How to Enforce Collection of a Lawsuit Settlement
Collection of a lawsuit settlement is a civil matter and while a court will not collect on someone’s behalf, it will issue orders to force the debtor to pay. If a judgment is issued in California, enforcement of the judgment is delayed for 30 days until the period of time that the debtor can appeal has passed. A court’s judgment is enforceable for 10 years, renewable for another ten years, and renewable after that but with conditions that apply.
If the debtor refuses to make payments, a wage garnishment may be filed. Paperwork for the garnishment must be filed and if the court approves the garnishment, the debtor must be served via registered mail or another means approved by the court. The wage garnishment order must also be sent to the debtor’s employer. Each time the period of garnishment has expired, it must be reviewed and renewed by the court.
If the debtor is unemployed and has no wages to be garnished, an asset search may be conducted to determine if claims may be made against possessions regarded as disposable assets, such as extra cars, watercraft, recreational vehicles, motorcycles and other items deemed unnecessary.
If these steps fail to produce a remedy, a petition may be filed for a Debtor’s Examination requiring a debtor to be present at a hearing and be asked under oath for information related to employment, other income, assets and location of those assets.
This is, of course, a simplification of an exceptionally complicated process. If you are having difficulty collecting a lawsuit settlement, it may be wise to speak with an experienced Orange County attorney like Samer Habbas. He can explain the process and laws that apply, and pursue all legal remedies for collecting the settlement.