A judgment is the court decision that the debtor owes a certain sum of money.

A judgment is valid for 12 years in Maryland, but it can be renewed for an additional 12 years. There is no limit to the number of times a judgment can be renewed.

In addition to the principal amount of the debt there are often additional amounts granted by the court, such as:

  • Pre-Judgment Interest: If your agreement or contract calls for interest, it accrues on the principal amount between the time the debt was incurred and the judgment was granted.
  • Costs: The allowable court costs associated with obtaining the judgment and subsequent court filings. These costs include the cost to file the judgment, any costs for serving the paperwork on the debtor, and post-judgment filings like renewals or garnishments.
  • Attorney Fees: Awarded in cases when a debtor is responsible for legal fees.
  • Post-Judgment Interest: Interest that accrues on the principal amount from the time the judgment was granted to the present date.

In Maryland, the interest rate is 10% for most judgments, and 6% for non-commercial real estate judgments like landlord-tenant disputes.

The law requires payments to be applied in the following order:

  • Post-Judgment Interest
  • Judgment Principal/Pre-Judgment Interest
  • Attorney Fees
  • Court Costs
  • Absolutely! The court file is public record, and is available upon request for at the District Court where the judgment was granted. You can find out where the courthouse is located and other information at http://www.courts.state.md.us/district/directories/courtmap.html.
  • Older cases may be archived. Archived files can be ordered by the court, though it may take several weeks. Contact the court to find out if the file is archived.

Debtors/Defendants are served a copy of the suit. Debtors/Defendants can be served by a Sheriff, Constable, private process server, or by certified mail. However, there is no requirement for pre-judgment service in the case of a Confessed Judgment. In all cases the court sends out a notice to all parties when the judgment is granted or recorded. In addition, when J.P. Jensen was directed to collect your judgment, we sent a letter to your last known address.

The Court provides opportunities to object:

  • When Defendants are served with the complaint, they are given a chance to file an “Intention to Defend” form. When filed the court will set a trial date.
  • When the court grants a judgment, notices are automatically sent explaining there is a thirty-day period to file a motion to vacate the judgment.

There are two types of garnishment.

  • A wage garnishment is the legal process in which the court orders the debtor’s employer to withhold a portion of the debtor’s wages as payment for a debt. For more information, please see our Garnishments page.
  • A bank garnishment is a legal process in which the court orders the debtor’s bank to place a hold on any accounts the debtor may have at that bank. The creditor can then request that any money in the accounts be sent to them as payment for the debt.

Your payroll department calculates the amount. Contact them to learn the exact amount. For the guidelines your payroll department uses see the Wage Garnishment section of this website.

Call us. We may be able to make an adjustment for you.

We attempt to collect from all parties against whom a judgment was granted. However, we are not always successful in finding contact and/or employment information for all Debtors.

Every month a payment is received we send a Judgment Creditor’s Monthly Report to both the debtor and the employer that lists all payments received in that month. It explains how the payments are credited to the debt and giving the new balance due.

When the balance is paid in full a Notice of Satisfaction is filed with the court. Copies of the notice of Satisfaction are also sent to you and your employer (or bank). The Satisfaction document notifies them that the account has been paid in full and no more money should be withheld.