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When a matter goes before a court, a judge makes a decision to approve or deny a verdict. If that verdict is about one party owing money to another, it is called a civil judgment. If the defendant does not pay you (few do), then you need to follow the court, state, and federal laws about recovering your judgment money. The court may have forms, but they cannot help you to enforce your judgment.
To enforce your judgment, you need to follow laws carefully. The use of procedures and methods to get some or all of your money is called enforcing a judgment. The exact steps you take depend on which are most appropriate for the circumstances of the debtor.
There are several ways to enforce a judgment, that involve getting permission from the court. Here are three of the ways:
1) Get a Writ Of Execution (also called a FiFa or a Warrant) from the court. The Writ allows you to ask the sheriff to take assets such as money from a judgment debtor's bank account or seizing part of their wages. You can also have the Sheriff seize and sell some of the debtor's property at a Sheriff's auction.
2) Get an assignment order from the court. This requires a court hearing where a judge decides if you can intercept a cash flow stream going to the judgment debtor.
3) Get permission from the court to do an examination of the judgment debtor. You can obtain information which can be used to enquire about the financial situation of the debtor. You can ask for the production of documents from the debtor or anyone that owes money to the debtor. This process is rarely used for directly retrieving money.
Judgment enforcement sounds like an easy job but it is not. Once the court makes the decision to issue a judgment, it's up to you to chase the money that is owed to you. Unless you outsource the enforcement of the judgment, you will be the one who has to enforce your judgment.
The vast majority of people will refuse to pay the amount that they legally owe. It is really surprising how many debtors will simply ignore the judgment. This is the situation where active judgment enforcement is required.
This may become a situation where judgment enforcers will come in handy. You can find a judgment enforcer that will try to enforce the judgment. They cannot guarantee that they can enforce your judgment, but they only get paid if they are successful, so they will try. It usually costs you nothing if they are not successful. All judgment enforcers charge some portion of what they successfully recover.
Judgment recovery professionals are well educated on the legal recovery methods to claim the money that is owed to you. Judgment recovery professionals, like detectives, will search through individual or business assets to find a way to uncover the hidden cash that should have been used to pay the debt after the trial.
Judgment enforcers have national connections, in case the debtor moves. They have access to the databases and resources which can be used to increase the chances of getting your money back from the debtor. With the help of these resources, judgment enforcers, assuming the debtors have assets, are able to recover unpaid judgments fairly quickly.
Some recovery operations might take some time to implement. If you want some immediate relief and do not have time to wait for judgment enforcement, some judgment enforcers can pay you cash up front for your judgment. Be aware cash judgment sales are for a small fraction of the face value of the judgment, because anything can happen, including bankruptcy or death of a debtor.
Most judgment enforcers enforce judgments on a future pay basis, paying you about half of whatever they can collect from the debtor. This fee varies, not so much from company to company, but more often depending on the debtor's financial condition. Whatever the fee charged, it is usually worth it not to have to work and spend to enforce your judgment.
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