When you have money owed to you, it’s often not that difficult to obtain a judgment in a court of law. Many times, in fact, the person or company that owes you money won’t even respond to your lawsuit and the court will enter a default judgment. Unfortunately, that’s almost always the easiest part. Recovering the funds can prove far more difficult.
There are a number of tools available to you to complete the collection process. They all involve legal issues and are not efforts you should attempt on your own. Your interests will always be served best by retaining experienced legal counsel:
Obtain an Execution on Goods and Chattels
If the person or company owing you money has more than $1,000 of personal property, you may file an execution against their goods and chattels. This allows for the recovery of funds owed to you from the debtor’s personal property (it does not apply to real estate). If you successfully levy on assets, you may be able to force a public sale of personal property, with the debt to you paid out of the proceeds.
Obtain a Bank Levy
If you have a judgment and you also know where the debtor has a checking or savings account, you can levy on the debtor’s bank account. It’s not a simple process. Sometimes a third party may claim an interest in the account or on occasion, the monies levied on may be exempt. Once the funds have been frozen, you must file a Motion to Turn Over Funds. The funds are then are then paid to a special civil part officer, who then reimburses you.
If the debtor earns more than $217.50 a week, you can ask the court to garnish, or seize funds from, his or her wages. There are limitations on the amount you may seize. If the court grants the wage garnishment, it will be withheld by the employer and paid to the special civil part officer, who will subsequently forward it to your counsel or you.
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