You’ve gone to court and gotten a judgment against someone that owes you money. That’s great, but it’s only the beginning. The next step is collecting the judgment. Here are our four tips for how to collect on a judgment:
Hey, it can’t hurt to try. Some debtors pay their debt when they receive a professional letter asking them to pay. Make it clear to them where to pay and how much they owe.
Find Assets that are Accessible
If your debtor is employed, you can file a wage garnishment. You file certain paperwork with the person’s employer, and the employer has to pay you directly from the person’s wages. There are specific rules for when this is allowed and how much you can garnish, so it’s important to read your state’s laws carefully for how to collect on a judgment.
Bank accounts are another great place to look. You can ask the court to allow you to take money directly from a person’s bank account. Like wage garnishments, there are specific rules for each state, and it’s important to follow them.
A Debtor Exam
If you’re not sure where your debtor might have hidden assets, some states allow you to conduct a debtor’s exam. In that case, a person has to testify under oath about all of their assets. This is also a good time to talk to the person face to face about creating a plan to satisfy the debt.
Sell your Judgment
Sometimes, it’s not practical to wait to collect on the judgment. You might need money right away. You might not know all of the ins and outs of state laws and garnishment procedures. If that’s you, you might consider selling your judgment.
There are companies that are in the business of buying civil judgments. You sell the judgment for a price that works for you both. You’re done worrying about the judgment. These companies have professionally-trained experts that work on collecting the judgment. You just enjoy your cash as soon as you make the sale.
A court judgment is a good start, but it’s just a piece of paper. The sad reality is that most judgments aren’t actually collected. If you’re working on an enforcement of judgement, here’s what you need to know:
Some property is exempt
You can go after a person’s assets to try to satisfy your judgment. If they have classic cars, a coin collection, famous art or really anything of value, you can try to seize it to satisfy your judgment. However, keep in mind that certain property is exempt.
The exact rules vary by state, so it’s important to read up on the local laws. In some states you can take vehicles, and in other states you can’t. There might be exemptions for household furnishings. Once you’re clear on what you can seize, personal property can be a helpful way for enforcement of judgement.
You can look at real property, too
If you have a judgment, you can place a lien on a person’s real property. That means that if the person sells the property, you get paid before they get anything from the sale. Again, each state operates a bit differently. In some states, a lien automatically attaches when you have a judgment. In other states, you have to register the lien with the right government office.
Consider an assignment order
Most people get a tax refund. If a person owes you money, you might be able to get their refund before they do. This can apply to other types of irregular funds that people receive such as commissions or dividends. If the person you have a judgment against doesn’t perform regular work for pay, this can be a great way for enforcement of judgement.
Work with a collection company
If you don’t have the time, knowledge or energy to do all of the tedious collection work, you might want to work with a judgment company. There are companies that buy your judgment from you. You can leave the tedious collection work to them and have immediate cash in your pocket.
It frequently comes as a surprise to people when no money is received after they have won a judgment. Awarded amounts and the actual total of funds collected are often very different. It may even cost the business or individual more money and time to collect on a judgment than it did to win their initial case. It is frustrating because it is a situation that can stretch out for years and lower business profits and damage personal finances. There are answers and methods like contacting judgment collection services may not ensure every cent is collected, but it will increase the speed and amount of money that is received.
Talk to Debtors
Start the way professional judgement collection services handle their accounts. Contact the debtor directly. Wait at least 30 days after the original court date to prevent encouraging the debtor to appeal the case. Send a friendly, but insistent letter once the appeals process is expired. Detail the amount owed and offer some flexibility on accepting payments. This is a good method when the debtor is known to not have the assets or the income needed to pay immediately. An aggressive approach could encourage these types of debtors to file bankruptcy.
Use Legal Options
Some people will not pay even when they have the ability. Using the legal system is often the only option when dealing with them. Bank levies, wage garnishments and levies against their property are all potential options. It requires using a local sheriff or levying office to collect the funds. Not all options are legally available in all areas of the country and there are restrictions on how much is allowed to be garnished and what type of income is able to be seized.
Get Some Help
Using a judgment collection services is the solution to choose when people are ready to save time, money and avoid researching what is and is not allowed in each state. These services take on the effort and their professional standing helps to coerce stubborn debtors into paying sooner. The best part is that many will only charge a commission on fees that are collected. This makes it much more cost efficient for business owners with multiple judgments to enforce.
Avoiding a lengthy ordeal without giving up on a legitimate claim may require professional help. The responsibility of the court is to determine when money is owed. After the decision is made they will not review the case automatically to determine if the debt is paid. They do not issue any immediate orders regarding the seizure of money or property. They do not even offer inexperienced debtors any advice about managing collections. It is a process that many people learn about as they work through the system.
What You Need to Know about Court Judgement Debt Collection
Few people enjoy going to court and most try all available options before filing a lawsuit, but sometimes there’s just no other choice. If you’re one of those who have endured the stress of litigation and have won, you probably feel vindicated. In reality, the battle is just beginning. The judge may have found in your favor for a specific dollar amount, but court judgement debt collection is 100 per cent your responsibility.
A judgment is a legal order declaring you, the prevailing plaintiff, as the judgment creditor and the losing defendant as the judgment debtor. This gives you the right to collect the judgment amount from the debtor’s assets, but no court action is taken to persuade the debtor to do comply with the judgment and pay you.
In many cases, the defendant cannot be located or simply ignores the proceedings and fails to appear. Although you do not need to know where the debtor is physically located to attach his or her assets, it certainly makes it easier if you know where to start looking.
Recognizing Exempt Assets
One important factor to realize before proceeding with your court judgement debt collection is that some people may be judgment proof; that is they may be insolvent with no income or may have property and income that the law recognizes as exempt from collection.
In the event you are successful in locating your debtor’s assets, collection procedures must be followed precisely. For instance, there’s a difference in a proceeding to garnish a person’s wages as contrasted with levying an individual’s bank account. Not only will your collection efforts possibly fail, you may subject yourself to personal liability if you act improperly.
Consider Consulting a Professional
Debtors will often pay as soon as the judgment is entered, but if you are one of the unfortunate judgment creditors who are having difficulty collecting, you may wish to consider a judgment solution company that can provide advice and potential options. Judgment assignment, which is essentially a contingent arrangement or outright judgment purchase, may be appropriate for your particular situation.