Once final judgment has been entered against a debtor, the question of how to collect on that judgment must be addressed. The creditor will need to know what to do to collect on that judgment. Various issues will come into play at this point. How can the creditor determine what the next step is? What assets does the debtor have? What income does the debtor have? Is the debtor head of household? What does the creditor need to do in order to assess which method of collection might prove to be the most beneficial with the goal being to satisfy the judgment? In some cases, judgment debtors are willing to voluntarily make payments in order to satisfy their debts. But often, this is not the case. So what happens when judgment debtors are not willing to voluntarily pay their debts? As attorneys for creditors, it is our responsibility to determine how best to collect on a debt, always keeping in mind and fully complying with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA).
Various collection methods can be used in order to determine what assets might be available to collect on a judgment. Each of these methods has its own set of guidelines and rules that must be followed exactly in order to successfully achieve the desired results. Of course, it is important to weigh the cost of the collection method against the possible return, taking into consideration the amount owed. And along the way, various twists and turns may occur, making each and every case unique and interesting! For example, once a garnishment has been implemented, the debtor may file a Claim of Exemption, requiring an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the debtor is head of household. Or the garnishee may fail to respond to the Continuing Writ of Garnishment, thereby requiring additional steps in order to collect from the garnishee. Another means of collection involves levying on property. If all of the documents are correctly completed and the correct deposit has been paid, the sheriff will pick up the levied property (perhaps a vehicle), and following the required procedures, hold a Sheriff’s Sale at public auction.
Many things can occur when collection on a judgment; the attorneys at Wetherington Hamilton, P.A. have many years of experience in the area of debt collection and will be able advise and handle various situations with expertise.