Civil Division, Judgments (Historic Courthouse)
1 Court Square, Graham, NC 27253
phone: (336) 570-5209, fax: (336) 570-5201
A Judgment is a final determination by the Court resolving a given case and is entered into public record. In civil matters, judgments are generally in favor of one party and against another, and are usually for a specified dollar amount.
Legal Effect of a Judgment
Judgments are valid for ten (10) years and are generally awarded for a specific sum of money. Before the expiration of this ten (10) year period, an action may be brought on the judgment which has the effect of renewing the judgment for an additional ten (10) years. Judgments act as a lien against any real property owned by the defendant, which means the plaintiff has the legal right to sell that real property at any time and a defendant must pay the judgment against him/her in its entirety prior to selling that real property themselves. Additionally, judgments are usually detected by credit reporting agencies and can severely impact an individual's credit rating.
Judgment Creditor/Debtor, Judgment Collection
The following is a summation of the process that is required for the plaintiff or judgment creditor to pursue the execution of a judgment awarded against a defendant or judgment debtor:
After the Small Claim or District Court case is heard and a judgment is obtained, it is entered in the public record. The plaintiff (judgment creditor) is required to wait 30 days before beginning the collection process on a District Court judgment and 10 days on a Small Claim judgment.
Once the waiting period has passed, the plaintiff may come to the Civil Division located in the historic courthouse located 1 Court Square, Graham, NC, and pick up a Notice of Rights to Have Exemptions Designated or NORDS packet. This information must be read very carefully to ensure that all of the necessary steps are taken to execute judgments. The forms are also available by clicking on the following links:
The NORDS packet must be officially served either through certified mail or the Sheriff's Office. The fees for the post office may vary but the fee for the Sheriff's Office is $30 per defendant. Payment can be made via business check, money order (payable to the Alamance County Sheriff's Office), as well as cash. The Sheriff's fee applies to the service of NORDS, Writ of Possession, and Writ of Executions.
After the defendant is served with the NORDS, if they are an individual, they have 20 days to return the document to the Clerk of Superior Court's Office. If the debtor is a company the 20 days is waived and the creditor may collect on the company immediately. The Clerk decides which property is exempt and which property can be collected. After the Clerk decides which property is exempt, a copy of this document is served to the defendant and plaintiff. When the plaintiff receives exempt property/judgment amount, the execution process begins. You may access the Writ of Execution form by clicking on the following link: Writ of Execution
- $25 to the Alamance County Clerk of Superior Court
- $30 to the Alamance County Sheriff's Department for each defendant
The execution amount is cross referenced with the amount granted by the judge. Once judgments are granted, interest begins to accrue, and additional court costs may occur. The judgment total is calculated by the Clerk's Office. The Sheriff's Office is in charge of collecting the judgment and distributing it to the plaintiff.
The plaintiff must give the defendant 10 days following the judgment to respond; if the defendant has not responded by the 11th day, then a writ of possession of real property can be issued and served on the defendant by the sheriff. You may access the Writ of Possession of Real Property form by clicking the following link: Writ of Possession Real Property. This form is filled out, brought to the Clerk's Office for endorsement (Civil Division 1 Court Square, Graham, NC), and forwarded to the Sheriff's Office with the service fee below.
- $25 to the Alamance County Clerk of Superior Court.
- $30 to the Alamance County Sheriff's Department for each defendant.
For more information on the processes involved in collecting or paying a judgment and/or the rights of judgment debtors, you may visit or call the Civil Division.