Now that you have successfully filed a Confession of Judgment, obtaining the money that is owed to you seems effortless. Well, it’s not that simple. Why? A Confession of Judgment is simply a type of judgment, and like all other judgments, it does not guarantee payment. While this device allows you to obtain a judgment without the need to commence a lawsuit, you still need to enforce that judgment if you want to receive any money.
What is Judgment Enforcement?
Judgment enforcement is the process of locating and recovering assets that can be used to satisfy your judgment. Assets are not limited to money. Assets can include real property, personal belongings, wages and income streams (with some exemptions for each of these categories) that can be sold, seized, garnished or levied for the purpose of paying you. As the judgment-creditor, enforcement is your responsibility. The courts will not do this for you. Unsurprisingly, many judgment-debtors will not voluntarily pay you, even if you have a judgment. Instead, they will make you work to uncover information about their finances and resources.
Gathering Information and Enforcement Devices
As an initial matter, you will likely serve the judgment-debtor with a restraining notice and information subpoena. The information subpoena will request information, in the form of questions, about the judgment debtor’s assets and other forms of income and earnings that may assist you in satisfying the judgment. The restraining notice will prohibit the judgment-debtor from disposing, transferring or tampering with any property that can be used to satisfy the judgment. Later in the collection process, you may also wish to take the deposition of the judgment-debtor, should your collection efforts advance to that stage.
You will also want to review the information that you have concerning the debtor’s assets. For example, has the debtor previously paid you via a check or wire from a bank? If so, you likely want to issue a subpoena to that bank to learn more about the judgment debtor’s assets. You can even send a restraining notice to that bank that will freeze twice the amount of the judgment owed, assuming such funds exist within the judgment-debtor’s accounts.
If the judgment-debtor is employed with a company, you may decide to garnish his wages. If the judgment-debtor owns significant personal property, that too may be subject to collection. If your judgment-debtor rents or leases real property to others, that income stream can also be used to pay your judgment. There are other ways to leverage real property to satisfy a judgment, subject to certain exemptions, prior liens, and issues concerning whether the property is the debtor’s primary residence and whether the debtor owns the property with others.
There are countless strategic and legal implications to consider when enforcing judgments. It is best to consult with an attorney experienced in judgment collection to help you navigate these issues and determine the best course of action for you.
This Blog is made available by Romano Law PLLC for general informational and educational purposes only, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this Blog you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Romano Law PLLC or any individual contributor. You should consult a licensed professional attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.