What Is Judgment Recovery and How To Use It In Your Favor
Not many “civilians” know what is a judgment recovery and, unfortunately for them, why it’s important to them. Even if you don’t need to take action right now and initiate a judgment recovery process, it’s good to know how you can use a judgment recovery in your favor.
For example, you’ve rented a place, paid a deposit, but decided to move. You have kept the place in the same condition as you’ve received it, so you have the right to receive back the deposit. However, the landlord refuses to return the deposit. You go to court to get back what it’s rightfully yours and the court rules in your favor. All good! The one thing the court can’t do is actually get the deposit from the landlord and give it to you. If the landlord decides to pay on their own volition, great! But, most of the time, it’s not that simple when it comes to paying back the owed money. You have to go after you’re owned. This is when you need to know: what is judgment recovery? and how you can use the process in your favor!
Judgment recovery is a process of collecting money from a debtor that refuses to pay. The process is based on a judgment ruled by a court. It’s important to remember that, even though the court ruled in your favor and established the debtor needs to pay you what they own, they can’t actually make the debtor pay. The debtor can very well refuse to pay, hide their assets, or even disappear to avoid paying the debt. This is where private investigators step in and take over.
When can you ask for Judgment Recovery?
If the judge rules in your favor and asks the debtor to pay what they own you, you will get a writ of execution. This is how the court gives you permission to collect the debt. Judgments can be monetary or property awards and used to settle debts or compensate for the wrongdoing. They can be obtained during civil trials or debt collection processes, but a simple issue of the judgment is not enough to be sure you’ll get what you’re owed.
The hardest part of the process is not getting the judgment in your favor, but enforcing it and having the debt paid. Although the writ of execution is clear permission from the court to go after the debtor’s money and/or assets, things tend to get more complicated when the debtor finds various ways to hide their income and assets.
What can a debtor do to avoid paying the debt?
A debtor can get very creative to prevent the creditor from getting what they’re owned but they usually resort to three main “solutions”.
- The debtor acknowledges the debt but claims they have no resources to pay it. They can refuse to pay the debt all together under this pretext or come to an agreement with the creditor to pay it in small installments. However, if the creditor doesn’t believe them, they can hire a private investigator to conduct an asset investigation and property record search.
- The debtor refuses to pay. In this case, the private investigator can make use of both types of investigations mentioned above but also go after the debtor’s wage and assets, including their bank accounts.
- The debtor disappears and doesn’t pay the debt. Things get a bit more complicated here but it’s nothing that a private investigator can handle. The first step will be to locate the debtor. Skip tracing will lead the investigator to the debtor and then they can identify the assets and enforce the judgment.
How can a private investigator help with judgment recovery?
Creditors can take a number of steps to recover their money, from going after the debtor’s income to seizing and selling their assets. They can also opt for the garnishment of wages, seizure of bank accounts, repossession, or even eviction. But, in order to be able to do this, creditors need to track the sources of income, assets, and, sometimes, even the debtor. Private investigators are able to do all this fast to help you get back what you’re owned without having to wait for years to pass, especially since nearly 80% of all debt judgments are never recovered. Moreover, a creditor has only ten years to collect the debt unless they decide to renew the judgment.
Before wage garnishing and seizing assets, the creditor needs to know where to look for and what to seize. Private investigators can solve all these “mysteries” and identify the sources of income. They can track down bank accounts, real estate, wages, stocks and bonds, security deposits, business income, income from third parties, rental income, and even the debtor’s RVs, boats, and other vehicles they own.
If the debtor disappears, the private investigator can conduct a skip tracing investigation. This implies surveillance, background checks, tracking down and interviewing witnesses, as well as other methods that will reveal the debtor’s location. Once the missing person is found, the investigator reports to the creditor or can continue the search for their assets.
The debtor is found and the assets are tracked. What now?
Now, it’s time to get your money back. Based on the writ of execution that enforces the judgment, you can seize the debtor’s bank accounts, and, if this is not enough to cover the debt, you can go after their assets. The assets will be seized and sold, usually at an auction or sheriff’s sale, and the proceeds will be used to cover the debt.
A private investigator plays an instrumental part in a judgment recovery and getting your money back. The important thing is to make use of your court judgment as soon as possible and act fast to recover the debt. It’s true that the judgment can collect interest, but the more years pass by without any action, the harder will be to recover what you’re owed.