Winning a judgment and then collecting the associated monetary award sounds easy until you actually need to do it. But truth be told, civil litigation is complex. It is time consuming and aggravating. And when it comes time to collect, you are left wandering through a confusing maze that could leave you wondering if suing was the right decision.
The good news is that judgment creditors (the winning parties in civil litigation) do not have to get lost in that maze. There are tons of online resources explaining how it all works. Professional help is also available. Between attorneys, general collection agencies, and collection agencies that specialize in judgments, no judgment creditor needs to go it alone.
There Are Rules to Follow
Much of the maze that is judgment collection is the result of the rules creditors are required to follow. Judgment creditors are not allowed to do whatever they please. For example, if a creditor wants to seize and sell a piece of property owned by the debtor, a visit to the courthouse is necessary.
The creditor needs to petition the court for a writ of seizure. The petition must include the property the creditor hopes to seize along with other information pertinent to the case. Seizure and sale can only proceed if the court grants the writ.
Even something as innocuous as making phone calls or sending collection letters is subject to strict rules. There are certain things judgment creditors can and cannot do. Violating the rules jeopardizes a creditor’s ability to collect in full.
There Are Time Constraints to Pay Attention To
In addition to rules, judgment creditors need to account for time constraints. One of the first-time constraints involves a delay between the time a judgment is rendered and the date on which collection efforts can begin. Most states give judgment debtors 30 days to appeal a ruling against them. During that time, a judgment creditor may not begin collection efforts.
Whenever courts need to get involved in the process, there will be time constraints as well. Judgment creditors need to know what those time constraints are. They need to adhere to them without question.
There Are Delay Tactics to Deal With
If rules and time constraints were not enough, judgment creditors often need to deal with delay tactics initiated by debtors and their attorneys. Delay tactics are not abnormal. And in fact, they are more common than most first time judgment creditors realize.
Delay tactics include things like not responding to interrogatories in a timely fashion and not providing accurate asset information. Efforts to avoid or delay payment can even be as drastic as hiding assets or moving out-of-state and not providing forwarding information.
Skilled Collectors Are Your Best Option
Because judgment collection is such a maze of rules, time constraints, and delay tactics, you really need to know what you are doing to get from start to finish and walk away with payment. Few judgment creditors actually do. That is why skilled collectors are your best option if you are attempting to collect a judgment on your own.
Judgement Collectors is a Utah-based collection agency that specializes in this sort of thing. They recommend specialized collection agencies over general collection agencies and attorneys for the simple fact that specialization works to your benefit.
Regardless of the type of organization you go to for help, you are going to need that help to navigate the maze that is judgment collection. Try to go it alone and the chances of failure are pretty high. That is just the reality of the judgment collection game.