I am not a lawyer, I am a judgment broker. This article is my opinion, and not legal advice, based on my experience in California. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer.
When one is new to the judgment recovery business, they tend to take every judgment showed to them. A common belief held by some new to the business, is that even if they do not currently have the resources, or know how to, enforce a judgment; they take it anyway. That way, they can work on it whenever they are ready someday, and perhaps also so that no one else can get it. However, this is unfair to creditors. Creditors are looking for experts that will take action with their judgment.
Once one has had some experiences, spending some days answering calls and emails from Original Judgment Creditors (OJCs) asking “what’s going on with my judgment?”, one becomes more selective about which judgments they will take. Some enforcers have become cash up-front judgment buyers, primarily to avoid OJCs who contact them excessively.
Ideally, one should only take judgments when there is some confidence that the judgment can be recovered within one year. That can be six months to find and have the available judgment debtor assets levied, then waiting up to six more months for the Sheriff to mail you a check.
When you are assigned a judgment, and you have no clear-cut path to recovering it, you should let the OJC know the reasons, and that this is a judgment you will check every six months. If they complain strongly, consider returning the judgment.
In my opinion, there is not much current or future value in owning judgments that you cannot enforce. Here are some guidelines as to whether you should take on or keep a judgment:
1) Is the OJC reasonable? Do they object to your rates, do they want to make unreasonable modifications to your paperwork? Are they strongly hinting they will be annoying in the future? Then do not take their judgment.
2) Is the judgment debtor far away from you? It is usually best not to take judgments when the debtor or the court that rendered the judgment, is farther away than you can conveniently drive or fly to.
3) Does the judgment debtor have any available assets showing? If not, remember that it is difficult to recover what is not there.
4) Do you have enough resources (experience, contacts, time, and cash) to do and pay for what is required to recover the judgment?
5) Does the judgment debtor have an OK credit score? Some judgment enforcers get judgments assigned to them (which makes them the legal owner of the judgment), and then run credit reports on the judgment debtors, before filing the assignments at the court. If the judgment debtor’s credit report is bad, they do not file the assignment with the court, and return the judgment back to the OJC.
When you decide not to take a judgment, clearly explain the reasons to the OJC. Tell the OJC the truth, to reduce the chances of them wasting people’s time by bouncing their judgment off many other judgment enforcers. Better yet, earn income and help OJCs, by referring the creditors to a judgment broker.