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Judgement Collection Mastery

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  • Updated:
    September 29, 2023
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Key takeaways:
Judgment collection is the legal process of enforcing a court-awarded judgment, typically involving the recovery of money owed by a judgment debtor to a judgment creditor. This process can encompass various methods, including asset seizure, wage garnishment, and other legal actions, to satisfy the debt.

Understanding judgment collection is crucial, especially. The courts play a significant role in the judgment enforcement process, ensuring that judgment debtors pay their debts to judgment creditors, especially when the debtor files. If judgment debtors fail to fulfill their obligation towards judgment creditors, there could be serious consequences including judgment enforcement and sanctions. It's not just about judgment enforcement and getting what is owed by the judgment debtor; it's also about navigating the jurisdiction's legal landscape effectively and ethically as a judgment creditor.

Judgment collection isn't just for the courts, lawyers, or debt collectors - anyone who is a debtor or is owed money should have a basic understanding of how this process works within their jurisdiction, including payment procedures. This knowledge can empower individuals and businesses alike, promoting fair enforcement of practices, financial stability, and the wise use of money. It can also guide in avoiding unnecessary fees, seeking appropriate counsel, or exploring options to sell judgment if needed.

Process of Collecting on a Judgement

Steps After the Court Judgment

Once you've won a judgment in federal courts, there's still the civil part of filing and enforcement work to do. The process doesn't stop here.

First, you have to enforce the judgment. This means getting your money from the debtor.

  1. Obtain a writ of execution from the court.
  2. Assign the enforcement to a collection agency or have the judgment creditor hand it over to a debt collector for the judgment debtor's money.
  3. They then proceed with enforcement.

It's not always easy, but it's necessary.

Identifying the Right Debtor Assets

Tracking Down Debtors Assets

To collect a judgment, you must first locate the debtor's assets, involving the creditor, enforcement procedures, the county clerk, and potentially the sheriff. Creditors often use an information subpoena to request this data from debtor files at the county clerk's office, seeking exemption from the sheriff. This subpoena requires the debtor to disclose their assets, income, and exemption information to the creditor.

  • Information subpoenas are legal documents.
  • A creditor can help a judgment debtor find real property, personal property, and funds by accessing information from the county clerk.

Asset Types for Seizure

Not all assets are fair game for collection. Real estate, often the most valuable asset a debtor might own, can be subject to a county judgment if the creditor requires information. A creditor can place a lien on the property of a judgment debtor, forcing its sale in the county or city court to pay off the debt, unless an exemption applies.

  • Real estate liens require a fee.
  • Personal property like cars or jewelry can also be seized from a judgment debtor, following exemption rules set by the county or city court.

Unearthing Hidden Assets

Some debtors hide their assets to evade paying debts. Finding these hidden treasures in the county court's judgment is no walk in the park, especially with exemptions. Yet, persistence pays off when you finally uncover them.

  • Hidden assets may include offshore accounts or trusts.
  • The process of locating the court judgment, creditor, and exemption can be challenging but rewarding.

Legal Limitations on Seizure

However, not everything is up for grabs! Laws protect certain types of property from seizure by creditors, even when a debtor is involved in a court judgment. For instance, most states shield a portion of a debtor's wages from garnishment by a creditor through income execution, following a court judgment.

  • Income execution protects a percentage of an individual's earnings.
  • Laws vary by state and type of debt owed.

Strategies for Successful Judgment Collection

Persistence and Patience Pay Off

Judgment collection can be a long game. It requires persistence and patience. Your court judgment enforcement efforts against the debtor might take time, but don't lose hope, creditor.

Professional Help Can Be Useful

Sometimes, in a court judgment, you might need to bring in the big guns against a debtor, as a creditor. Debt collectors, attorneys, or judgment buyers, acting on behalf of the creditor, have tools and information at their disposal that can help speed up the court judgment process against a debtor.

For example, they may use sanctions as a form of judgment to pressure debtors into paying up. They might also offer judgment-based counsel on how best to approach your case.

Negotiating Directly Has Its Perks

Negotiation is another tool in your arsenal. Direct communication with the debtor can lead to a quicker resolution of the judgment issue.

Remember, though, it's crucial to exercise judgment and understand your options before entering into negotiations. You want to ensure you're getting a fair deal.

Know Your State Laws

Finally, remember that each state has its own laws regarding judgment collection. Ensure you're familiar with these regulations and exercise sound judgment before initiating your collection efforts.

For instance, some states might require you to file a claim within a certain timeframe after winning a judgment. Others may limit what assets you can seize from the debtor based on judgment.

By understanding these rules, you'll be better equipped to navigate the collection process successfully.

Bank Garnishments: Limitations and Exemptions

What's Bank Garnishment

Bank garnishment is a serious matter. It happens when you owe money.

Legal Limits on Garnishments

There are rules about bank garnishments. Federal laws set these limits.

For example, only a certain amount of your money can be taken. The exact amount depends on various factors.

Exemptions Protecting Your Funds

Some funds in your bank account are safe from garnishment. These are called exemptions.

Common exemptions include:

  • Social Security benefits
  • Disability payments
  • Veterans' benefits
  • Child support payments

These funds cannot be touched by creditors.

How to Fight Back

You can challenge a bank garnishment action. It's not easy, but it is possible.

Here's how:

  1. Consult with an attorney.
  2. File an objection in court.
  3. Provide proof of your exempt funds.

Remember, each case is different. Always get legal advice before taking action.

Renewing Foreign Judgments in New Jersey

Domesticating Foreign Judgments

The city court of New Jersey has a process for domesticating foreign judgments. It's like importing a judgment from another state into New Jersey. You need to file some paperwork with the court.

  • Get a certified copy of the foreign judgment
  • File it with the city court
  • Pay the filing fee

This makes your foreign judgment enforceable in New Jersey.

Time Limits and Renewal

Foreign judgments have an expiry date. In most United States jurisdictions, it's around 10 years. But don't worry! You can renew them.

To renew a foreign judgment:

  1. File a renewal application before it expires
  2. Pay the renewal fee

Then your judgment is good for another term.

Reciprocity Between States

Reciprocity between states impacts how easy it is to renew your judgment. Some states have agreements to accept each other's judgments without extra steps. This can make things easier for you!

Impact on Credit Report

Renewed judgments affect debtor's credit reports too. A renewed judgment shows up on their report, just like a new one would. This could lower their credit score and make getting loans harder for them.

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