Judgment Enforcement

Legal Compliance Resource
May 30, 2012 — 1,312 views  

Many people with judgments against them don't pay them for a number of reasons. It is up to the plaintiff to enforce the debt utilizing any number of collection tactics available to them. Using legal options is the best way to get a debt paid, but sometimes patience wins out when making collections.

Sometimes, people do anything they can to avoid collections. This can be a move to another town or state, changing phone numbers, or even using another identity to obtain services. The term for this is "skipping out on the debt". When this happens, consider retaining a skip tracer to find the debtor. Once the debtor is located, various legal methods to get money are at the creditor’s disposal.

Taking a lien out on the debtor's home is one that requires patience as it means waiting for the home to be sold to get paid. A real property lien can only be enforced for 20 years, but a lien eventually sees the debt paid in full sans other options. Check with the local courts to find out what is necessary for a proper execution of a property lien.

Identifying and uncovering a debtor's assets is another avenue worth pursuing. The collector can seize and sell assets that have value and these cannot be exempted under state law. It is best to retain a lawyer who understands how to perform this type of discovery. Paperwork needs to be drawn up in order to legally seize the asset and states require court proceedings before any action is taken. Retaining an attorney ensures that the court is satisfied that all due diligence has been undertaken to legally seize a debtor's assets.

Wage garnishment is a valid tactic for getting the most amount of money from a debtor. Some courts give permission for the garnishment of wages at the conclusion of the court case. The rest of the time, filing with the court is necessary to enforce the wage garnishment and proper notification procedures have to be followed. Check state laws to see if this type of garnishment can be used in addition to the real property lien. Some do allow them to be enforced concurrently.

Always follow local and federal laws when collecting on judgments. Doing so keeps the person pursuing the judgment out of hot water with the courts, an important issue to always remember.

Legal Compliance Resource