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Judgment Education

The decision of a judge usually states the amount the judgment debtor must pay the judgment creditor, and may include other terms such as an award of pre-judgment interest and court costs, an authorization to pay the judgment debt by installments, and provisions on calculation and payment of post-judgment interest.

Creditor – Entity who provides some type of credit to a borrower or lender.

Debtor – One who owes a debt.

Judgment Enforcement

You sued and won a judgment, and the debtor will not pay voluntarily. In order to collect your judgment we first utilize our access to the same investigative resources used by financial institutions and law enforcement, which we use to locate even the most difficult-to-locate debtors and debtor assets, as well as our connections with some of the best financial investigators in the business.

Ways to collect a judgment

Writ of Execution

Writ Filing - Are documents filed in superior court with instructions ordered by the court to withhold money from the defendant’s Employer, Bank, Business or take personal property. The instructions are served by the Sheriff's Department to withhold monies from a defendant’s assets until the entire judgment amount plus interest at ten percent per annual year is paid in full.

Order to Appear for Examination

The small claims court will likely have a method of forcing the debtor to come back to court to answer your questions about his property, debts and earnings. Different courts call this a "supplemental examination," "debtor examination," "interrogatories" or "disclosure hearing." You will need to fill out paperwork with the court for an order to start this procedure.

Some useful information to get from the judgment debtor during the procedure would include:

  • A description of any real estate owned
  • Spouse’s name and employment
  • Social security number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Bank location and account numbers
  • Current employment (employer name and address, when and how often paid, salary amount)
  • Other income such as commissions, rental income, part-time employment, etc.

You can also question the debtor regarding property, such as stock, interest in a business, type and location of vehicles owned, etc. It’s a good idea to round out the questioning with a general question such as "Do you have any property, personal effects, cash or other assets that you haven’t yet mentioned? If so, explain."

If the debtor doesn’t show up for the examination hearing, the court can issue a warrant for his arrest.

Stipulated Judgment

In some states, we can ask the court to order the debtor to make specific regular payments on the debt. If the payments aren't made as scheduled, the creditor can file a motion to vacate time payments and go after the debtor for full balance.

Abstract of Judgment / Property Lien

This will prevent the debtor from selling his/her property without first paying your judgment.

Garnishment

We can ask the court to order the debtor’s employer to withhold a portion of the debtor’s wages from his earnings each pay period to pay the judgment. The law limits the amount of money an employer can withhold up to 25% of the debtor’s disposable income. The garnishment order must be served on the debtor’s employer, who is then given a period of time to begin deducting money from employee’s earnings.

Till – Tap / Keeper

When the debtor is a business, some states (such as California) allow you to get an order authorizing the sheriff to go to the business and take enough money out of the cash register or receipts to pay the judgment.

Bank Account Levy

Levying a bank account is a court's order to withhold funds from a debtor's bank account to pay a judgment. The paperwork must be served directly to the bank. Certain accounts are exempt from garnishment, such as those held jointly with someone who has no responsibility to pay the judgment.