Judgments, through an “Abstract of Judgment,” are attached as a lien to any non-exempt assets of the debtor in the county. Under Texas law, judgment liens, including credit card judgment liens do not attach to a homesteads (your home-sweet-home). So, while the judgment is filed in the county, it does not attach to a homestead.
Unfortunately, if you want to sell or refinance your home, the title company will require you to get title insurance. The problem is: the only way you can get title insurance is if you get a release of the all liens against your home that’s causing a “cloud” of title to your property. As mentioned in the previous paragraph: a credit card judgment does not attach to a homestead. It’s just that the title company will not issue title insurance while the lien is out there hanging like a dark cloud over your home. That’s a business decision the title insurance company makes, not a legal decision. The lien is a risk they don’t want to take because they cannot be sure that the property has been your homestead the entire time the judgment has been outstanding.
To remedy this problem, you need to first request the judgment creditor’s attorney to sign and issue a partial release of lien. If he doesn’t do that, you can execute an affidavit for a partial release of lien yourself. You can record an affidavit in the property records to show that the property is your homestead. The title company is then supposed to be able to rely on that affidavit to issue a title policy.
Sometimes people are in a bigger hurry to close on a transaction. In that case, the title company may offer to simply hold a judgment payoff in escrow until the lien release is received. You do that “under protest.” Afterwards, you might as well file a lawsuit against the judgment creditor for debt collection harassment.
Again, the judgment lien does not attach to a homestead. You know this because as long as you are not trying to sell or refinance the your home, the judgment creditor cannot foreclose on it.