How Difficult Are Civil Judgment Collections in Most Cases?

Apr 1, 2019 | Civil Litigation

how difficult is judgement collection

How to tackle civil judgment collections after you’ve won your case.

How difficult are civil judgment collections? Winning a civil judgment is often the easy part of collecting a debt. You still have to enforce the judgment, which is typically a long, multi-step process. Once you’ve located the assets, you have several options for collecting the debt. These methods include interrogatories, garnishments, levies, and liens. Let’s take a look.

Locating Assets

Locating the debtor’s assets is frequently the most difficult stage in the collections process. However, it can be relatively easy if the debtor has a line of business. In this case, you may be able to obtain information on assets. These include employment records, vehicle registration information, and canceled checks. If this is unsuccessful, the next step may be to hire a private investigator to locate the debtor’s assets.

Interrogatories

A debtor’s interrogatory is a useful tool for pursuing post-judgment collections. This option summons debtors to appear in court and answer questions under oath. These questions are typically about their finances, property, and employment. The answers to these questions can assist you in determining if the debtor has assets you can garnish. The court can issue a Rule to Show Cause if the debtor fails to appear. This court order requires debtors to explain why the court should not hold them in contempt.

Garnishments

A garnishment is a collection technique whereby a court orders a third party known as a garnishee to withhold funds from the debtor. The garnishee is often the debtor’s employer, although it may also be an entity that holds the debtor’s property. The garnishee may pay the garnishment directly to the court or directly to you. You may request the court to enter a judgment against the garnishee if the garnishee fails to answer the garnishment.

Levies

Pursuing a levy is a relatively uncommon method of collecting a debt. The local sheriff seizes the debtor’s personal property and sells it at a public auction. The sheriff takes the cost of conducting the auction from the proceeds. The debtors receive the remaining balance in order of lien priority. One disadvantage of this approach is that the sale price of the property is often very low.

Liens

You can also collect a debt by attaching a lien to the debtor’s property, especially real estate. This action prevents the debtor from selling the property without satisfying the judgment. Interest and attorney’s fees are part of the judgment.A lien typically requires a substantial amount of time to collect a debt. This is largely because most people stay in a home for years. A debtor will be even less inclined to sell a house when a lien is against it. Liens are enforceable for a set period depending on the state, although the debtor can usually renew it for an additional period.Sound confusing? It can be, but you don’t have to go it alone. If you’re wondering, how difficult is judgment collection, it’s time to schedule your complimentary consultation with the Wilbanks Law Firm, P.C. about your civil judgment by calling (706) 335-2355 now.