The document you file is called a Memorandum of Judgment. That document shows the name and number of the court case, and the basics about the judgment. Those basics include:
- The exact date of the judgment
- The judge who entered the judgment
- The dollar amount of the judgment
- Who the judgment is in favor of and against, and
- The last known address of the debtor
You should also check with your local recorder about any special requirements they may have.
You can prepare the document yourself. Some circuit clerk may have forms you can fill out. When it's ready, have the circuit clerk date, sign, and seal it.
Then, take the Memorandum of Judgment to the recorder.
In theory, you can then foreclose on the judgment lien. This means selling the property of the debtor to pay off the debt. In practice, this rarely happens, because there are a lot of rules, and it is very complicated to do.
Debtors can also claim exemptions, which are protections for certain property. They can also stop a foreclosure sale with a bankruptcy, and wipe out both the debt and the lien.
Still, turning a judgment into a lien serves a useful purpose, because it stops the debtor from selling the property. If they do want to sell the property, they will have to pay off your debt first.
Updated: January 2017