Unfortunately, just winning a legal judgment in civil court or small claims court on a collection or debt owed does not mean that the funds due will be automatically and immediately paid by the defendant involved. In fact, despite the good news of winning a collection case, a plaintiff has only won “half the battle.” The actual financial recovery phase still needs to occur, especially if a defendant who owes the judgment doesn’t want to be cooperative.
The Specifics of Post-Judgment Collections
A number of tools are available, and a post-judgment claim involves legally and correctly exercising these tools to initiate payment recoveries, irrespective of the defendant’s cooperation. These tools, when put into effect, involve more familiar terms such as garnishments, liens, seizures, and property liquidations. However, to make the desired recovery results occur, the legal process often requires various forms of filings and paperwork to trigger action based on an approved judgment. Ergo the term “post-judgment claims.”
In practice, liens, garnishments on paychecks, and property seizures have to be documented in further court and processing orders. This protects any agency or institution involved in cooperating with the recovery from making a mistake with a seizure. For example, a bank could find itself in deep trouble and in regularly violation if it made a mistake turning over one party’s bank balance to another. As a result, bank managers want to be sure that a judgment order actually applies to their business without an exception to the matter. This first requires a winning plaintiff to find and identify a defendant’s property and where it may be located. When that information is obtained, then the plaintiff can initiate the action to actually force the defendant’s title on the property to be eliminated and the property transferred to the plaintiff by the institution holding the asset.
The Cost of Errors and Mistakes
Because post-judgment filings can be extremely technical with local court rules, mistakes can be made in the filing process. And those same mistakes can often allow a defendant to delay payments or cause a plaintiff to have to refile a post-judgment claim all over again. These basic technicalities can include a defendant finding out early that a filing is being made and moving assets out before they are seized so there is nothing to seize, finding errors in filing information and arguing the mistake invalidates the claim against the defendant, not providing correct notice per civil procedure rules, and similar.
The best way to avoid post-judgment filing mistakes and to ensure post-judgment claims are processed as efficiently as possible, a collecting party should consider the use and benefit of an experienced collections attorney. An experienced attorney offers more than just basic knowledge of the legal collection process. He can also offer a way to navigate the differences of local court rules, which can vary quite a bit from court jurisdiction to court jurisdiction.
After all the effort that goes into obtaining a legal collection judgment, it is an absolute waste to lose all that struggle to the actual inability to make a financial recovery happen. Effective post-judgment claims and related filings make a legal recovery complete, bringing back lost funds and allowing a plaintiff to get on with business and life. As a result, using a qualified attorney in the effort only makes good business sense, especially when the financial recoveries involved are significant and sizable.