Two Methods to Collect on a Judgment: Consult an Attorney First to Avoid Issues

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Written By Charlotte Miller

If you have been awarded a judgment, this does not automatically mean you will collect money. Collection efforts are yours to perform. If your debtor does not pay their obligations to you, then, you can use the court process to collect the judgment. When you get payment from your creditor, you must report it to the court. 

You can go to the court clerk to get forms to help you collect the judgment through different methods. Once you complete these forms, you can arrange for these forms to be served. If your debtor appealed the case, you can still start the collection proceedings unless the debtor posts a supersedes bond. The following are different methods you can collect on a judgment in New York:

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With this method, you can get the funds you are owed through the debtor’s property that a third-party holds. For example, if the debtor’s employer is holding their wages, you can have a garnishment served on them to get paid for a percentage of the wage. If you garnish a debtor’s bank account, you can get the total amount that account has up to the judgment amount.


If you choose this collection method, the court will order the sheriff to seize the property of your debtor as payment to your judgment. However, it is important that you determine the specific property to seize. You can get information on motor vehicles in the office of the county treasurer. To find other properties your debtor owns, check with the register of deeds office, county assessor, and county clerk. 

For property seized with liens attached to it, the lienholder must be paid with the proceeds of the sale first. After the sheriff served an execution, they will advertise a time and place for the property’s sale. 

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If you start execution or garnishment, you must pay fees to the county court. The fee will be added to the original judgment. Either collection method is risky. Unless you are garnishing a readily known property or debt, you must speak with a debt collection attorney before you enforce your judgment. An attorney can prepare and file all required paperwork, so you can collect your judgment. When garnishments and executions are not done properly, you could face a lawsuit your debtor may file. The lawsuit’s amount could be greater than the judgment you want to collect. So, if you are in doubt about judgment collecting, consult an attorney first.