Many enforcers are flakes, for one reason they take all judgments, even judgments far away from them, Most judgment enforcers only enforce judgments close to them, usually in their own state. The reason is, when a judgment debtor moves to another state, it is more difficult and expensive to enforce the judgment. The only exception is when the Judgment Enforcer (JE) travels often and works near the courts close to where the debtor is now.
There are five ways of handling judgment enforcement when the debtor is not close to the current JE.
1) Work the judgment by remote control – hiring process servers, private investigators, and lawyers. One must also pay for CourtCall, postage, etc. This can become very expensive if the enforcement is not easy.
2) Work it yourself – by traveling often to where the debtor is.
3) Pass it along – pass the judgment to another JE as a referral or a lead, either for free or for some kind of compensation.
4) Refer the judgment to a judgment broker.
5) Coop – cooperate and partner with another JE to enforce the judgment.
This article discusses the last item, judgment coops.
One of the first things to know about judgment coops is that generally unless one is a lawyer, one cannot enforce a judgment unless one owns the judgment outright 100%. For this reason, when JEs cooperate, the ownership is transferred to a partner JE close to the debtor’s assets. This transfer of ownership is often not permanent. The chain of ownership usually works like this:
First, the Original Judgment Creditor (OJC) Assigns (transfers legal ownership of) their judgment to the first JE. Then the first JE assigns the judgment to the second JE. Then sometimes later the Judgment is assigned back to the first JE, or in the case of an uncollectible judgment, sometimes back to the OJC. When a judgment is satisfied, the ownership is no longer important.
Judgment cooperations starts when the first JE takes assignment of the judgment from the OJC, and then that JE discovers that the debtor has moved or has assets elsewhere.
In such a situation, the JE finds another JE close to the debtor. It is almost always a JE that is well-known in their state. The details of the judgment and the situation of the debtor is shared to fully inform the second JE.
Then the first JE and second JE both sign a cooperation agreement that specifies many things including compensation and how any revenue collected will be distributed.
Both JEs always respect the original JE’s agreement with the OJC. Then the first JE assigns the judgment to the second JE. The second JE, now owning the judgment, recovers money from the debtor to satisfy the judgment.
When enough money has been recovered from the debtor to satisfy the judgment, the judgment is satisfied by the JE currently owning the judgment. Sometimes the judgment is assigned back to the first JE before it is satisfied.
When the judgment is satisfied or settled, the second JE, the one that recovered money from the debtor, deducts their share. Then they send the rest of the money onward, so that the original judgment creditor and the first JE can be paid their share of the recovered money, based on the first purchase agreement.
Judgment Coops are “old-school” but are still a popular way for judgment enforcers to use teamwork to go after debtors that abscond, or simply move far away from the original court.