So you won your case in court and now you just wait for the court to collect your judgment from the other party; right? Wrong! The court does not take any actions on its own to get you paid. Just because they entered a money judgment in your favor, does not mean that the other party will ever actually pay you. Not unless you take steps to enforce the judgment, that is. There are several different ways to enforce a judgment, some are quite easy and can be done on your own, while others are much more complex and you may need a professional collector to help you with them; let’s go over a few.
The Wage Garnishment
A wage garnishment is an order from the court directing the judgment debtor’s employer to pay part of their wages directly to you. For example, let’s say you get a judgment against Jane Doe for $10,000. You have asked her nicely to pay you on the judgment but she ignores all of your calls and all of your letters; time to get serious, so you file a wage garnishment order with the court. You know Jane has been working at Spriggy Sprockets for the last 5 years as a marketing rep., so you have the order served on her employer. Come next week, when Jane gets her paycheck she will be missing 25% of it, the part that got paid to you directly by her employer. Wage garnishments work very well to collect a judgment and although it may take some time for you to be paid in full, you will steadily get paid. There are some complications that can arise from this, for instance if Jane decides to quit her job at Spriggy Sprockets and go work for Elmer’s Melding, then you will have to find out about her job switch and file a new wage garnishment order. How can you find out about a judgment debtors job switch? There are several ways, but one tried and true method is discussed next.
Order to Appear for Examination
The order to appear, or “ORAPP” for short is a great way to obtain information on the judgment debtor. This document is an order from the court requiring the debtor to appear for an examination hearing where they must disclose any information relevant to the judgment collection, including but not limited to information such as: bank account information, assets such as real property or other personal property, real property information, employment information and more. So what is to keep Jane for example, from ditching the hearing and not showing up? The order to appear carries a bench warrant with it if the debtor decides not to appear, which could ultimately result in the arrest of the debtor; now that’s motivation!
Real and Personal Property Liens
Last but not least in our list of collection methods is the lien. Placing a lien on a debtors real or personal property can mean a quick payment for you if the debtor tries to sell, refinance or otherwise transfer their property. Going back to our example with Jane again, what can you do if you find out that Jane isn’t working, but has a house in Santa Monica, California? One method of insuring your judgment is to file an abstract of judgment with the county recorder where the property resides, so in our example in Los Angeles County. This puts what’s called a cloud on the property, making it necessary to remove this “cloud” if the debtor wishes to refinance, sell or otherwise transfer the home. Put simply, they can’t do anything with their property until you are paid, making you a very happy camper!
The three different methods described above are likely the easiest of the plethora of ways to collect your judgment. There are several other methods, most of them complex and time consuming. The main point is, collecting a judgment isn’t easy, it requires time and often times the know-how to complete and serve legal forms. Remember, the court won’t collect your money, you have to take the first step. The best way to make sure you get paid and the method which takes up the least amount of time is to have a professional collect your judgment for you. That sounds like a ton of money up front right? Wrong again! Most judgment collectors front all of your fees and don’t charge you a penny unless they collect your money for you. There are several ways to go about collecting a judgment, but only one way to make sure it gets done right and you get PAID! We collect judgments for as low as 10% of the total, we believe in our abilities to collect judgment so much that we cover all of your fees up front, out of our pockets. You get nothing? We get nothing, but man do we work our butts of either way! Use our contact form to hear from one of our professional judgment collectors within hours. Stop waiting and start getting paid!’