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The process for acquiring a judgment lien on a judgment debtor’s non-exempt real property, requires a certified copy of the judgment to be recorded in a county’s public records. The entry of a judgment or the recording of a judgment alone does not create a judgment lien. Once the certified copy is recorded, a lien arises with respect to all non-exempt real property owned by the judgment debtor in the county in which the lien was recorded [Fla. Stat. §55.10(1)]. This process needs to be repeated in each country in which the judgment creditor desires to obtain a lien. If the judgment does not contain the address of the judgment creditor, an affidavit including this information must be recorded simultaneously with the judgment. The judgment lien is effective as of the date of recording and will not expire for 10 years from the date of that recording.

Ten years after recordation of the certified judgment, the judgment lien will expire, and the judgment creditor can extend the lien. The process for extending a judgment lien requires the following:

  • A certified copy of the judgment must be re-recorded in a county’s public records;
  • An affidavit with the judgment creditor’s then-current address must be simultaneously recorded, even if the address listed in the judgment is still correct; and
  • The re-recording must take place prior to the expiration of the lien to extend the lien and maintain priority [Fla. Stat. §55.10(2)].

If the re-recording takes place after the expiration of the lien, a new lien is created that does not have priority over previously recorded liens. Once the extended or new lien is recorded, it is effective for up to an additional 10 years. However, a judgment lien may not extend beyond the satisfaction of the judgment or 20 years from the date of the entry of the judgment, which ever occurs first [Fla. Stat. §§55.081 & 55.10(3)].

In separate posts, we give an overview of judgment liens, including what must be included in the judgment, and describe how to obtain judgment liens on personal property.