As a firm that specializes in collecting judgments in nearly a dozen states, we do our best to stay abreast of what state and county courts have to say about judgments and small claims court. We recently ran across a statement on the Washington Courts website regarding court clerks and the assistance they can offer.
Collecting judgments in Washington state is similar to collecting judgments in other states, at least in some ways. But it is different in other ways. One thing that is common in all states is that court clerks are not much help when it comes to collection. That’s exactly what the Washington Courts website says. The text reads: “remember, the clerks cannot give you legal advice so you may need the assistance of an attorney or collection agency.”
What the Court Clerk Does
In Washington, court clerks are responsible for keeping records. Let’s say you win a civil suit involving a monetary award. The clerk enters the results of the suit into the civil docket. They will also provide you with a certified copy of the judgment. The clerk cannot, and will not, help you collect from the debtor in any way, shape, or form. The clerk cannot even offer legal advice.
The reason Washington Courts recommend utilizing the services of an attorney or collection agency is as simple as understanding that judgment debtors are not always willing to pay what they owe.
How It Works in Washington
According to the Washington Courts, a court may order a payment plan when a judgment debtor does not pay what he owes right away. A failure to make good on the payment plan could result in additional amounts being tacked on to the original award. Those amounts would cover the cost of collection.
If the debt goes unpaid for 30 days, a judgment creditor can attempt to enforce the judgment through garnishing wages and bank accounts or “seeking to obtain personal property of the debtor.” It is pretty straightforward in Washington. That much we can say for sure.
We’ll Get on It Right Away
We don’t mind saying that we agree with the Washington Courts advice to utilize an attorney or collection agency. The fact that you have had to take a debtor to the Small Claims Court suggests that he might not cooperate to the fullest. The debtor might slow walk payment. He might fail to provide accurate information or even attempt to hide assets.
Any and all delay tactics just make it more difficult for you to collect and get on with your life. We suspect you have neither the time nor the interest to put into a long, drawn-out collection process involving a debtor who doesn’t seem so enthusiastic about cooperating.
We cannot guarantee success, but we can guarantee that we will get going on your case right away. As soon as we have your approval to get started, our team will get to work doing what we do best. And because we work on consignment, your risk is minimized.
Collection Is Up To You
Unfortunately, courts rarely get involved in the judgment enforcement process. As for court clerks, they really cannot help much. The best they can offer is a certified copy of the judgment along with the wish for you to have a nice day. They are record keepers, not enforcement officers.
If you need help enforcing a judgment in Washington, Judgment Collectors is here to assist. Contact us with the details about your particular judgment. If we think we can deliver, we will make an offer you can either accept or reject.