the court's deliberation, the court may pass or deny the motion. If the court honors the motion, the judicial center may render immediate judgment on the undisputed part or all of the civil matter to prevent delay of judgment.
A claimant may only file a summary judgment motion after twenty days from the commencement of the civil action or after the opposing party serves a summary judgment. The defendant may also file for a summary judgment at any time during the proceedings of the civil case.
Indiana Judgment Record Search
Indiana Access to Public Records Act grants citizens the right to access public information, including judgment files. Judgment records in Indiana are obtainable through various means. The first is by searching with the court which handled the case. Once located, an interested person may request a judgment record from the Office of the Clerk of the Court. The inquirer's request must give details about the case to help the clerk locate the document faster. Secondly, an interested individual may access judgment files remotely using mycase.in.gov. The third means of searching for judgment records is by using third-party websites that provide information on court records in Indiana.
How Do I Look Up a Judgment In Indiana?
Judgments are public information and thus are obtainable by members of the public. The record of a judgment is included with the court record maintained for a civil case, and therefore, a party may view a judgment by looking up the entire court record. A judgment document is also accessible by requesting a copy from the Clerk's Office, where the case was decided. An interested person may submit a request in person at the courthouse or by mail. The court clerk may charge a fee to make a copy of the judgment file. Also, a party may look up a judgment record online, either on the public access system provided by the state's judiciary or on third-party websites.
What Happens if You Have a Judgment Against You in Indiana?
An individual against whom a judgment exists must perform the action therein. The action may be in the form of monetary compensation, the completion of an obligation, or the cessation of an undesirable service. If the person refuses to act accordingly, the creditor may take further legal steps against the debtor to collect the judgment. One of these is imposing a judgment lien on the defaulter's property. The lien provides security for the person expecting relief, and if the obligation is not delivered, the lender may sell the defaulter's property to cover the debt owed. Other tools include garnishment of wages.
Furthermore, the defaulter becomes liable to increased interest on the judgment after a specific amount of time has elapsed. Pending verdicts also appear on credit reports as debt, which negatively impacts credit ratings.
How Do I Find Out If I Have Any Judgments Against Me In Indiana?
Parties may find out about any unsettled judgment by making inquiries at the courthouse. The Office of the Clerk of the Court may declare any pending judgment and provide instructions on fulfilling the obligations on the decision record. However, if the defendant was not available during the court proceedings and the court entered a default judgment, the plaintiff must notify the accused party of the judgment. This could be either by posting a publication through a media outlet or by certified mail. Thus, a concerned party may realize a judgment against them through media publications, particularly newspapers, and by checking the mail for any delivered judgment notice.
How Long Does A Judgment Stay On Your Record?
Judgments in Indiana are valid for ten years from the date of the entry. Within this time, the winning party is eligible to collect the verdict. However, the court permits the extension of judgment within the state for another ten years. This implies that a judgment may be visible on an individual's record for up to twenty years if it remains unsettled.
How To Enforce A Judgment In Indiana
A creditor has access to several tools to enforce a judgment legally. As soon as the court issues the judgment, the creditor may attempt foreclosing on any real estate or personal property that the judgment debtor owns for the first ten years. The creditor may place a lien to take away the defaulter's property, such as a home or a vehicle, and sell it for the value of the judgment if it falls within that amount.
Furthermore, a judgment creditor may also request that the debtor's bank account be frozen and apply the non-exempt amounts in the account to settle the judgment. As another option, a judgment creditor may ask that part of the employee's wages be paid to the court clerk and applied to the judgment.
How To Collect A Judgment In Indiana
Various ways through which a creditor may collect a judgment in Indiana include;
An Indiana judgment collection process begins by filing for supplemental proceedings. Through this method, the debtor must appear in court and answer questions under oath about the ability to pay based on the party's income, assets, liabilities, and family size.
If the plaintiff knows the debtor is employed and knows the employer's address, the financier may request that the clerk issue interrogatories to the debtor's employer after filing for the proceedings supplement. A judge may determine whether to impose a garnishment based on the answers to the interrogatories.
Generally, garnishment is a legal process where an action is taken to collect judgment money on behalf of the plaintiff. Indiana law limits the number of garnishments and specifies what types of income may be garnished. Garnishment may only happen once at a time. In the event of a job change, the debtor needs a new garnishment order.
Execution of Personal Property
Execution allows the sale of the debtor's personal property to fund the debt. Collections by this method are strictly controlled by law and are subject to numerous restrictions and exceptions. Hence, it is recommended that the plaintiff consult the services of an attorney.
In the Event of the Debtor's Death
After winning a case, the plaintiff may collect the judgment by filing a claim against the debtor's estate, if the debtor died before satisfying the judgment.
Debtors Who File for Bankruptcy
When the debtor files for bankruptcy and the court finds enough proof to proceed with the bankruptcy, the judgment appears on the bankruptcy petition. Thus, the court must stop the collection process under federal law. When this happens, the plaintiff must file the case with the Bankruptcy Court.
