What Are the Seven Steps for Collecting on a Judgment?
It’s one thing to win your case against someone who owes you a debt, but it’s another thing entirely to collect on the judgment. Collecting on a judgment may be challenging for various reasons, but it is up to you, the judgment creditor, to collect from the judgment debtor.
Below, we will outline the seven steps for collecting on a judgment in North Carolina.
Identify What Money or Property You Will Take
The first thing you need to do is determine what assets or property you plan to collect. When you write your instructions to the sheriff, you must outline which types of property they need to take.
Certain types of property are exempt and likely won’t be worth your time to pursue. Common examples of exempt property include government benefits such as unemployment and Social Security, workers’ compensation benefits, funds for basic needs, etc. You could try to claim this property, but the debtor will likely be able to take the property back by filing with the court.
Instead, you should claim non-exempt property, which may include:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Recovery funds
Once you have identified the types of property that you can claim from the debtor, you can draft the Writ of Execution.
Writ of Execution
The Writ of Execution is a court order that gives a constable or sheriff permission to collect property from a debtor. After completing the Writ of Execution, you’ll need to file it with the court. Note that there will be a filing fee.
Notice of Execution
Along with the Writ of Execution, you’ll need to attach a document called the Notice of Execution. This document is for the debtor and details their rights. Once you’ve submitted your documents, the sheriff will serve the documents to the debtor.
Writ of Garnishment
If you are trying to claim funds from a third party, you’ll need to draft a Writ of Garnishment. While you won’t need a Writ of Garnishment if you are simply collecting cash directly from the debtor, you will need the order if you plan to collect from the debtor’s bank account or garnish their wages.
Unlike the Writ of Execution, you don’t have to file the Writ of Garnishment with a court. All you have to do is clip the Writ of Garnishment to your other paperwork when you submit it to the sheriff.
Instructions to Law Enforcement
Like the Writ of Garnishment, you won’t need to file instructions to the sheriff with any court. You will submit these instructions to the sheriff when you send them your other documents. Depending on the circumstances, including which entity you choose to file with, you might have to pay a fee. These instructions authorize a sheriff to take the debtor’s non-exempt property.
The sheriff will serve the paperwork to the debtor on your behalf. The debtor will have 20 days to claim any exemptions by filing with the court. The debtor should send you a copy of their claim as well. If you object to any of the debtor’s claims, then you will have ten days to file that objection with the court.
Keep an Eye on the Collection
The Writ of Execution will only remain in effect for 90 days in North Carolina. You will have to refile your documents at intervals until the judgment is resolved. Track the collection process to ensure that your ability to collect is not hindered.
Non-exempt property that the sheriff seizes will typically be sold at auction. The money earned from the sale will be paid to you.
How Crawford & von Keller, LLC Can Help
Obtaining a judgment in court does not necessarily mean that the road to recovering the debt you are owed will be easy. Collecting a judgment takes time and patience. The North Carolina creditors’ rights attorneys at Crawford & von Keller, LLC can help you develop a strategy to expedite the process and help you recover the amount you’re legally entitled to. Contact us today to learn more about your legal options.