The Post-judgment Collection Process

Updated: May 28, 2020


Asset Pursuit™ is an enforcement agency that's hired by an individual or business creditor to collect from their debtor. We do not file the initial judgment with the courts. A money judgment is a court order that awards the plaintiff a sum of money. The award is owed to the plaintiff for a variety of reasons. Some examples are unpaid rent, damages to a rental unit, money borrowed, hospital bills, credit cards, and money owed for services rendered.

Now, it’s Time to Collect


Once you’ve been awarded a judgment against a debtor, you’ll need to collect your money. Securing a judgment in a court is sometimes the easiest part of the judgment recovery process. Once a judgment is awarded, it’s up to the creditor (plaintiff) to enforce it and collect the amount of money due. Most creditors are unaware of how to collect an unpaid debt and lack the tools or expertise to follow through. This is understandable since most people aren’t asset investigators, attorneys, or Marshals.


This overview explains some of the post-judgment collection services and techniques that Asset Pursuit™ offers creditors in pursuit of debtors. Many debtors don’t voluntarily pay their debt and attempt to avoid liability altogether. If a debtor fails to pay a money judgment or is unwilling to negotiate a settlement, the creditor can hire Asset Pursuit™ to collect the balance due, including, but not limited to; asset seizure, wage garnishment, writ of execution, levies, and liens.


The pursuit of debtor assets


The first step is obtaining an information subpoena to identify assets owned by the debtor to satisfy the judgment. Our highly experienced asset investigators locate funds using proprietary skip-tracing technology to follow the bread crumbs — canceled checks, employment records, tenant information, and vehicle registration information, to name a few.

We search for assets, housing, and employment data by performing a series of complex searches, credit reports, and online investigations in conjunction with an information subpoena to compel the production of evidence. We use an Information Subpoena to find out about the debtor’s money and property. The Information Subpoena is a legal document signed by the Court Clerk that orders the debtor or their associates to answer questions about where the debtor’s assets are located. Once the debtor’s assets have been identified, Asset Pursuit™ may pursue a garnishment, seizure, or levy to satisfy the judgment.


Writ of Execution


A Writ of Execution is a court order granted to put in force a judgment of possession obtained by a plaintiff from a court. When issuing a writ of execution, a court typically will order a sheriff or other similar official to take possession of property owned by a judgment debtor. Wage garnishments are exercised to collect unpaid judgments, including court costs and the present value interest of the judgment. 

A garnishment is a valuable post-judgment collection technique against a judgment debtor. Garnishment is a legal process for collecting a monetary judgment on behalf of a plaintiff from a defendant. Garnishment allows the plaintiff to take the debtor’s money or property from the person or institution that holds that property. There are two types of garnishments, a one-time garnishment, and a continuous garnishment.


One-time Garnishment


A one-time garnishment is filed against the debtor’s bank and obligates the debtor’s bank to freeze any activity in the bank accounts and withhold the funds held in the accounts up to the judgment amount. The debtor is notified of the bank garnishment only after his/her bank has been served with the garnishment, to prevent the debtor from withdrawing funds to avoid the garnishment.


Continuous Garnishments


Continuous garnishments are filed against the debtor’s employer (also known as wage garnishment) or tenant (rent garnishment) and can last for a specific period depending on the County. When a garnishee is served with a continuing garnishment the garnishee is required to withhold a percentage of the debtor’s disposable income through the date on which the creditor returns to court.


Levies


Asset Pursuit™ may choose to pursue a levy. A levy is a process in which the local Sheriff or Marshal seizes the judgment debtor’s personal property. This may include jewelry, automobiles, equipment, furniture, etc., to satisfy a money judgment. Liquidation occurs by selling the debtor’s property at public auction. Proceeds from the sale of the debtor’s property are paid to the judgment creditor.


Judgment liens


Asset Pursuit™ has the option of attaching an unpaid judgment onto land records of any county in which the debtor owns the property. Recording a judgment lien is a passive debt collection technique. When a judgment lien is recorded, it attaches to any real estate located in the debtor’s name. It will prevent a debtor from selling his/her property, without first satisfying the unpaid judgment, including all attorneys’ fees, interest, and court costs. Although a judgment lien may take longer to recover, the court awarded interest continues to accrue until it is sold.


Compliance


Both federal and state laws regulate and restrict various debt collection practices. The FTC enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which outlines acceptable procedures for debt collectors. Asset Pursuit™ also follows New York State law (Article 29-H of the General Business Law) governing debt collection practices. We will not harass your debtor, threaten them with violence or harm, use obscene or profane language, or repeatedly use the phone to annoy them. We are a professional organization that takes compliance very seriously.


We will not misrepresent the amount you owe, falsely claim they’ll be arrested, or claim legal action will be taken against them if it’s not true. We will not collect unauthorized interest, fees, or other charges on top of the amount they owe unless the original court judgment allows it.




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