In Georgia, the winner of a money judgment is legally entitled to collect out of the property of the judgment debtor in an amount that satisfies the debt. The judgment creditor may initiate a levy -- that is, he may direct the sheriff to seize certain items of the debtor’s property. The creditor may initiate a garnishment against property or money owned by the debtor, but held by a third party. Additionally, the creditor may place a lien on certain items of the debtor’s property, such that a legal claim is placed on the property until the judgment debt is satisfied or the property is actually levied upon. To file a judgment lien on an automobile in Georgia, first determine whether the judgment debtor truly holds the title to it.
Obtain a writ of fieri facias from the clerk in the court that entered the judgment. Ask the clerk for the appropriate form and complete it. Note that the initial writ of fieri facias may not be issued until 10 days after the date of original judgment.
Download a Request for Vehicle Information form from the Georgia Motor Vehicle Division website (see Resources). With this form, you can request a list of all vehicles owned by the judgment debtor. Complete the form. Indicate that you are a judgment creditor. Attach a certified copy of your fieri facias. Request a “Tag/Title/Lien Vehicle Information Printout.” Include the required fee. You may either mail the documents to the indicated address or visit your local Motor Vehicle Division office in person. Once you know for certain that the automobile is owned outright by the judgment debtor, you can initiate placement of the judgment lien.
Download a Title/Tag Application and a Motor Vehicle Certificate of Title Lien Notice from the Georgia Motor Vehicle Division website (see Resources). Complete both forms. You must complete the "Security Interests or Liens" section of the Title/Tag Application. Make two copies of the application and three copies of the Title Lien Notice.
Collect the original title/tag Application, a copy of the Title Lien Notice, a certified copy of the writ of fieri facias and all required fees, and mail them to the indicated Motor Vehicle Division address via registered mail, return receipt requested.
Mail the original Title Lien Notice to the judgment debtor via registered mail, return receipt requested. Retain your registered mail receipt, a copy of the title/tag application and copy of the Title Lien Notice for your records.
If you find that the automobile is registered in a county other than that in which the judgment was entered, you must visit the court clerk in the other county to have a record of the writ of fieri facias entered on the General Execution Docket.
William Carpenter began writing professionally in 2004, working with nongovernmental organizations and business clients while living in China. He maintains clients in China while writing for a variety of U.S. publications. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Portland State University.