Follow these judgment collection strategies to ensure you receive payment right away.
After a judge finds in your favor, you may find yourself needing to try a few judgment collection strategies. Even though a court ruling is final, some debtors will avoid paying the judgment. This may be accidental or on purpose. No matter the reason, it’s up to you to get the money. The court will not help you collect.
Try Asking the Debtor to Pay
Perhaps the easiest way to get your judgment is by asking the debtor to pay. Most honest people want to pay their debts this way, and they don’t want a negative mark on their credit. If the debtor has the money, they may choose to pay you as quickly as possible. However, if they are short on funds, they may request a payment plan. Never threaten a debtor. This tactic doesn’t work, and it may cause them to hide their assets or declare bankruptcy. Only attempt other collection methods if this one fails.
Look into Wage Garnishment
Wage garnishment is another common way to collect on an unpaid judgment. This involves seeking a court order to withhold a portion of a debtor’s paycheck. As long as the debtor stays employed, the garnishment will remain in effect. Garnishment only withholds a small percentage of the debtor’s income, so it may take a long time to collect the entire judgment.
Find Their Assets Early On
Most people own something of value. Debtors must provide the court with a list of their assets. Failure to do so will put them in contempt. If the debtor ignores your request to pay, you may have the legal right to seize some of their assets. This requires a court order. You may discover the debtor has enough money to pay the judgment hidden in a bank account. If not, then you may need to look for more substantial assets, such as vehicles or property.
Renew Your Judgment When Required
Depending on the jurisdiction, your judgment may only remain valid for a limited amount of time. The majority of judgments expire after 5-10 years. Make sure you know the expiration date of your judgment. Some debtors purposely put off making payments because they know they’re no longer obligated to pay after this date. Be sure to renew your judgment before it expires. You may lose the right to collect if you forget.
Don’t Throw in the Towel
A debtor who doesn’t want to pay is hoping you’ll eventually give up. Even if the debtor doesn’t have any money or assets right now, their financial situation may change in the future. Keep tabs on the debtor so that you can make a move to collect if this happens, even if it’s a few years down the road.
Retain Legal Representation
It’s stressful and time-consuming to get an unwilling debtor to pay their judgment. Find a lawyer to manage the collection process for you. While you may run out of ideas on your own, your lawyer knows all the tricks to make sure you get paid. Don’t wait any longer to collect on a judgment. Schedule your complimentary consultation with the Wilbanks Law Firm, P.C. about judgment collection strategies by calling (706) 335-2355 now.