Winning a judgment in a civil lawsuit is not the end of the case. Afterward is when the real work begins. It is when creditors must begin the long and arduous process of collecting. The eventual outcome often boils down to which party is willing to work harder.
It’s not uncommon for people to head to civil court without realizing the implications of winning. Courts enter judgments, they do not enforce them. Enforcement is left to the aggrieved party. And if that party is not prepared to do what it takes, successful collection may never actually occur.
Avoidance Can Start Immediately
The experts at Judgment Collectors, a Salt Lake City judgment collection agency that specializes in judgments, says that debtor avoidance can begin immediately after the judge’s gavel makes a judgment official. Rarely are creditors lucky enough to work with cooperative debtors.
It is unfortunate that many cases of avoidance begin on the advice of the debtor’s attorney. In other words, the attorney immediately begins looking for ways to help the client avoid paying. One example is taking the full 30-day period following a judgment to look for any and all loopholes by which the judgment could be challenged.
Even if no such loophole can be found, debtors are often encouraged to be less-than-cooperative about offering personal information regarding employment, residency, etc.
Without the Help of an Attorney
Judgment Collectors says that debtors don’t necessarily need the help of an attorney to avoid paying. Some are naturally very good at it. They slow walk the task of providing information. They ignore phone calls and emails.
Those willing to work the hardest immediately go about hiding assets. They transfer property into someone else’s name. They liquidate their bank accounts and hide the cash. Some even go as far as to quit their jobs and change addresses. Anything they can do to hide themselves and their assets is on the table.
The Collector Has to Work Harder
It is a given that debtors are probably going to try to hold off paying for as long as possible. Just having to go to court is proof that the debtor isn’t cooperative. So in the end, the collector – be that the creditor, its attorney, or collection agency – has to work harder.
The most successful judgment collection agencies are willing to do just that. They immediately get to work on discovering the debtor’s assets. They look into everything from employment to public property records. They make it their business to discover as much as they can about the debtor and their assets.
Should the debtor decide to skip town, working harder means finding them no matter where they have gone to. Skip tracing is an immense help in this regard. But if the debt collector is unwilling to put in the necessary work, leaving town could be the end of it. The creditor may never get paid.
Sometimes It’s a Waiting Game
Judgments in most states have statutes of limitations attached to them. A first-time debtor would not be expected to know this. But a debtor who has been through the game before likely knows. And in such cases, avoiding payment comes down to a waiting game.
The debtor might employ a variety of strategies to keep the creditor strung along until the judgment expires. But a judgment collector willing to work harder will renew it for another seven years.
When it comes to judgment collection, the winner is often the party willing to work harder. Anyone not willing to put in the work probably shouldn’t go to court in the first place.