Why Judgment Collection Is a Skill to Be Mastered

As a freelance writer, I have been covering civil litigation and judgment collection for years. A tremendous amount of research has led me to believe the judgment collection is less a service and more a skill to be mastered. Not everyone who offers the service actually does it well. Rest assured there are reasonable explanations.

Civil Courts and Judgments

Judgment collection is a necessary service for the simple fact that civil courts often return decisions that include monetary awards. What we commonly refer to as a judgment is really a court decision involving some sort of financial transaction. That is an improper use of the term, but I will not argue semantics here.

An example case involves a landlord trying to collect back rent from a tenant who moved out months ago. She has been unsuccessful thus far, so she takes the former tenant to civil court. She wins the case, meaning a judgment is entered on her behalf. The judgment legally recognizes the tenant’s responsibility to pay his back rent plus interest and legal fees.

Collecting the Debt

We can use the same fictional example to delve into why judgment collection is a skill to be mastered. Let us start with the assumption that the tenant is unwilling to pay. He claims to not have the money. Furthermore, he claims to have insufficient income and no worthwhile assets. Where does the landlord go from there?

She turns to a judgment collection agency like Judgment Collectors. When Judgment Collectors agrees to take the case, yhey will now pursue collection on her behalf based on a consignment model. When they collect, they will get paid. But collection might not be that easy.

Plenty of Hurdles

Judgment Collectors and the landlord will have plenty of hurdles to overcome. First is determining whether the tenant was telling the truth about income and assets. Someone will have to investigate the tenant’s job, his financial resources, and any other potential assets – like property, securities, collectibles, etc.

Along the way, both the landlord and collection agency need to comply with the law. There are certain collection practices they cannot utilize. Among those they can, there are limits to how they are implemented.

If the landlord wants to go after a piece of property Judgment Collectors discovered during its property search, it’s back to court where a writ of seizure (sometimes known as a writ of execution) will have to be obtained. That means filing a motion and attending a hearing.

State Laws Differ

Under the best of circumstances, pursuing an uncooperative debtor requires a lot of work. The job gets even harder when different state laws are involved. Let’s say the tenant decides to move out of the state. He can be pursued within the letter of the law. But the laws of his new state probably differ from those in the old one. Now the landlord and collection agency have to adapt to a whole new legal environment.

New documents need to be filed with a new court. The collection agency might have to start over with a new property search. If wage garnishment was previously in play, continuing it with the tenant’s new employer requires another round of legal maneuvering.

Believe it or not, what I have discussed in this post barely scratches the surface. I could write volumes on the topic and still not cover it all. And that is why I say that collecting judgments is a skill to be mastered. It is not as easy as making a phone call and waiting for a check to arrive in the mail.

Similar Posts