What Happens if a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment in Indiana
When a defendant fails to or refuses to comply with the judgment, the plaintiff may contact a law enforcement officer to act against the party. In addition, the defendant may have to forfeit personal properties and wages to satisfy the debt. If the court finds the debtor in 'contempt of court,' the court might suspend the borrower's professional licenses or increase interest and fees on the judgment.
What Personal Property Can Be Seized in a Judgment in Indiana?
Whenever monetary damages are awarded to a plaintiff, the complainant is entitled to collect the judgment from any property the defendant owns, including personal property or real estate or income, unless the property or income is under federal or state law protection. It is also possible for the plaintiff to index the judgment in other counties where the defendant owns properties by delivering or mailing the certified copy of the judgment to the clerk of the county of interest.
Exemptions automatically apply in certain situations. For instance, if an order is issued to take away a defendant's wages (a garnishment), the order may be subject to applicable state and federal laws. Nevertheless, a defendant is required to "claim" an exemption in writing. However, a creditor may submit a "writ of execution" request to possess the debtor's property if its equity value exceeds the exemptions.
Indiana Judgment Interest Rate
When it comes to monetary compensation, interest accrues from the time the court issues a verdict until the debtor makes a payment, except where otherwise specified by law. In Indiana, the interest rate in the original contract shall not exceed eight percent (8%) even though a higher interest rate may be appropriate according to the agreement before judgment. The interest rate remains at eight percent (8%) if there is no contract between the parties.
What is a Default Judgment?
A default judgment is an automatic verdict against a defendant. Most times, the judge pronounces a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff if the accused party refuses to respond to court papers or notifications. Thus, the defending party must adhere to the details of the judgment. Regardless of this finality, the defendant might be able to vacate the judgment and bring the case back into contention provided that there are credible reasons for the inability to show up in court.
How to File a Motion To Set Aside Default Judgment in Indiana
In Indiana, the courts pass and docket default judgments when the defendant is oblivious to the suit and does not respond in the proper manner. However, once the defendant files a motion to set aside a default judgment, the court reviews the request and finds it fit or unfit. In a case where the court honors the motion, the court schedules a new trial.
How to File a Motion To Vacate Judgment in Indiana
The state of Indiana often uses the term “set aside” rather than “vacate” when referring to the process of canceling a judgment. The outcome is the same regardless. Typically, both the plaintiff and defendant are eligible to file a motion to set aside a judgment. According to the Indiana Rule 60b of Trial Procedure, the best opportunity and only grounds to which a default judgment may be set aside include;
- Newly found evidence
- Surprises, mistakes, or excusable neglect
- Clerical mistakes
- Void judgments
- Satisfied, released, or discharged judgment
- Entry of judgment without the defendant receiving any court notification
- Reversed judgment after the debtor had cleared up the debt
To file a motion to set aside a judgment in Indiana, defendants may follow the steps below;
- Get copies of the case file from the clerk of the court containing the details of the prior case. This may cost $0.30 or more per page.
- Fill out the necessary forms and pay the filing fee.
- Submit the forms to the clerk of the court where the judgment was passed
An interested individual must file the motion not more than one year after the judgment. Also, to a large extent, the decision to set aside the judgment lies with the judge; therefore, it is imperative to seek the services of an attorney to prepare documents, witness testimony, and other evidence to convince the authority for a change.
How To Remove An Abstract Of Judgment In Indiana
An “abstract of judgment” is a summary that depicts the amount of money the losing party owes the plaintiff and places a lien on the debtor’s properties. Ultimately, an abstract lien is a means to ensure that the creditor gets the debt back. As soon as a lien is in place, the creditor must file an abstract of judgment in the county where the court passed the judgment. For properties in other counties, the creditor must file a copy of the judgment with the court clerk for that county.
The best way to remove an abstract of judgment is to pay the lien off. That way, the lienholder may release the lien and sign a “Final Waiver of Lien form.” Alternatively, debtors may avoid the lien by filing for bankruptcy.
As a possible outcome of an abstract judgment, a lien stays on a property for ten years and is renewable for another ten years even if ownership changes. Until a judgment expires, an abstract of judgment remains valid.
How Long Is a Judgment Good For In Indiana
Most judgments in Indiana are good for ten years. However, creditors may renew to extend the collection time frame, but this varies on the type of debt. Hence, for unwritten contracts, creditors may charge debtors for six years while a judgment for a breach of stays for ten years and above.
Indiana Judgment Statute of Limitations Law
Indiana has a different statute of limitation covering judgments. The provisions therein state how much time a creditor may lay claim to a property and how long a judgment may last. Following Indiana Criminal Law and Procedure 34-11-2-12, the statute of limitations of judgment is 20 years, and renewals must be within this time limit.