Judgment Creditor’s Rights to Collect from Judgment Debtor
When a creditor sues a debtor and obtains a judgment for the unpaid debt, the creditor (now a “judgment creditor”) can enforce the judgment against the debtor (now a “judgment debtor”) by seizing, subject to certain exceptions and limitation, the debtor’s income and assets.
How Does a Judgment Creditor Learn of the Judgment Debtor’s Income and Assets?
In most states, a judgment creditor can examine a judgment debtor regarding the debtor’s income and assets. The process is in most states called a “debtor’s examination.” The judgment creditor is looking to find income and assets that may not be exempt from creditor process.
What To Do if You’ve Received Notice of Debtor’s Examination?
Here are three things to remember if you’ve been subpoenaed to appear at a debtor’s examination:
- Failure to show up at the examination can result in citation for contempt and, in certain cases, jail time. It is therefore important not to ignore a notice to appear at a debtor’s examination. If the time specified is not convenient, try to work with counsel for the judgment creditor to find a mutually acceptable time.
- Your answers at the examination are under oath. Lying under oath is perjury and a crime punishable by jail time.
- If the collector finds income or assets not exempt from creditor process under law, the collector can and will obtain necessary court orders to seize that income and assets.
Some judgment creditors are relentless in their pursuit of judgment debtors. The debtor’s examination is one more tool at their disposal. Do not ignore a subpoena (or notice) compelling attendance at a debtor’s examination.
If you have an outstanding judgment against you, you may want to consider ways to minimize or eliminate the adverse consequences of the judgment creditor’s enforcement efforts. Call or email for a free consultation to learn the full range of your options.
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