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What is an Entry of Judgment?

Christopher John
Christopher John

An entry of judgment generally means that a court has formally recorded a judgment in its records or rolls. A court clerk will perform the actual recording of the entry. When a court clerk files a judgment with the court in many jurisdictions, the official entry of judgment is accomplished and no additional action is necessary. Other jurisdictions require the filing of the judgment and recording of it into a logbook or journal before a court will deem it official.

After a judge signs a final judgment, the judge or one of the parties to the action usually submits to the court clerk the original document with copies. The clerk takes the all the documents and puts on each an official date stamp and his signature. This will complete the official entry of judgment. The clerk’s signature may also be in the form of an official court stamp. The court will keep the original document on file and provide the stamped copies to the various parties to the case.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

An entry of judgment in the U.S. is a matter of public record. This means that any person may examine the records and obtain copies. The only exception is when the court orders the clerk to seal the records. This means that the court will not allow the public to examine the records of that particular case. U.S. courts usually do not deny public access to court records.

Once the clerk makes the official entry, the time for filing an appeal commences. A party usually has from 30 to 45 days to file an appeal. The time for filing an appeal will vary based on the court’s rules, which also vary for each jurisdiction. This means the date of the judgment entry becomes vital as the starting point for calculating deadlines or timeframes.

Some jurisdictions in the U.S. have court rules that allow for a deferred entry of judgment. Courts will permit a deferred entry only in certain types of criminal cases. Deferred entry means the court is affording a defendant an opportunity to satisfy certain conditions established by the court. If a defendant satisfies the conditions, the court will not enter a judgment against him. This allows a person to avoid having a criminal conviction on his record.

The formal entry of judgment is also important in some jurisdictions that create a waiting period for persons wanting to get married after a divorce. These jurisdictions require a person to wait from 30 to 90 days before getting married after a divorce. The time that the court makes on an entry is important for calculating deadlines for appeals, seeking attachment of property and garnishing wages. This makes it important to review a court’s rules to determine when it considers an entry of judgment to be complete.

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