I have a court awarded civil judgement against an individual. The judgement was awarded about five years ago. The individual has paid nothing and had put everything in either his wife's name or a corporation's name before the judgement was awarded. The amount is not large enough to justify hiring a lawyer and going back to court to collect. What are my options at this point?
1. How could I get the judgement to show up on his credit report?
2. Is there any state organization where judgements can be listed?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: Judgement Collection
I suppose your judgment is from the General District Court. You can get an abstract of judgment from the clerk and take it to the Circuit Court for any county where the individual owns real estate in which the judgment will automatically operate as a lien against any real estate he owns in that county. For small amounts, you can't foreclose, but he can't sell without paying you off.
Check with the clerk to fill out a form called "judgement debtor interrogatories" - it's a requirement that the debtor come into court and answer whatever questions you have (there are canned sets of such questions in the local law library) about his assets. I'd specifically ask about the corporation. If the individual is a stockholder, have the Court attach all of his stock - then you own the corporation and everything it owns (along with whatever other stockholders there are, of course). You're also entitled to have the Sheriff take whatever jewelry he's wearing and whatever cash he's got in his pockets at the time of the interrogatories.
If you find a collections attorney who's in court a lot (many of them do it like factories) it would be worth it to you to have the attorney handle it for a percentage of your judgment. You're going to waste a lot of time and effort otherwise.
Re: Judgement Collection
In addition to what Mr. Hawes has recommended, you can also forward copies of the judgment abstracts from the general district court or any liens which you may record in the judgment lien book of the circuit court to the major credit
reporting agencies with a brief cover letter of explanation.
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