Statute of Limitations and Judgment Renewal

A money judgment which has issued from any of the various jurisdictions in the United States will typically have a statute of limitations dictating when the judgment will expire.  In many jurisdictions money judgments can be renewed for a period of time beyond the initial statute of limitations.  Here is an brief explanation of the topic Statute of Limitations and Judgment Renewal.

The statutory method for renewing a judgment will vary by jurisdiction.  In every state where judgment renewal is allowed, there is also a different length of time for how much longer the judgment is renewed.  A quick look at the judgment laws and rules of procedure for the specific state can be researched in order to determine the particulars which apply there.

What this means for a judgment creditor is significant.  If a money judgment remains partially or totally unpaid as the life of the judgment nears expiration, new life can be had for a significant amount of additional time.  This gives a judgment creditor more opportunity to collect his judgment money and thereby truly experience the justice that he is due.  The longer a judgment survives and the longer it is possible to enforce that judgment, then the greater the possibility of gaining satisfaction of it.

Some debtors may elude judgment execution for years.  A vigilant and resourceful creditor may ultimately succeed at enforcing a difficult judgment if given enough time to do so.  The possibility of renewing a judgment and gaining more time can be extremely encouraging to a creditor.

Since the possibilities of judgment renewal and laws concerning the topic are jurisdictionally unique, anyone holding an unpaid judgment would do well to seek accurate information about the subject as it relates to their own judgment.  The statutes of limitations on renewing a judgment are set in concrete.  One would be wise to face the topic well before the date of expiration.  As a matter of fact, in some states it is necessary to start the renewal process well in advance of the expiration date.  After a judgment expires is normally too late to renew.  Be aware and be forewarned of your judgment time limit.

Renewal of money judgments is great for a creditor.  There are even some states where a judgment can be renewed perpetually.  Let’s take advantage of renewal if we need to in order to collect our judgments.

The obligor owes us for a reason, the court agreed with us in our lawsuit.  Let’s get paid!


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Lack of Proper Service: Greatest Challenge to Default Judgment

The most common thing that leads to a default judgment is when my adversary fails to be present at a hearing, trial, or court proceeding requiring his appearance.  After I have been awarded a default money judgment based on the failure of my legal opponent to appear, his best chance to have the default judgment set aside is by claiming that he was never made aware of the complaint against him, or of the time and date of the proceeding that he missed.  Basically my judgment debtor’s claim that there was a lack of proper service is the most likely challenge that he will make to my default judgment.

Here’s link to a previous article about default judgments.

Proper “Service” refers to the delivery of a writ, summons and complaint, criminal summons, or other notice or order by an authorized server upon another. Proper service thereby provides official notification that a legal action or proceeding against an individual has been commenced.

If my adversary is not aware that I filed an action against him with the court, he cannot be expected to know when and where to appear to defend himself.  It wouldn’t be fair and just according to our American system of jurisprudence.  Therefore our courts require proper service or official notification to take place.

If my judgement debtor can convince the court that he lacked knowledge of the claims and court proceedings, then the court may under certain circumstances set aside the default money judgment that it previously had awarded to me.  The courts have a bias toward making sure that defendants have a fair opportunity to appear and offer a defense against the claims made by the plaintiffs.

When I obtain a default judgment I want to be able to prove that proper service did indeed take place during the prejudgment progression of my lawsuit.  I want to make doubly sure that my process of service in my suit can be easily proven by the existence of a properly executed return receipt and with an inclusion of the clerk’s notation that service has been properly completed.  With this showing in my favor the court will place the burden of proof upon my opponent of establishing lack of service by clear and convincing evidence.

Once my judgment debtor has indisputable knowledge of the judgment against him, the court will only allow a small window of time in which to timely file a motion to set aside the default judgment.  As time passes, my debtor loses the opportunity to challenge the judgment.  Taking this into account, I will wait for the 30 day stay from executing a judgment to expire, and I will send a copy of the Acknowledgement of Judgment to the debtor and then make no attempt to collect the judgment debt for at least 30 days.  I do not want to inadvertently push the debtor into trying to have the judgment overturned right away.  I just want to be able to prove he knew of the judgment on a date certain.  Then I want to sit quietly while his window of opportunity to attack the judgment passes away.  In my state if I can prove the debtor knew of the judgment and he nevertheless failed to take quickly to attack the judgment, I will likely prevail in any delayed attempt to attack the judgment months or years later.

If my opponent comes out of the woodwork later trying to attack the judgment saying he was not properly served at any point in the lawsuit, he will have acted too late.  The statute of limitations will have gotten him.

Even in cases where lack of proper service can reasonably be argued, if I can prove that my adversary knew of the lawsuit or judgment at a certain time, and then if I can show that he was negligent in pursuing his arguments, defenses, or counter claims, then my default judgment will withstand his too belated attempts to attack it.

