Why There Is No Perfect Strategy for Collecting a Judgment

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Our internet-driven culture likes to believe that there are perfect solutions for every problem under the sun. But no such thing exists. Take collecting a civil judgment, for example. You can find website after website offering the ‘perfect’ strategy for doing so. But there is no perfect strategy, and for good reason.

Judgment Collectors is a judgment collection agency based in Salt Lake City. They specialize in helping creditors collect outstanding judgments in nearly a dozen states. If there is one thing the firm has learned over the years, it is the fact that every case is unique. Every case requires its own strategy for success.

Different Ways to Collect

Trying to come up with a perfect strategy for collecting judgments is nearly impossible for the simple fact that there are different ways to collect. Ideally, judgment creditors would love nothing more than to receive certified checks for the total amount due within hours of a judgment being rendered. But this is rarely how it works.

More often than not, judgment debtors are not as cooperative as they could or should be. So creditors and collection agencies need to take extra steps to collect. Here are some of their options, according to Judgment Collectors:

  • Working out a monthly payment plan with the debtor.
  • Garnishing the debtor’s wages, bank accounts, or both.
  • Placing liens on debtor property.
  • Obtaining Writs of Seizure against said property.

There are times when a judgment creditor can employ one collection method and get every penny owed. But again, it is the rare case that can be closed so quickly and easily. Most creditors and collection agencies are forced to employ multiple collection methods to get the money.

When Debtors Try to Avoid Paying

Then there is the matter of debtors who purposely try to avoid paying. A typical tactic is to provide incorrect information regarding employment, assets, and address. Incorrect information will not stop an agency like Judgment Collectors, but it will slow investigators down. Providing incorrect information is a tactic designed to give a debtor more time to do other things.

Another common strategy is to hide assets so investigators cannot find them in the future. Maybe a debtor owns a piece of investment property in another county. He might transfer ownership of that property to a family member in hopes that future real estate searches will not uncover it.

Judgment Collectors once worked on a case involving a debtor who claimed he did not have the financial resources to pay his judgment. A property record search uncovered an airplane hangar he owned in a neighboring county. That is all the agency needed. They contacted the debtor, made him aware that they had found his property, and encouraged him to find a way to pay his bill. He did just that.

Creditors Have to Follow the Law

If all of this is not enough, creditors are not free to collect in any way they see fit. They must follow the law in all their collection efforts. This can create issues in the sense that states have different laws. For instance, let us say a creditor goes after a debtor who attempted to avoid paying by moving to a neighboring state. The creditor now needs to follow the laws in that neighboring state as long as the debtor remains there.

If there were a perfect strategy for collecting judgments, everyone would be utilizing it. But there isn’t. There are just too many factors in play. Perhaps this is why experts recommend turning judgments over to an experienced collection agency rather than trying to collect in-house.

Posted in Law

Paul Trance

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