Finding a Debtor’s Assets
A New Jersey commercial collection attorney may be able to help you locate and seize assets you are rightfully entitled to after a court decision. Attempting to collect on a claims judgment is a relatively simple matter if the property is known and easy to locate. However, when there are hidden assets, the collections process becomes more complicated.
Judgment Debtor’s Statement
Many states require the debtor to list all his or her assets on a document known as a Statement of Assets after losing a collections judgment. The purpose of this list is to make the judgment creditor’s attempt to collect due assets simpler. This list is usually required to be sent to the creditor within a certain amount of time of the judgment, unless the debt is paid or the appeals process is begun. It is not uncommon for a debtor to refuse to fill out the statement or to issue an incomplete statement. Such a lack of cooperation can result in the debtor being held in contempt of court or even arrested. A New Jersey commercial collection attorney may be able to assist in the process of asking the court to hold the debtor in contempt.
Judgment Debtor’s Examination
In cases where there is no Statement of Assets, whether because the court does not require one or because the debtor failed to do so, creditors may ask the court to require the debtor to appear in court for questioning. This process is sometimes known as a judgment debtor’s examination or an Order for Examination. This court order is mandatory, and the debtor is required to personally appear in court to provide the information under penalty of arrest.
Limitations to the Examination
While an Order for Examination can be a useful tool when it comes to collecting the assets you are entitled to by court decision, there are limitations. You may not request that the debtor travels an excessive distance to perform the examination, for example. You must also request that the court clerk subpoenas all relevant documents, such as bank statements, property ownership documents, and vehicle records. Otherwise, it may be difficult to prove which assets are available for seizure. You may also require a court order for a turnover order, which allows the creditor to request information on any monetary assets within the debtor’s possession and to claim those assets.
Judgment Collections in Different States
In some cases, your judgment debtor may move prior to the collections process or have assets in another state that you wish to seize. A collections order is still enforceable across state lines under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. The act enforces standard procedures for collecting on assets across state lines, including filing in the new state in which the assets will be collected. In most cases, you only need to mail a certified copy of the original judgment to the new state as well as an affidavit with the debtor’s name and address. The affidavit typically renders your judgment valid with that state’s court, which makes it possible to serve notice to the debtor.
Contact a New Jersey Commercial Collection Attorney
Once you have received a court ordered judgment to collect monetary assets or other property, you may still run into difficulty gaining access to those assets. Many debtors refuse to provide the information they are required to, and some states to not require that they provide a clear Statement of Assets after the debtor’s judgment has been made. In other cases, the debtor may move across state lines whether to intentionally avoid paying on a judgment or for other reasons. In either case, there are steps you can take to gain knowledge of the money and property you are legally entitled to collect from him or her. From filing an affidavit in a new state to requesting that the court summon the judgment debtor for an Order for Examination, you are entitled to know what assets the debtor has and where they are located. Contact a New Jersey commercial collection attorney at Snellings Law LLC today at 973.265.6100 for assistance when it comes to moving the collection process forward and getting past the many roadblocks that can appear after a court-ordered judgment.