To file a lien against an individual, file a lawsuit in the appropriate court, according to Ciele Edwards of Demand Media. If the suit is successful, the court issues a judgment, which is then used to attach a lien to property owned by the judgment debtor.
Filing a lawsuit in the correct court is crucial for success in obtaining a judgment and lien. Some courts don't have the power to grant certain remedies. A small debt generally means filing suit in small claims court, while a larger amount owned means suing the individual in a district court, indicates Ciele Edwards.
Once the case goes before a judge, and the plaintiff is successful, the court clerk issues a document called an abstract of judgment. That document is then recorded at the local county clerk's office or with the Secretary of State, depending on the specific state's rules regarding judgment filings.
The filing of this document creates a lien against any property that the judgment debtor owes. If the debtor attempts to sell any of the property, the sale cannot be completed without some of the sale's proceeds going to the pay off the amount of money granted in the original judgment.