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Collecting money after a judgment in your favor

After a judgment is awarded in your favor, you'll be in a position to start collecting compensation. How does this process work, though, and what happens if someone can't afford to pay the award you've been given?

If you've been awarded a judgment but have not started receiving compensation, it could be because the other party refuses to pay. In this case, you may have to take the individual back to court, so the judge can hold the judgment against that person. When that happens, the individual's wages are garnished, taking funds directly from that individual's paycheck. To have this take place, you'll need to go to court and prove that the debtor not only owes you money but also has failed to make payments of any kind.

If the debtor says he or she is not working and therefore cannot pay, one thing you may want to do is to conduct a post-judgment discovery. This includes depositions, interrogations and the production of documents that show where the individual keeps his or her money and the sources of income or assets that the person has. This can be helpful if the person claims he isn't working but is actually working for cash in hand, for example.

If the other party files bankruptcy, you'll be unable to collect. However, you may be able to receive a payout during the bankruptcy if you continue to make a claim for that amount during the bankruptcy process. Your attorney will need to help you with this process, so your legal right to compensation is protected.

Source: FindLaw, "After a Judgment: Collecting Money," accessed April 22, 2016

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