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September 20, 2021
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Won a Judgment in Court? Understand Your Collection Options Here

Did you win a judgment in civil or small claims court on a debt owed? If so, you might be excited to get the money owed to you. Unfortunately, this does not mean the defendant will automatically pay the funds due. In fact, your court win is just half the battle. You will have to seek payment on the judgment that favored you. And this can get complicated if the defendant refuses to pay or does not want to cooperate.  

Enforcing a Judgment

When the debtor either cannot pay or will not pay the judgment debt, the post-judgment collection process starts. To collect on the judgment, you need to look for the debtor and determine the debtor’s assets that can be accessed or attached. Then, the following are your options to collect on a judgment in New York:

  • Placing a judgment lien. This lien is placed against all real property of the debtor. But, if the debtor has multiple creditors, you need to act fast and get to the courthouse as soon as you can. This way, you can be the first to file a lien on the debtor’s property and be a priority for monies obtained from the sale of the property on which the lien rests. 
  • Attaching personal property. Personal property can be subject to an execution lien. To execute the judgment, the sheriff will seize the property and sell it at a public auction and you get the proceeds from the sale, depending on the order of “first to the courthouse.”
  • Post-judgment garnishments. As a credit, you can take cash assets from the debtor either from their bank accounts (levy) or from sources of income like wages (garnishment). Federal and state laws have limits on the amounts and types of debts you can garnish. Also, garnishment can be one-time or continuing. 

Filing a Post-Judgment Claim

To get the post-judgment claim recovery you deserve, you need to do filings and prepare paperwork. However, post-judgment claim filings can be quite technical with local court rules. Mistakes can be made in the filing process that can let the defendant or debtor delay payments. In fact, a serious mistake can have you filing a post-judgment claim over again. To avoid making filing mistakes and guarantee the efficient processing of your claims, use an experienced collection lawyer. Aside from offering basic knowledge of the legal collection process, the lawyer will help you navigate the differences of local court rules. 

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