Obtaining a court judgment against a debtor may be necessary to compel that person to pay. But what if payment isn’t forthcoming? What if you need to hire a collection agency to pursue the debtor? Worse yet, what happens if you get close to a judgment’s expiration date and still haven’t collected?
State laws vary in terms of how long judgments are enforceable. On average, you are looking at 7 to 10 years. If necessary, most states allow for reviving a judgment just prior to it going dormant. Reviving unpaid judgments is both good and bad, depending on your perspective.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of being able to revive a judgment is then being able to continue collection efforts against a debtor trying his hardest to run out the clock. Some states allow unlimited revivals while others limit the number of times a judgment can be revived. But even just one revival in a state with a 10-year statute of limitations gives judgment creditors a total of 20 years to collect.
If you cannot imagine collection taking that long, you probably don’t have much experience collecting judgments. As a specialist judgment collection agency ourselves, we can tell you that 10 years isn’t a lot of time when you’re dealing with a debtor who knows how to hide himself and his assets.
Giving creditors the opportunity to revive judgments gives them an advantage, at least to some degree. Reviving may not make collecting an unpaid judgment easier, but it does give creditors an alternative to letting a judgment expire.
There are some negative aspects to reviving judgments. The first among them is having to go back to court. Petitioning the court to revive is usually little more than a formality, but it still needs to be done. Judgments do not automatically revive on their own.
The more important issue is the fact that you have gone so long without collecting. Whether it has been 7 or 10 years, payment has managed to elude you thus far. Every day that passes without payment is another day that you are putting time and resources into the issue.
Unfortunately, time is not on your side. Uncollected judgments get harder to collect as the months and years pass. Time allows debtors to move around. It allows them to hide assets, transfer assets, etc.
The obvious question at this point is one of how you can avoid having to revive a judgment. There are never any guarantees, but bringing in an agency like Judgment Collectors goes a long way toward getting paid before revival is necessary. The sooner you bring an agency in, the better off you are.
Agencies like ours utilize a variety of tools and resources to locate debtors who do not want to be found. We have access to additional resources that help us find hidden assets. We do the heavy lifting involved in finding and encouraging debtors to pay so that our clients can concentrate on more important things.
If you have an outstanding judgment you are struggling to collect, we might be able to help. We would appreciate the opportunity to examine your case. If we believe there is a path forward, we will offer you a no-obligation proposal. Whether or not you accept is entirely up to you. Just know that we work on consignment. If we do not succeed, you don’t pay.
Being able to revive a judgment is good. But having to do so, not so much. Therein lies the dichotomy of reviving unpaid judgments.
Published September 15, 2023