Let’s review the main points of this article.  The most common method for my judgment debtor to attack the validity and enforceability of my default judgment is to present a claim that a lack of proper service occurred.  Whether or not this argument will hold water, there is a small window of opportunity within which my opponent can succeed with this type of argument.  After a final judgment is made, the passage of time is advantageous to my defeating the “lack of proper service” post judgment attack.

Now let’s go get our judgment money!


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Don’t Encourage the Judgment Debtor to Appeal

Here is an explanation of what I mean when I say “don’t encourage the judgment debtor to appeal.”

As soon as I have won my lawsuit and have been awarded a money judgment, it is only natural that I will be anxious to get on with collecting my money as soon as possible.  After all it has been quite some time since my legal adversary engaged in the wrongful activity that led to me filing my claim against him in court.  I have had to wait as patiently as I could for the entire legal process to play out in my lawsuit.  In some cases it may be months or years since the original cause of action.  I am ready to get my money and experience justice.  The court judgment has proven my case.  I won a money judgment and I want my money now.

This is all well and good but there is needs to be some consideration on my part about the possibility that my judgment debtor could choose to appeal the court’s judgment that I won against him.

In essentially every court and jurisdiction there is a statute of limitations for filing an appeal to a lawsuit.  Normally the time limit to appeal expires in a reasonably short amount of time.  For example, in some cases the window of opportunity to file an appeal may be only a few weeks or so.

With this fact in mind, I need to be cautious about what judgment collection activities I engage in prior to the expiration of the statute of limitation for appeals.  If I appear to be extremely aggressive in my approach towards enforcing my judgment, I may inadvertently be pushing my legal adversary towards filing an appeal.  I certainly do not want to do that.

The last thing I want after having already fought and won a favorable money judgment, is to have to go back to court for further litigation against my legal enemy.  After all, it would not only be costly in terms of time, money, and energy, there is also the real possibility that I could lose my case in appeals court.

Rather than risk facing an appeal, I would rather lay low for the relatively short space of time necessary until the statute of limitations for appeals has run its course.  I will be very conscientious about making sure that my judgement debtor does not feel unnecessarily threatened by anything that I do during this time period.

During the time when an appeal can be filed, I prefer for my judgment debtor to forget that I exist, and I want him to think that I have no intention of ever aggressively enforcing the money judgment that I was awarded.  I don’t want him to have any idea that I am even thinking about collecting my judgment.

While I am laying low I am not inactive by any means.  I am still quite active, but in a quiet and behind the scenes sort of way.  I am busy pursuing a comprehensive post judgment investigation of my judgment debtor and my judgment debtor’s assets.  I am learning everything that can be learned about him and his assets so that I can be fully prepared to collect my judgment money as soon as the time for appeals has elapsed.

As soon as an appeal is no longer a threat, I will be ready to implement my plan to seize, freeze, levy, and garnish according to my plan of enforcement.

If bankruptcy is commonly considered the worst enemy of a judgment creditor, the filing of an appeal by my judgment debtor might be the second worst enemy.  I would serve my own cause best by doing everything wisely to avoid pushing my debtor into an appeal.  Most judgment debtors will not go to the time or expense to file an appeal unless they feel that their judgment creditor is seriously able and willing to make them pay.

It behooves me to exercise patience for the first few weeks after winning my lawsuit.  There is truth in the statement that “patience is a virtue.”

Good luck as you collect your judgment money!


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Judgment Statute of Limitations

Judgment Statute of Limitations by State

I guess sometimes to a judgment debtor it can seem like a money judgment lasts for an eternity.  Actually it only seems like eternity.  The truth is that court judgments do eventually expire.  Exactly when a judgment expires depends upon the judgment laws for the jurisdiction the judgment is from.  From state to state there is a post judgement statute of limitations.

Did you ever own an unpaid money judgment and wonder how long it will last?  A civil judgment in New Mexico may not have the same length of life as a similar judgment from New Hampshire.  Within its judgment law every state has its own statute of limitations on the life of a judgment.

Anyone who owns an uncollected judgment needs to know how long the judgment will survive before it legally expires.  Naturally a judgment creditor has a serious vested interest in knowing this information.  It could be a big mess if a judgment creditor continued to pursue collection activities against his judgment debtor if the judgment was no longer alive and kicking.

No judgment owner ever needs to give the debtor a valid reason to file any kind of suit based upon an illegal collection practice for continuing to try enforcing an out of date judgment.

It only makes sense for a judgment holder to be sure of when his money judgment will expire.

If you own an old judgment that is still unsatisfied, you also will want to know whether your judgment can be renewed beyond the original statute of limitations.  If you can renew your judgment and if you need to do so, it will be just as important for you to know what steps you have to take to successfully renew your judgment before it expires.

In some states it is possible to revive a dead judgment that didn’t get renewed prior to the expiration of the judgment statute of limitations.  If you are in this sort of situation you will be interested in finding out if your state allows a revival of a judgment.

