Judgment Creditor and Judgment Debtor: What’s in a Name?

Judgment Creditor and Judgment Debtor: What's in a Name

Our industry has its own language. We use terms that people not involved in judgment collection are not familiar with. They aren’t difficult to understand, but they are also not part of the common language. Two examples are ‘judgment creditor’ and ‘judgment debtor’.

You know the difference between a creditor and a debtor. So why attach the word ‘judgment’ to either term? Because doing so tells us something specific about the two parties. Adding a judgment to the equation means you are no longer talking about just creditors and debtors. You’re also not talking about plaintiffs and defendants.

A Judgment Is a Court Action

Judgment Collectors is a highly specialized collection agency that focuses exclusively on judgments. Judgments are a different kind of debt that have the authority of court proceedings behind them. To put things as simply as we can, a judgment is a court action rather than just a simple debt.

Obtaining a judgment against another party requires going to civil court. You file your claim, take your case to the court, and ultimately hope that the court renders a decision in your favor. When that happens, a judgment is rendered in your favor and against the other party.

Referencing the Court Order

By attaching the word ‘judgment’ to both ‘creditor’ and ‘debtor’, we are intentionally stating that a court order has been entered. A judgment creditor is no longer just a creditor trying to collect on a bill. The creditor now has the force and authority of a court order behind its efforts to collect.

Likewise, a judgment debtor is no longer just a debtor who hasn’t paid their bills. They are now a debtor that has been held accountable by a court of law, through a judgment that orders them to pay what they owe.

Outside of the industry, attaching the ‘judgment’ label may seem too nuanced to worry about. But within our industry, the term makes all the difference in the world.

Access to Tools and Collection Strategies

As a judgment collection agency, we have access to certain tools and strategies unavailable to standard collection agencies. Why? Because we have the force and authority of a court judgment behind our efforts to collect. A standard collection agency is much more limited in how it can go about collecting standard debts.

Take asset seizure. Although seizing a judgment debtor’s assets is almost always a measure of last resort, it is a tool we can use when necessary. So one of the first things we do when taking a case is track down all the judgment debtor’s assets.

If a more traditional collection agency were trying to collect on an outstanding bill with no judgment behind it, asset seizure would be out of the question. The collection agency would have to find some other way to encourage payment. Do you see the difference?

Different in the Eyes of the Law

Judgment creditors and debtors are seen as distinct and different from standard creditors and debtors under the law. We should point out that this is something clients often do not know when they come to us for help. They do not realize there is a difference. And because of that, they also don’t realize the tools available to them for collecting on outstanding judgments.

Our industry uses the terms ‘judgment creditor’ and ‘judgment debtor’ for a reason. The terms mean something to us. Even if it is just semantics to you, we encourage you to let us handle your outstanding judgments. We have the tools, knowledge, and experience to find debtors and get them to pay.