It is frustrating to settle or win a lawsuit, and then not being able to legally make your debtor pay. There are many ways a debtor can avoid paying what they owe. Sometimes they hide assets, and then file for bankruptcy.
When faced with an uncooperative debtor, many people decide to find a Judgment Enforcer (JE) to collect from the debtor. Because judgments expire and debtors can move, it is best not to wait too long before finding a JE.
The average JE is not a lawyer, a private investigator, or a paralegal. However, they know a lot about all these subjects. Most have been working for many years, helping those with judgments to recover their money.
Most JEs charge fifty percent of what they recover, because judgment enforcement is expensive, not easy, and not guaranteed to be successful.
JEs search through a business or individual’s affairs to discover available assets to attempt to satisfy your judgment. They must qualify with, and pay for (paid) private national databases, and/or hire private investigators. With these tools, filing forms, and paying courts and Sheriffs is expensive. However, they can often recover money from the judgment debtor.
The JE knows that you want your money as quickly as possible. Everything depends on your judgment debtor. The JE wants to be paid even more quickly, as this work is usually their only source of income.
If you need cash now – forget it. Cash sales are usually for pennies on the dollar. Even when your debtor is rich, judgment buyers know debtors can die or go bankrupt so they pay you after (e.g.) 90 days.
Never presume a timetable for getting money from a judgment – most likely it will bring you money in the future. It might be tomorrow, it might be a year from now, it might be 10 years from now, and it might be never. Having a JE start enforcing the judgment vastly increases the chance of money coming your way.
JEs must follow all laws and the laws allow things to move slow. Sheriffs and courts are sometimes very slow.
If you want quicker action, tell your JE they can settle. This gives them one more tool in negotiations. Cash settlements are better than uncertainty and the slow pace of garnished assets, or waiting to recover the money after the debtor’s available assets are showing.
The way JEs (not being lawyers or collection agencies) work is to legally buy your judgment. This is called an Assignment of Judgment, the notarized sale of all rights to your judgment.
How do you know if you can trust the JE? The chances of a JE intentionally cheating you is small. In most Counties in the USA, this has never happened. It happens enough to mention and discuss, but not o worry about. See my article: “How to Pick a Judgment Enforcer”.
Everything JEs do (including motions and orders) to take money from the debtor becomes a public record. This means you can see the JE’s actions at your local courthouse or court web site.
When a JE recovers the debtor’s money, that amount ends up being recorded at the court. The JE must record a satisfaction of judgment that also becomes a public record. No money can be hidden from you for very long. If a JE does steal money, they can be sued, and they will not be in business very long.
The way JEs pay you depends on your judgment and what State you are in. Most states allow future payment for the purchase of judgments. This allows you to get 50% (on average) of what the JE recovers from the debtor. If the JE purchased your judgment in full and up-front, you would get far less than 50%, perhaps 1-4% on average.
The forms the JE will send you depend on the judgment enforcer and the State they work in. The average JE sends a cover letter, an Agreement contract, and an Assignment of Judgment form, usually a return envelope You have to mail the forms back. The Assignment form must be notarized.
Using a judgment expert dramatically increases the chances of recovering some money from the debtor. And when you use a judgment enforcer, you never have to pay any more money or spend any more time trying to make the debtor to pay.