How to Enforce a Judgment

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When a court awards money to a plaintiff, the court does not collect the judgment from the defendant. It's the plaintiff's responsibility to collect the money using appropriate legal steps. Once you have won your lawsuit, you should proceed to collect what you are owed. There are often additional legal procedures and techniques that can be used. The following are some methods to enforce and collect a judgment.

Step 1

Get a certified copy of your court judgment. There is usually a fee to be paid for this service.

Step 2

Get information from the court on the specific legal steps that you can take to collect the judgment. Find out about the cost for each procedure.

Step 3

Find out where the judgment debtor has real property. Then contact the County Recorder's Office in that area, and file an Abstract of Judgment. The purpose is to put a lien upon the debtor's property, such as their car, house, RV, land, personal watercraft, or any other property.

Step 4

Locate the judgment debtor's bank accounts. A private investigator can help with this. Go to the court and obtain a Writ of Execution form. Fill it out and pay the filing fee. Have the writ served to the debtor's bank, along with a certified copy of the judgment.

Step 5

Garnish the debtor's wages. Locate the debtor's place of employment and serve a Writ of Garnishment on the debtor's employer. A portion of the debtor's wages will be withheld and sent to you; sometimes directly and sometimes through the court or a third party agency.

Step 6

Find out if the debtor owns interest in any businesses. Some courts permit law enforcement officers to go to the debtor's business and seize cash from the business and use it to to satisfy a Writ of Execution.

Step 7

File documents at the court, requesting a hearing where the judgment debtor will be required to reveal the location of assets, or sources of income.

Step 8

Find out from the the court clerk if there are other legal procedures that you can use.