Once the ruling is final, understanding your judgment collection options will ensure you get paid in full.
If the debtor refuses to pay after court, you need to know your judgment collection options to get your money. In a perfect scenario, the debtor immediately pays the judgment in full after a judge makes the final ruling. However, it’s not always this easy. Many debtors avoid paying the judgment for one reason or another. Although you’re legally entitled to the money, you may find yourself struggling to get paid. To get your money, you may need to try one of these alternative methods for collecting the judgment.
Withhold Money through a Wage Garnishment
As long as the debtor has a job, you can file to garnish their wages. What does this mean? Simply put, wage garnishing means you’ll get a percentage of the debtor’s paycheck before it hits their bank account. Instead of getting the entire judgment amount in a single payment, you’ll receive several smaller payouts. Each state has different rules set in place regarding wage garnishing. In Georgia, for example, a wage garnishment cannot exceed 25 percent of the debtor’s disposable income. The garnishment will remain in place until the debtor fully pays the judgment.
Obtain a Court Order for a Bank Levy
When a debtor won’t pay a judgment, you sometimes have to take action with a court-ordered bank levy. The court can garnish any money owed to you, even if that means pulling the money directly from the debtor’s bank account. Before a bank levy goes into place, the debtor receives a warning and has adequate time to repay the judgment. If they fail to make good on a repayment plan, the court freezes all of the debtor’s bank accounts. This prevents the debtor from accessing any money in their accounts until they pay the judgment.
Consider a Real Estate Lien
Some debtors will do anything to keep from paying their debt judgment. If this happens in your case, a real estate lien is often the best solution. This is only an option if the debtor owns real estate property, including a house, condo, or another type of dwelling. A real estate lien attaches your name to the title of the property. If the debtor decides to sell or refinance, they must pay you from the proceeds. Unfortunately, this process takes time and is dependent on the debtor selling their property. You will only get paid if there is enough money left over after the sell. Many real estate liens expire after a set time, so always speak with an attorney before proceeding.
Seek Out Legal Advice
Collecting on an unpaid judgment is not an easy task. Always get legal help before deciding the next step. Many lawyers accept debt judgment cases on a contingency basis. Don’t continue waiting for an uncooperative debtor to pay. Seek legal advice to ensure you get your judgment paid in full. Here at Wilbanks Law Firm, our attorneys represent clients in debt judgment cases. We’re ready to review the facts of your case. Schedule your complimentary consultation with the Wilbanks Law Firm, P.C. about your judgment collection options by calling (706) 335-2355 now.