Judgments and Enforcement:
A judgment rendered by the Iowa Courts automatically becomes a lien on the defendant's real property located in the county in which the Judgment was entered for a period of ten (10) years. (Iowa Code Section 624.23.) A defendant may attempt to remove such lien by making a claim of homestead if he complies with a 30-days written notice requirement as set forth in Section 624.23, and the judgment creditor fails to levy against the real property within the thirty (30) days period of the notice.
The life of a money judgment is generally twenty (20) years. It may be renewed after a period of nine (9) years, but before the tenth year, by judicial process. (Iowa Code Sections 614.1& 614.3.)
In addition to a lien against real property, a creditor may execute a money judgment by attaching the judgment debtor's non-exempt personal property including those that are in the possession of third parties of which the judgment debtor is entitled to immediate possession. Although Iowa statutes permit wage garnishment, the amount permitted to be garnished is limited and subject to the protection of the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act. For example, if a judgment debtor's earnings is not expected to be more than twelve thousand dollars during one calendar year, the maximum amount which may be garnished may not exceed $250.00 for each judgment creditor. If the judgment debtor's earnings is more than twelve thousand dollars a year, the maximum amount may increased at levels prescribed under Section 642.21 of the Iowa Statutes.
Under the Uniform Enforcement Of Foreign Judgements Act (Iowa Code Sections 626A.1 et seq.) and the Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act (Iowa Code Sections 626B.1, et seq), a final and conclusive foreign judgment is entitled to full faith and credit in the courts of the State of Iowa. A foreign judgment may be entered and enforced as an Iowa Judgment after compliance with the appropriate filing and notice requirements.
Legal Rate: Where there is no written agreement, the interest rate for certain money transactions is five percent (5%) per year. (Iowa Code Section 535.2.) However, the legal interest rate on judgments and decrees is a floating rate presently at 7.391% unless a different rate is fixed by the contract on which the judgment or decree is rendered. (Iowa Code Section 535.3.)
Contract Rate: Interest rate on a written contract generally may be at such rate as the parties to the contract may agree. (Iowa Code Section 535.2.)
A debtor is generally permitted an exemption of certain personal or real property in the enforcement of a judgment against him or in a bankruptcy proceeding under state laws or federal laws. Under the laws of Iowa, the homestead of every person is generally exempt from judicial sale. (Iowa Code Section 561.16.) Other general exemptions may include wearing apparel of the debtor and his dependents, household furniture and furnishings, automobile, burying ground, cash value in life insurance polices, pension, and public benefits. Each of the prescribed exemptions may be limited to certain amount in value. (Iowa Code Sections 627.1 et seq.)
In a bankruptcy proceeding, although the federal statute permits election of exemptions provided under state laws or federal laws, the State of Iowa specifically precludes such election. (Iowa Code Section 627.10.) This means that a resident of Iowa may only claim exemption of such property and to the extent as permitted under Sections 627.1 et seq. of the Iowa Code even if the exemption provided under the federal Bankruptcy Code may be more beneficial to the debtor.
Statutes Of Limitations:
An action for the recovery on money or other damages generally must be filed within a statutory time period or such action may be barred forever. Some of the time limitations relevant to credit and collection cases are as follows:
Oral contract 5 years Section 614.1
Written contract 10 years Section 614.1
Injuries to person 2 years Section 614.1
Injuries to personal property 5 years Section 614.1
Fraud 5 years Section 614.1
Wage 2 years Section 614.1