We will give you the judgement statute of limitations by state for the various states in the USA.  Laws change and we can’t guarantee that this list will be 100% accurate for all of time, so go check your own state codes to confirm the current judgement statute of limitations for your own judgment.  You should find it helpful to discover the post judgment statutes of limitation for your state.


  1. Alabama – 20 Years
  2. Alaska – 10 Years
  3. Arizona – 5 Years
  4. Arkansas – 10 Years
  5. California – 10 Years
  6. Colorado – 20 Years
  7. Connecticut – 20 Years
  8. District of Columbia – 20 years
  9. Delaware – Unlimited
  10. Florida – 20 Years
  11. Georgia – 7 Years
  12. Hawaii – 100 Years
  13. Idaho – 5 Years
  14. Illinois – 20 Years
  15. Indiana – 20 Years
  16. Iowa – 10 Years
  17. Kansas – 5 Years
  18. Kentucky – 15 Years
  19. Louisiana – 100 Years
  20. Maine – 20 Years
  21. Maryland – 12 Years
  22. Massachusetts – 20 Years
  23. Michigan – 10 Years
  24. Minnesota – 10 Years
  25. Mississippi – 7 Years
  26. Missouri – 10 Years
  27. Montana – 10 Years
  28. Nebraska – 20 Years
  29. Nevada – 6 Years
  30. New Hampshire – 20 Years
  31. New Jersey – 20 Years
  32. New Mexico – 14 Years
  33. New York – 20 Years
  34. North Carolina – 10 Years
  35. North Dakota – 10 Years
  36. Ohio – 21 Years
  37. Oklahoma – 5 Years
  38. Oregon – 10 Years
  39. Pennsylvania – 5 Years
  40. Rhode Island – 20 Years
  41. South Carolina – 10 Years
  42. South Dakota – 20 Years
  43. Tennessee – 100 Years
  44. Texas – 10 Years
  45. Utah – 8 Years
  46. Vermont – 8 Years
  47. Virginia – 10 Years
  48. Washington – 10 Years
  49. West Virginia – 10 Years
  50. Wisconsin – 20 Years
  51. Wyoming – 5 Years

Happy judgment collecting!


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State Statutes

If you want to know any details of judgment law, we are here to help.  To assist you to collect your money judgment we are providing these links to codes or statutes for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Judgment laws often vary from state to state and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.   Here you will find the actual laws posted by the various state governments.

State             URL                                                                                                                          Annual Interest Rate     Statute/Limitations

  1. Alabama 7.5%                             20 Years

2. Alaska         3.75%                             10 Years

3. Arizona                         10%                                 5 Years

4. Arkansas 10%                               10 Years

5. California 10%                                10 Years

6.  Colorado          8% compounded                                 20 Years

7.  Connecticutt 10%                                20 Years

8.  D.C. 2%                                 20 Years

9.  Delaware 5.75%                           unlimited

10.  Florida 4.75%                                 20 Years

11.  Georgia 6.25%                           7 Years

12.  Hawaii 10%                              100 Years

13.  Idaho 5.25%                        5 Years

14.  Illinois 9%                               20 Years

15.  Indiana 8%                               20 Years

16.  Iowa 2.16%                         10 Years

17.  Kansas

4.75%                           5 Years

18.  Kentucky 12%  compounded                          15 Years

19.  Louisiana 4.0%                         100 Years

20.  Maine                6.12%                        20 Years

21.  Maryland 10%                            12  Years

22.  Massachusetts 12%                              20 Years

23.  Michigan 2.083% compounded                        10 Years

24.  Minnesota 4%                              10 Years

25.  Mississippi                     7 Years

26.  Missouri 9%                              10 Years

27.  Montana 10%                            10 Years

28. Nebraska                                                                                        2.056%                       20 Years

29.  Nevada 5.25%                          6 Years

30.  New Hampshire 2%                           20 Years

31.  New Jersey .5%                           20 Years

32.  New Mexico 8.75%                         14 Years

33.  New York 9%                              20 Years

34.  North Carolina 8%                             10 Years

35.  North Dakota 6.5%                           10 Years

36.  Ohio 3%                              21 Years

37.  Oklahoma 5.25% compounded                        5 Years

38.  Oregon 9%                              10 Years

39.  Pennsylvania 6%                              5 Years

40.  Rhode Island 12%                           20 Years

41.  South Carolina 7.25% compounded                       10 Years

42.  South Dakota 10%                            20 Years

43.  Tennessee 10%                           100 Years

44.  Texas 5% compounded                                 10 Years

45.  Utah 2.12%                        8 Years

46.  Vermont 12%                           8 Years

47.  Virginia 6%                           10 Years

48.  Washington 12%                           10 Years

49.  West Virginia 7%                             10 Years

50.  Wisconsin 4.25%                          20 Years

51.  Wyoming 10%                          5 Years

You may also be interested in checking out the statutes of limitations for judgments in the various states.  You can read them in this post by clicking on this link:

Wishing you much success in collecting your money judgment,


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