4 Things You Need to Successfully Collect a Money Judgment

You have gone to civil court and successfully obtained a money judgment against another party. Now it is time to collect the money judgment. When a monetary award is involved, enforcement is essentially collection. It sounds simple enough, but is it really? And what do you need to succeed?

The vast majority of money judgments in the U.S. are never collected. The debts go unpaid until judgment creditors (the winning parties) give up and walk away. Perhaps creditors don’t really know what they are getting into when they go to court. Or maybe they just don’t have the resources to pursue collection for a considerable length of time.

If you are preparing to begin judgment collection proceedings yourself, here are four things you will need to get the job done:

1. Time

The first thing you’ll need is time – and plenty of it. Everything that goes into collecting an outstanding judgment is subject to time delays and constraints. In most states, one of the first things judgment creditors initiate is collecting personal, job, and income information from their debtors.

Your attorney might submit a questionnaire to the debtor’s attorney. Then the debtor may have 30 days to respond. You would be happy to get the information a few hours later, but that’s not how it works. You might have to wait the full 30 days; that’s how judgment collection usually goes.

2. Patience

Hand-in-hand with plenty of time is a ton of patience. The chances of everything going your way during the collection process are pretty slim. Understand this going in. Also understand that there are laws in place designed to protect judgment debtors from overzealous collection. Those laws may frustrate you. Just be patient and let the process work.

3. Flexibility

You will also need flexibility to go along with your patience. Why flexibility? Because there is more than one way to collect a money judgment. You could accept a lump sum payment, agree to a monthly installment plan, pursue wage and bank account garnishment, and even look at filing property liens or seeking writs of seizure.

Each collection method comes with its own set of rules. You need to be flexible enough to abide by those rules while simultaneously expecting at least some level of resistance from the debtor. If the debtor changes tactics, you may have to change yours as well.

Judgment collection is often a back-and-forth between creditor and debtor. You propose one solution and the debtor counters with another. You pursue a particular collection strategy, and the debtor finds a way to avoid paying. It is constant. You need to be flexible. You cannot get bogged down in a single way of doing things or you might never get paid.

4. Professional Help

The last item on our list is arguably the most important: professional help. We don’t believe it to be a coincidence when an individual or organization attempts to collect on its own and fails. Judgment collection is a complex beast. Success requires knowledge, skill, and access to some very creative collection tools.

Here at Judgment Collectors, working with clients to help them collect is our passion. It’s what we do best. If you have the time, patience, and flexibility, we can provide the help that will greatly increase your chances of getting paid.

We work on consignment, meaning you don’t spend another penny on collection once you turn your judgment over to us. To learn more about how we do what we do, reach out to us at your earliest convenience. We would be happy to take a look at your case.