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I Won My Lawsuit! Now What?

I Won My Lawsuit! Now What?

So you’ve battled for months — maybe even years — in a lawsuit, and now you’ve made it to the finish line.

Or so you had thought.

The long process of litigation can be one of the most stressful times of your life. You probably couldn’t wait for the lawsuit to just be over. However, winning a lawsuit isn’t quite the same as winning the jackpot at the casino and having the cold, hard cash just fall into your lap. Unfortunately, even though your lawsuit may now be over, the collection process may last even longer. Obtaining the judgment in the lawsuit is probably the easiest part of recovery. The following are some of the next steps to take in order to collect on your judgment, should the judgment debtor be unwilling to pay the judgment.

How to Collect a Judgement You’ve Been Awarded

The easiest first step to take is to find as many of of the judgment debtor’s assets as possible. Your attorney may assist you in searching real property records in the counties in which you think the judgment debtor may own real property. Even a quick Facebook search can prove to be beneficial, as many people will provide their employment information on their Facebook profile page. The most important assets to find are banking information, real property ownership, and employment information.

In many judgments, the court may order the judgment debtor to prepare schedules of all of their property, both real and personal, including monies, bank accounts, rights, and other credits that they have. In these schedules filed with the court, the judgment debtor is also directed to specify the particular property that they claim is exempt from execution under the judgment against them. These schedules should be filed within 45 days of the entry of the judgment. Ideally, the judgment debtor will file the schedule of their assets so that you know what you may be able to use to collect on your judgment. However, judgment debtors often are not quick to supply you with this information, resulting in further court filings.

Another way to collect information regarding the judgment debtor’s assets is to simply serve them with post-judgment interrogatories. You or your attorney can use interrogatories to ask the judgment debtor what assets they have, including and bank accounts and employment information.

What Is a Writ of Garnishment?

Once you have gathered information on the judgment debtor’s assets, you or your attorney may be able to file a Writ of Garnishment with the court depending on what assets are known. If you know where the judgment debtor is employed, your attorney can have the garnishment sent to the employer. A percentage of the judgment debtor’s paycheck may then be garnished. If the judgment debtor’s banking information is known, your attorney can send the bank the garnishment, which would direct the bank to freeze and hold the monies in the debtor’s account, up to the amount of the judgment, until the court orders the bank to distribute the funds. In certain circumstances, wages and bank accounts can be exempt property and cannot be garnished.

How Does a Judgment Lien Work?

Even if an asset search has been unsuccessful, there may still be some light at the end of the tunnel. A judgment will also act as a lien upon any real property that the judgment debtor has in the county where the judgment was entered. Judgment liens are effective for periods of ten years. After the ten year period has expired, you or your attorney can file to renew the judgment lien for another ten years. If the judgment debtor ever wishes to sell or purchase property within the county where the judgment is filed, the debtor would first have to satisfy the lien in the amount of the judgment.

You should be aware that even though you may have won your lawsuit, the ballgame may not be over. The main takeaway from collecting on your judgment is to gather as much information about the judgment debtor as possible, so that your efforts to collect are somewhat easier. The Danielson Law Firm has attorneys experienced in judgment collection available to
walk you through the best options to help collect your judgment and make your lawsuit come to a close once and for all, getting you the money or property you were awarded.

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Fayetteville Law Office

(479) 935-8313

909 Rolling Hills Dr.
Fayetteville, AR 72703

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Booneville, AR 72927

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