According to the federal Trade Commission, somewhere between 60% and 95% of consumers pay their court-ordered judgments.
After being awarded a judgment in a legal matter, you are most likely eager to collect your financial compensation. However, the expectations of financial return are often dashed by nonpayment, leaving many businesses frustrated and unpaid.
Fortunately, there are some guidelines to help you learn how to collect on a judgment in Arkansas. Using a skilled and experienced debt collection attorney with expertise in Arkansas debt collection is an important aspect to success. Such attorneys can provide valued advice and guidance throughout the collections process. Here are some techniques backed by law that debt collection attorneys can use to collect on your judgment.
1. Writ of Garnishment
A writ of garnishment is filed with the court before a file-marked copy is sent to the debtor’s employer. Under federal law, 25% of the debtor’s income is the maximum amount allowed to be garnished. However, federal income restrictions may prevent garnishment of wages or condense garnishment to smaller payments. Garnishments can also be placed on your debtor’s bank account. Once the employer or bank answers the garnishment filed with the court, the court will issue an order of dispersal. Payments will then be directed the law firm in order for the law firm to remit the monies to you.
Your attorney will assist with court filings, securing the name and address of the debtor’s employer or bank. Your attorney will also explain any fees you may need to pay up front to file the court request (though these fees are added to the total amount a debtor owes you).
Please note that if an employer or bank fails to answer to the writ, either can result in a judge issuing a judgment AGAINST the employer or bank for the amount that should have been withheld. Your attorney will work with you on any court appearances you may need to make and communicate on your behalf to the court.
2. Property Lien
A judgment is an automatic property lien on any real property that the debtor may own in the county that the judgment was obtained.
Liens remain attached to a property for up to 10 years. Collecting on them, however, is subject to many factors, including whether the property is the debtor’s primary residence, if other liens are in place, and any foreclosure or bankruptcy issues at play. Your debt collection attorney can help sort through the many issues related to a property lien on your behalf.
3. Writ of Execution
A writ of execution is a complicated process and should generally be used as a last resort. If payment has not been made, a court can issue a writ of execution, which requires a sheriff to seize your debtor’s property and sell it at a public auction to pay you any owed monies.
Your attorney will guide you through the legal steps including the paperwork that needs to be filed on your behalf in court, communicating with the sheriff’s office and sharing that information with you, and assisting with securing a bond, which you may need to put up in case seized items are not actually owned by the debtor. Your attorney will also explain and assist with costs related to storage, advertising and towing, if required (you will be reimbursed for these costs from sale proceeds).
If you are having trouble collecting on a judgment in Arkansas, contact McHughes Law Firm at (877) 750-6173 to schedule your free legal consultation.