Collecting Your Judgment: How to Do It Effectively and Legally

A win in a small claims court makes you legally entitled to a monetary award. However, it can be difficult to collect on a judgment in New York, especially without legal help. Before you sue, you need to consider if the other party’s income and assets could be used to pay your claim. 

How to Collect Your Judgment

To start your effort to collect the judgment you won, you must send a formal Demand for Money Owed to the other party. The letter might do the trick and when it does, you won’t need to take more serious measures. But, if the other person cannot pay you because of their circumstances, work together to develop a reasonable payment plan or arrange to have them pay in the future. Should the debtor refuse to pay and working out a payment plan is impossible, consider other options. In general, you need to get proof from the court that you won the judgment in the form of a writ of execution. Then, bring this document to the local sheriff who will serve it to the appropriate institution and collect it from your debtor. 

Collection Options

After the document has been served, you might be able to garnish up to 25% of the debtor’s wage. But, make sure to ask the sheriff for the garnishment rules in your state. Another collection option is by placing a real estate lien. This will get you paid a certain amount of money from the proceeds of the debtor’s property. Although you won’t get your money immediately, placing a lien will provide you with a claim as a creditor that the debtor should pay if their property is sold or refinanced.

Moreover, you may also seize money from the deposit accounts of the debtor including checking, saving, mutual fund, and money market accounts. Or order the sale of some equipment and tangible assets to pay your claim. 

Why Hire a Collection Expert?

Collection experts will help you collect your judgment in exchange for a percentage of whatever they get from your debtor. If you fail to collect your judgment or don’t want to spend time and effort to get your money, letting a collection professional do the job for you might be a great idea. The right expert knows the best strategy to successfully collect what’s owed to you after a judgment. They know the collection laws in your state and apply them accordingly. 

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