How To Collect Your Judgment
A judgment is a simple court ruling that the defendant owes you money which gives you legal powers to collect from the judgment debtor.
The money is payable immediately. However the courts will not collect the debt, so getting a judgment is not a guarantee of payment.
It is not the court's job to collect the money. If you are the successful party (called the judgment creditor) you will have to begin the process to collect the money from the unsuccessful party (called the judgment debtor).
There are a number of different ways you can try to collect your money.
The more you know about the judgment debtor's financial situation, the easier it is to pick a method that will be successful.
You may try using the judgment to convince the judgment debtor to pay you. Sometimes initial contact with the judgment debtor may convince the judgment debtor to pay you.
You can contact the judgment debtor by registered mail, by phone or in person. If you do not want to approach the judgment debtor yourself, you might be able to hire a collection agency to help you convince the debtor to pay.
Collection agencies usually only work for businesses.
Registering the judgment in the Personal Property Registry. A registered Judgment acts like a charge or a lien against the debtor’s property by binding the property and therefore making the sale or the mortgage of the property difficult. By registering the Judgment you may get paid if the debtor decides to sell or mortgage that property. The debtor might also want to pay the judgment to clear his or her credit rating.
It is probably not a good idea to contact the debtor in person. Inform the judgment debtor that the court has made a judgment against her. You may agree to accept payment in full or on a specified schedule. You can remind the judgment debtor of the following consequences of not paying:
If the judgment debtor goes bankrupt, the rules change completely. You will not be able to continue with enforcement proceedings.
Many potential complications may arise during the enforcement process. For example, there may be a dispute about who really owns the property, property may be jointly owned, or there may be security interests.
After you receive complete payment for the judgment, you must discharge a Notice of Judgment at the Personal Property Registry within 30 days.
There are several legal steps available. However, first you may want to consider your options.
You should find out about the judgment debtor's income and assets. Try to find out whether he or she has enough equity in them to cover the judgment. For example, is the judgment debtor still making payments on the new car in her driveway? Consider that a forced sale may not yield the full value of the property.
Find out if there are other creditors who are trying to enforce claims against the debtor. You may have to share any proceeds proportionately with other creditors. Remember, if other creditors are secured creditors you may not benefit by seizing and selling the property. A secured creditor has a lien on a specific piece of property tied to a loan, like a mortgage, and will have priority over you.
It usually costs money to collect your money. You must decide if the additional costs are worth it.
You can use any of the available collection options.
Collections costs are out of your pocket and you cannot recover them from the debtor.
Is it worth the effort and expense to collect your judgment. However, there is no guarantee that you will get full payment. So it is up to you to decide how much time and money you will put in. If you can not collect, at least the judgment will remain on the deadbeats credit record for years.
No, but you can hire a paralegal to try to get information about the judgment debtor's financial state.
If the judgment debtor refuses to say whether he or she can pay, you may get a court order to have the judgment debtor submit to an examination.
The judgment creditor and the clerk ask questions about the judgment debtor's assets and ability to pay.
The judgment debtor must answer the relevant examination questions.
If the debtor can pay, the clerk may make an order to pay by installment. If the judgment debtor does not respect the order, you will need a lawyer to take civil action for contempt of a court order.
You must register the judgment in the Personal Property Registry before you start these proceedings against the debtor's personal property.
There are two main procedures to enforce a judgment:
Seizure and Sale, and Garnishment.
Garnishment is a court order demanding that a third party who owes money to a judgment debtor pay the judgment creditor instead.
For example, if the judgment debtor has a bank account with money in it, the court can require the bank to pay you.
To get a garnishment order, you must apply to the court.
It is a court order which directs the sheriff to try to seize and sell some of the judgment debtor's property to pay the judgment. To get one, take your judgment and a copy of your verification of registration in the PPRS to the clerk at the Court Office. Ask for an Order for Seizure and Sale . Fill it out completely and take the order and a copy of your verification of registration in the PPRS to the sheriff's office. Do this in a district where you think the judgment debtor has property. The order is enforceable throughout the province.
Some property is exempt from seizure and sale. This includes some furniture and appliances, as well as one motor vehicle to a certain value. Property which is not exempt is called exigible. All exigible personal property must be sold before you can seize and sell land. It is advisable to consult a lawyer if you are going to try to seize and sell land.
Once you have given the order to the sheriff, he or she will ask for instructions in writing, as well as payment of a $75 registration fee. The sheriff may ask for a security deposit to be sure that the Sheriff's Office can cover anticipated expenses of seizure and sale.
You can give any accurate information that you have about the judgment debtor to the Sheriff's Office. This will help the investigation and speed up the process. You can include the debtor's name, street address (not just mailing address) with apartment number, place of employment, and so on. You can also give specifics about the judgment debtor's property you want the sheriff to seize and sell. Make sure the information is accurate, because you may be liable for damages if it is not. The sheriff will usually give the judgment debtor a demand to settle the matter within fourteen days before proceeding further because costs will increase as the procedure continues. This is the reason for the security deposit.
The sheriff will try to recover enough money from the seizure and sale to pay you and cover any additional expenses. Additional costs could include locksmiths, storage and labour, advertising, etc. Note that you may lose your security deposit if the sheriff does not recover enough money to cover expenses. The sheriff will do as much as possible to successfully execute the order and then return it to you indicating what happened.
What happens to the money from the seizure and sale?
If you are the only creditor and the amount of money recovered is less than $750, the sheriff will give it to you after recouping costs. If the sheriff recovers more than $750, the sheriff will hold the money for thirty days in case of other creditors. If the other creditors make a claim on the money recovered, they will receive a share in proportion to their claim. Also, certain creditors may have priority over you, such as banks and government agencies. They will have first claim to the money. You will receive your share of the money after priority creditors get theirs.
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