Once you win a court judgment, you are legally entitled to the money owed you in the suit. However, that doesn’t mean it will come to you that day. Oftentimes, you still need to do some work on your own to collect that money. Here are the steps you might consider to get paid.
It may seem pretty obvious, but it may also be all that is needed. Once judgment is made, the other party is keenly aware of their fiscal responsibility—and they may not know much more than that. If you ask/send a demand for the amount owed, you may receive your check shortly thereafter.
Record the Judgment
Assuming the debtor fails to pay the obligation, you could record the judgment in the county recorder’s office. This could assist you when the debtor seeks to purchase property within the county.
Judgment Debtor’s Exam
If you want to find out what assets, debts, income, and liabilities the debtor has, you could notice a debtor’s examination. This requires that the debtor show up and produce documentation and answer questions regarding their financial means. And, if they fail to appear for a properly noticed debtor’s exam, a civil arrest warrant could issue against the debtor.
You can Garnish Wages, Levy Accounts, and Seize Assets. There are two main forms of garnishment, obtaining the debtor’s wages or acquiring the debtor’s bank account. Generally, it is easier and quicker to obtain the debtor’s bank account by serving the appropriate papers on the garnishee bank. If the debtor has ever paid with you with a check, one of the first steps (even before the debtor’s exam) would be to serve the garnishment on the bank from where the check was written.
Consider a Settlement
Although you are certainly entitled to the full amount owed, sometimes it may not be possible to collect every last penny, especially in today’s bankruptcy laden environment. Perhaps a lesser amount will be more manageable for the debtor, or maybe a payment plan will seem attractive. The goal is to get paid, and something is certainly better than nothing, and the judgment continues to accrue interest at the rate of 10% per annum, which in today’s market is a fine return.
A collection agency or attorney can be a great choice if you’re not interested in doing the “dirty work” of collecting on the debt. An agency may take a percentage of what is paid, but it may expedite receipt of payment and it will certainly alleviate some stress.