Are Judgments Public Record?

By definition a judgment is a final decision made by a judge based on material evidence during a case in a court of law. There are different types of judgments, including financial, family and criminal, all of which the general public can access.

Public Record Definition

A public record is any legal document that is ordered, created and maintained by the government. These documents are available for the public to review and obtain a copy of. A judgment falls within this category of public record and anyone can view it.

Financial Judgments

A judgment goes on your public record once a judge has ruled in favor of the company, or person, who has taken you to court over a debt. This can include non-payment of a debt, small claims court rulings and other legal issues involving the payment of money. All liens on personal property are also a matter of public record.

Family Court

The family court hands down many different judgments including divorce. When the divorce is finalized all information pertaining to it, including division of property, children involved and reasons, are a matter of public record. An injunction such as an order of protection is also considered a judgment that is public record.

Criminal Courts

All criminal rulings, including burglary and sex crimes, are considered a matter of public record. Searchable judgements in the public records include criminal misdemeanors, felonies and DUI rulings and can include pleas which are referred to as judgment by confession.

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About the Author

Heather Leigh Landon has been a writer since 1988 when she started her career as a stringer for "The McHenry Star News." Since then she has worked for newspapers such as "The Woodstock Independent," "The Northwest Herald" and "Press Journal." Landon graduated from William Rainey Harper College with an Associate of Applied Science in journalism.