The primary ways to obtain a judgment in North Carolina are as follows: (1) a jury verdict, (2) a judge's order following a bench trial, (3) a default judgment (which is also entered by a judge's order), (4) a Confession of Judgment, or (5) a Consent Judgment. There are also motions to confirm arbitration awards (giving the same force and effect to an arbitration award as a judgment entered originally in a court).
Once a judgment is entered by the Clerk of Court, the party owing the money is called the "Judgment Debtor." The winning party - the one to whom the money is owed, is called the "Judgment Creditor." Once entered, a judgment creates a lien on the real property of the debtor in any county in which it is docketed, for a period of ten years. Also, at any time during that ten year period, an execution may be issued by the clerk of court, ordering the seizure and sale of the judgment debtor's personal property.
Judgment creditors are entitled to initiate a variety of procedures in order to collect on their judgments. The most basic of these is the Writ of Execution. The Writ of Execution is issued by the Clerk of Court.
If the Judgment Debtor is an individual person, that person must first be served with a Notice of Right to Have Exemptions Designated (form AOC-CV-406), and a Motion to Claim Exemptions. There are two AOC forms for these (AOC-CV-407 and AOC-CV-415), and their use is determined by the age of the judgment.
For corporate defendants, no such notice is required.
If the judgment is against an individual, and arises out of a "personal, family or household" debt, then the provisions of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices will still apply, as well as those of the more restrictive North Carolina Debt Collection Ac.