You recently took a client to court for lack of payment. You won your case, but it’s only now you discover that courts don’t enforce judgments. Enforcement is up to you. But you don’t know what to do. First, know that you’re not alone. First-time judgment creditors lack the knowledge that comes with experience. We are guessing you are not familiar with all the tools at your disposal.
You might not know judgments, being court orders, afford you access to a collection of tools that would otherwise be out of reach. The best advice we can give you is to not try to collect on your own. Either let your attorney handle it or, better yet, turn your judgment over to us.
Ideally, debtors are supposed to cooperate with creditors when judgments are entered against them. Cooperating includes sharing with the creditor employment and asset information. This opens the door to the more common tools creditors have at their disposal:
While every state has its own rules, many allow wage garnishment for judgment collection purposes. Creditors are allowed to garner so much of a debtor’s weekly pay, to be automatically deducted by the employer and forwarded to the debtor or its representative.
Wage garnishment is not the ideal solution because it can take forever. Therefore, it’s one of the least desirable tools.
Some states also allow creditors to garnish debtor bank accounts. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every penny in the debtor’s account is up for grabs. There are restrictions. But bank account garnishment can help a great deal.
Creditors in most states have access to liens and asset seizure. A lien is essentially a document that declares a legal interest in an asset, like a piece of real estate. Should that asset be sold, sale proceeds first go to satisfy lien holders. If there is anything left over, it goes to the debtor.
Certain types of assets can be seized and sold in most states. This is considered one of the more drastic tools, but it is available if need be.
The previously mentioned tools are all collection tools. There are other tools we utilize to get to the point of collection. These are research tools, and there are quite a few of them. Here are just a few examples:
Although we cannot reveal the details of how skip tracing works, we can say that it is a process used by debt collectors, private investigators, and others with a vested interest in finding people. Skip tracing can be effective in locating deadbeat debtors doing their very best to disappear.
In most states, property records are a matter of the public record. We find a lot of debtor assets through this particular tool. It works extremely well because so many property records can now be found online. It is a whole lot easier to search online records than going to the clerk’s office and looking through records one-at-a time.
A vast array of other public records is also available. We can look at police arrest records, marriage announcements, death notices, and on and on. The key is to know what to look for and how to use the information you find.
As a creditor, you have a lot of tools at your disposal. Still, why go through the hassle of collecting on your own? Turn your judgment over to us and let us handle it. We will do all the heavy lifting.
Published November 29, 2022