How to Release a Judgment Lien on Real Property in California

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You can release a judgment lien on real estate in California without losing your right to collect the money another way, such as out of the proceeds from the property's sale. A release of a judgment lien on a property frees that specific property from the lien only, while a discharge or satisfaction indicates full debt payment. You must file a lien release in the recorder's office for each county in which you filed the judgment.

Make a list of all the California counties in which you filed the judgment. Note the total number of counties.

Obtain fill-in release forms from a legal or office supply store. Get a form with noted approval from the California Bar Association. Check the top and bottom of the form for the association's approval.

Contact the recorder's office in each California county where the judgment was filed. Ask for the recording information for the judgment. Write down the filed date and the instrument number next to the matching county for each county on the list. Go to the California Department of Public Health official website to view contact information for California county recording offices.

Complete a release for each county. You need the debtor's name, the amount, file date and instrument number of the judgment and the property address. Note the county's name on the top corner to avoid confusion.

Visit each California county recorder's office. Take the correct release with you. Ask the clerk for notary services. Sign and date the release in front of the notary and have the signature acknowledged by the notary.

File the release in the county recorder's office. Ask for a stamped copy for your records.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want to discharge the judgment entirely, you can visit the official website of the California Judicial Branch to download and print a satisfaction form (see the Resources section of this article). File a completed satisfaction in each county where the judgment was filed.
  • Do not use a satisfaction or discharge of judgment form if you do not intend to satisfy the judgment entirely and end your right to collect.

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