PDF How to Win in Small Claims Court and Collect

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After the form is signed, make copies for yourself and send the subpoena, two copies of the written questions and a self-addressed envelope with the correct postage attached by regular mail or certified mail, return receipt requested to the Judgment Debtor and anyone else you think may know about the judgment debtor's assets, such as: an employer or any banks where you know the Judgment Debtor keeps an account.

How to Collect on a Small Claims Judgment

If you have a canceled check from the Defendant, the back of that check should indicate the name and address of the bank where the Judgment Debtor keeps an account. With this information, the enforcement officer can seize the money in the account and use it to satisfy your judgment.

If so, the enforcement officer can take the car and sell it to pay you your money. You must be able to tell the enforcement officer the model, year, license plate number and location of the car. Also be aware that if the Judgment Debtor borrowed money to buy the car, that loan must be repaid from the sale before you can get any money. Similarly, if the Judgment Debtor owns real estate, it can be sold to pay your judgment. Ask the Small Claims Court Clerk for a transcript of judgment and then file it with the County Clerk in the county where the judgment debtor owns property.

You can then ask the enforcement officer to sell the property to pay the judgment. For more information speak to the Small Claims Court Clerk. The licensing agency then can revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew the business license. If the Judgment Debtor has three or more unpaid recorded judgments including your own and has the ability to pay them, you may be able to sue for treble damages, which means you can be awarded three times the original judgment amount.

Make sure you do this important analysis before you bring a lawsuit

If the business is licensed, notify the agency that licensed the business as well. When the Judgment Debtor has fully satisfied the Judgment paid the amount in full the court must be notified that the debt has been paid. You, as the Judgment Creditor, must notify the Small Claims Court that the judgment has been satisfied, even if you use an Enforcement Officer. Failure to notify the court in a timely manner may result in penalties to you.

The Enforcement Officer will file a satisfied execution with the clerk at the Small Claims Court where the execution was issued. The Enforcement Officer will also mail a copy to the Judgment Debtor.

Holiday Notice. Share Email. The court doesn't automatically force a losing party to pay up; you have to actively work to get the court to garnish wages, put a lien on a property, or initiate an installment payment plan. State laws differ, so find out your rights for getting your money, and keep going back to the court for help. It's one of those cases where, if you don't ask, you don't get. When All Else Fails. The old saying, "You can't get blood from a turnip," applies here. Sometimes, the person you have sued has no money, no assets, no job, no way to pay you back.

As the Iowa Bar Association says, "Obviously if you have reason to believe any money judgment you might receive in Small Claims Court will not be collectible because of the other party's inability to pay any judgment, you probably should not even file your claim. Sad, but true.

The best way to collect in small claims court is to make sure the person you are suing has the money to pay you.


  • Enforcing a Judgment;
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The Balance Small Business uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using The Balance Small Business, you accept our. By Jean Murray. Bank Levy: If you know the person has money, you may be able to get a bank levy , which is an order from a court to seize part of someone's bank account. Child support or tax payments are protected from being seized. Installments: You can request the court to require that the other party make installment payments to you.

Mechanic's Lien: If you did work on a construction project for someone and didn't get paid, you may be able to get a mechanic's lien to get your money. If the debtor owns a house, you may be able to get a real estate lien against the property.

How to win in a small claims court

Unfortunately, you can't get your money until the property is sold. If you wait long enough, you will get your money when the property is sold. Wage Garnishment: This is probably the easiest way to collect a debt. You may ask the court to garnish the person's wages. This is basically a way for you to get paid over time by taking an amount usually limited to 25 percent of a person's pay.

Discuss with the Debtor: You can contact the other party and discuss payment, including payment terms.

How To Collect Your Money in a Small Claims Case | Nolo

Sometimes this works out. Using a Collections Agency. If you can't find the person to collect the money, or you can't use one of the other options, you might want to turn over the debt to a collections agency.