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Q.How do I collect on a small judgment when the defendant refuses to pay?

A.If you know where the debtor is and what assets he has, you can have the court impose a keeper's tap. This is when a court-appointed officer or sheriff visits the debtor's place of business and takes possession of the mail and any cash and checks that come in for a period of time (usually one day but as long as one week). The keeper's tap allows the sheriff to open the mail of the debtor's business and to endorse the checks over to the court until the judgment (and the keeper's fees) are paid in full.

To get a keeper's tap, you will first need to file a writ of execution with instructions to the sheriff that specify WHERE AND ON WHAT DATE you want a keeper's tap performed. You should contact the court and ask for the sheriff in the civil division. They will inform you as to how much a keeper's tap will cost per day. You must pay the sheriff up front, but when the sheriff collects your judgegment, he will also collect the fees for the keeper's tap.

If you do not know what assets the debtor has, then you will need to file for a "Judgment Debtor Examination". At the Examination, the debtor will be required to bring any paycheck stubs, business and personal bank information, etc. This will enable you to determine the best method of collection.

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Copyright 1999-2019 Melissa C. Marsh. All Rights Reserved. All Information on this website is subject to a Disclaimer and Use Agreement. This information is provided as general information only and should not be construed as legal advice. We advise you to seek the advice of competent legal counsel to address your own specific questions, facts and circumstances.