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How Do I Collect on a Judgment?

Winning a Judgment may be only half the battle…
…collecting the money owed is the other half.

  • Information Subpoena
  • Income Execution on the wages of the debtor
  • Seizing personal property owned by the debtor
    • cars
    • trucks
    • bank accounts
  • Filing a lien against real property (land) owned by the debtor

Information Subpoena | Income Execution | Personal Property Execution | What is the effect of filing a Transcript of Judgment in the County Clerk's Office? | How long is a Judgment Valid For? | What Happens If A Debtor Files For Bankruptcy? | Satisfaction Of Judgment

Information Subpoena

Before property can be seized, the Creditor must find and identify what property is specifically owned by the Debtor. It is also the Creditor's duty to locate where the Debtor is employed.

An Information Subpoena is a legal document that requires the Debtor to give written answers to several written questions concerning what property they own, where it is located, & where they may be employed. The Creditor can use this information to seize the property or wages of the Debtor. While the Information Subpoena is most often served on the Judgment Debtor, it may also be served on other individuals or organizations (such as banks) to see if they are in possession of any property owed to or owned by the Debtor.

The Judgment Creditor may obtain an Information Subpoena from City Court for a fee. The City Court will provide you with an Information Subpoena, two sets of written questions and a cover letter. The Judgment Creditor must serve the Judgment Debtor with the cover letter, both sets of questions, and provide a postage pre-paid, addressed return envelope for the Debtor or institution to use to mail the answered questions back to the Creditor. If you do not receive a response to the Information Subpoena, you may commence a contempt proceeding against the individual who failed to answer the Subpoena. A Creditor may commence a contempt proceeding by filing the proof of service (for example: the certified mail receipt) of the Information Subpoena with the Court. The Court will schedule a date for the other party to provide the Information Subpoena to the Court, or appear in Court to explain why the information has not been provided. If that party fails to appear on the date set, the Court will issue a Contempt Order and the person shall be in contempt of court until they provide the information demanded.

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Income Execution

If a Judgment Creditor knows where a Judgment Debtor is employed, the Creditor can file or request (depending on Court proceedings) an Income Execution on the wages of the Debtor.

The City Constable, Sheriff, or Local Police will serve the income execution on the Debtor's Employer. If the Debtor is earning sufficient income, the employer must deduct 10% of the Debtor's weekly earnings and transmit to the Sheriff or Local Police. If the Debtor is self-employed, retired or on Social Security, no wages can be garnished.

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Personal Property Execution

The Judgment Creditor may file or request a Property Execution asking that the property be seized and sold with the sole proceeds being used to pay off the balance due on the Debtor's judgment. There is no charge for filing or requesting a Property Execution. If a Judgment Creditor knows that the Judgment Debtor owns a car, truck, motorcycle or other personal property of significant value, the Judgment Creditor may file a Property Execution.

If the Judgment Creditor knows that the Judgment Debtor has a bank account at a specific bank, the Judgment Creditor may also use a Property Execution to ask that the money in the bank account be seized and used to pay off the balance due on the Debtor's employer. Before the County Sheriff can seize personal property or assets of the Debtor, the Creditor must first identify the property to be seized.

Filing a Lien at the County Clerk's Office

A Judgment Creditor can make their City Court Judgment more powerful by filing their judgment in the County Clerk's Office. This is accomplished by the Judgment Creditor requesting a "Transcript of Judgment" from the City Court Clerk. The cost for the transcript is $6.00 (payable by cash or money order to the City Court). The Judgment Creditor would file it in the County Clerk's Office FOR AN ADDITIONAL COST (payable by cash or money order to the County Clerk).

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What is the effect of filing a Transcript of Judgment in the County Clerk's Office?

1) The judgment becomes a lien on any land currently owned or later acquired by the Debtor anywhere in the County. In most cases, the land cannot be sold until the judgment is paid.
2) The Credit agencies often check the County Clerk's records to see if a person has any judgments filed against him/her. If the Judgment Debtor attempts to obtain a loan to purchase a vehicle or a mortgage to purchase a home, he/she are often denied credit approval unless they first pay off any unpaid judgments.

A Judgment Debtor may also be denied a credit card until the judgment is paid. If a Judgment Debtor dies and the judgment is on file with the County Clerk, the estate of the deceased debtor may be ordered to pay off the balance due on the judgment.

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How long is a Judgment Valid For?

A judgment is valid for ten (10) years and may be extended once for an additional period of ten (10) years. To extend a judgment for an extra ten (10) years, the Judgment Creditor must make written application to the City Court.

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What Happens If A Debtor Files For Bankruptcy?

If a Creditor receives a written notice that a Judgment Debtor has filed for bankruptcy, all further efforts to collect the judgment are stayed (put on hold) until the Bankruptcy Court makes a decision as to how the assets of the Debtor should be divided. The Creditor should contact the Trustee in writing at the address listed on the Notice of Bankruptcy to file a claim and to find out whether the judgment debt will be paid or discharged (cleared) by the Bankruptcy Court.

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Satisfaction Of Judgment

If a Transcript of Judgment has been filed with the County Clerk, once the Debtor pays off the Judgment, the Creditor has a legal responsibility to prepare and sign a Satisfaction of Judgment for the benefit of the Debtor, so that all liens and record of Judgment can be removed from the County Clerk's office. The Creditor must either file the Certified Satisfaction of Judgment with the County Clerk, or provide it to the Debtor so that the Debtor may file it with the County Clerk. The Certified Satisfaction of Judgment must also be filed with the City Court. If the Satisfaction of Judgment is generated by the Court, there is a fee.

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