How To Investigate A Judgment Debtor’s Assets

Babak Shamsi Edmonds Lawyer

In the world of litigation, parties can sometimes get so wrapped up in the process of trying to win, that they forget to plan out what they ought to do after they win.  Depending on the nature of the case, victory in litigation may result in the entry of a monetary judgment. Once a court enters a monetary judgment, the victor becomes the judgment creditor, and other party becomes the judgment debtor. A judgment creditor must determine how to collect on their judgment.

Judgment creditors have a multitude of options at their disposal for collecting against judgment debtors.  For example, they can garnish a debtor’s wages or bank accounts.  They can also conduct real property and personal property executions to satisfy the debt. Sometimes, however, judgment creditors simply do not know enough about a debtor’s assets. They may hire investigators to find out more, but such efforts could also turn up dry.  Luckily, judgment creditors have an additional tool in their arsenal when faced with the unknown: supplemental proceedings.

Supplemental proceedings are proceedings to examine the debtor for purposes of determining assets in collection efforts. In order to conduct supplemental proceedings, the judgment creditor must obtain leave of the court by filing a motion and order for supplemental proceedings.  The creditor must then serve the entered order in the same manner as a summons. Generally, a creditor must accomplish this by personal or substitute service, unless the court permits alternative service for good cause.

The judgment creditor, by way of this order, can require a judgment debtor to attend a hearing and submit to questioning regarding the debtor’s various assets.  The creditor can recover the costs of service, notary fees, and an appearance fee. In the event that the debtor fails to appear, the creditor can also recover reasonable attorney’s fees, and may even obtain a bench warrant. Supplemental proceedings can be a valuable tool for creditors in their collection pursuits.

If you have obtained a judgment and need assistance with exploring your collection options, the attorneys at Beresford Booth PLLC are ready to assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

To learn more about your collection options after obtaining a judgement, please contact Beresford Booth at or by phone (425) 776-4100.

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