Won your lawsuit? Received a judgment? What’s next?
Debtors have the right to appeal. Check with your state on how long a defendant has until he must file an appeal. Don’t bother with collection efforts until then. During this period, defendants are not obligated to pay.
2. Lien Rights
There is always the possibility that your debtor could file bankruptcy. Your next move is to preserve your ability to collect the judgment by getting a lien right. You do this by finding out if the debtor has any real property. This will get their attention and sometimes provoke them to start paying you.
A real estate lien is obtained by recording the judgment with recorder’s office in the county where the real estate is located. This will hinder the sale of any real estate property without paying you off first and you retain rights in case of a bankruptcy.
3. Ask for the Money
They might just pay you! Tell them the outstanding judgment debt will be placed on their credit report. Don’t give away anymore information than that. You don’t want the debtor to learn about other ways you intend on getting your money. Some debtors get very savvy and may begin to start hiding and transferring their money and/or valuables. Do not harass or intimidate the debtor; be open to settling for less then the full amount or agree to arrange payments over time.
4. Other Options
Look at all your options which include wage garnishments, bank levies and personal property liens.
5. Find the Assets
With the assistance of an attorney, you can hold a debtor’s exam or file for an order of examination which allows you to question the debtor about all their assets and where they are located.
6. Easy Assets to Find
The low hanging fruit are bank accounts and wages from employers. These can be found by hiring a professional asset location company such as www.seizeassets.com. They are experts at finding bank accounts and verifying employment which gives you the option to garnish verified funds or wages. You also have the option to do rush services and can obtain financial information on your debtor within 3-5 days.
7. Hire an Expert
There are companies like Seize Assets that will take on judgments, do all the work and give you 50-60% of the value when collected. This is the best way to “not get your hands dirty” and saves a lot of time.
8. Judgments Can Be Renewed
Your judgment is usually good from 5-20 years depending on the state. If you have not collected during this time, be sure to renew your judgments and liens before they expire. If you don’t renew, you will most likely have to re-file with the court or the statute of limitations will have expired on the original debt.
9. Be Relentless
Financial situations change in people’s lives. Your debtor may get a better job or inherit money. Keeping tabs on your debtor should be relatively easy to do these days with the internet and social media channels.
Once you are paid, make sure you file a satisfaction of judgment with the court. It’s an easy form to fill out.
If you have any questions, please call Robert Pinchuck at 800-648-1914.