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It is very helpful to organize everything before you try to collect your judgment. Using basic filing and storage procedures can help make it easier to recover a judgment.
The most important document to keep is a copy of the judgment itself. If it was a default judgment, a copy of the proof of service is also very important. Also important are most other court documents, especially documents and receipts for any post-judgment recovery efforts.
The case number is important because it will be needed for all future documents related to the recovery of your judgment. The date of the judgment is also important, because all judgments eventually expire, and because it is required on most post-judgment paperwork.
You must keep an accurate record of how much your judgment debtor owes, and you must be careful to never to collect more than what is owed. Also, you must keep an accurate log of whatever money is recovered on your judgment. You also need to track the interest accrued, and any enforcement-related costs you incurred. Sometimes most or all of the accrued interest is collected, other times some of it is not recovered, because of poor judgment debtors, settlements, and compromises.
Most judgments do not allow attorney fees to be added to the judgment debtor's debt unless the contract dispute that caused the judgment, provided for them.
Only the judgment debtor can repay a judgment, so you need to collect and organize all the information you can about your judgment debtor. You need to find out each and every name or AKA the judgment debtor uses now or in their past. Keep a record of all addresses your judgment debtor used/uses.
Try to find the names of any current and former spouses of your judgment debtor. Current and ex-spouses of your judgment debtor are more likely to know about potential hidden assets of the judgment debtor.
Whether your judgment debtor is a person, or some other entity such as a company or a corporation; you should keep records for their mailing, residential, and any other addresses. Make note of the county for each address.
The judgment debtor's telephone numbers and email addresses are worth keeping track of. Perhaps keep records of their home phone, work phone, cell phone, spouse's phone, and any other telephone number that relates to your judgment debtor.
If your judgment debtor is a business, try to determine their Federal Tax Identification Number (FEIN). If they are a person, try to find their (and perhaps their spouse's) Social Security number. Do not share anyone's SSN except when recovering a judgment, and even then, never share it with anyone except a bank, an employer, a process server, or a Sheriff. Places (not free) to find FEINs are at FreeArisa.com or FeinSearch.com.
Another item to keep on file is the judgment debtor's driver's license number, and the state where it was issued. Also try to get the dates of birth for the judgment debtor and their spouse.
If your judgment debtor was represented by an attorney, keep a record of the attorney's name, address, telephone number, and email address.
Try to find out the debtor's place of employment. If your judgment debtor has a job, this is probably good news, because wages can usually be levied.
Anything you find out about your judgment debtor, their assets, or related to your judgment, needs to be saved and organized in your files. Being armed with this kind of information, will start you in the right direction to try to recover your judgment.
Without saving redundant information, keep everything related to the judgment debtor. You never know what small seemingly insignificant thing, will be important to the successful recovery of your judgment.
Recovering judgments is not easy or cheap, however you can make it a bit easier by keeping important information organize.
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