A judgment is a legal decision rendered by a judge for or against a debtor. These cases come to court because a debtor is delinquent on an account, and the creditor wants his or her money. If the debtor cannot present substantial evidence that shows why he or she should be excused from the debt, the judge most often grants a judgment in favor of the creditor. Once a judgment is rendered, the creditor can petition the court for a lien against the debtor's assets. Most often this lien comes in the form of a garnishment against the person's income. The lien is upheld until the debt is paid off in full. Judgments can devastate a person's credit rating, as it shows that the person defaulted on an important financial obligation. This decision can also stay on a person's credit record for 7 to 10 years, thus compromising future credit applications.