Judgments expire after a certain number of years–usually between five and 20, depending on the state. To find out your state's rule, see "Time Limits to Collect Court Judgments," below. Be aware that the expiration periods may differ if you are collecting on a judgment that was originally entered in another state.
Fortunately, most states allow you to renew your judgment–and any liens based on it–if you do so before the expiration date. For information on how to renew a judgment, contact your small claims court clerk's office.