Getting your Small Claims Money the Easy Way

Anyone who’s gone through the effort of taking someone to small claims court can tell you that it can be a real pain. You have to spend a lot of time and energy filling out the paperwork to get a court date, gather all of the records you need to make your case, and follow the county court’s procedure to sue your defendant. After putting in all of that work, you will (hopefully) win your case and receive a small claims judgment.

I Won a Small Claims Judgment, Now What?

Congratulations, you won in small claims court. Unfortunately, the judge does not directly award you the money that you won. Technically, the judge does not even award you a guarantee that you will ever receive the money you owed. When you win a case in small claims court, you are awarded a judgment.

What is a Small Claims Judgment, Anyway?

A judgment is an official declaration from the court that states unequivocally that your debtor owes you a defined amount of money. However, obtaining a judgment from small claims court does not guarantee that your debtor will pay you. In fact, 80% of judgments obtained never get paid off. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that obtaining a judgment opens up several new methods for getting your money paid, such as:

  • Garnishing your debtor’s wages (in applicable states)
  • Freezing your debtor’s bank account(s)
  • Placing a lien on any real property your debtor owns

Even if your debtor doesn’t have any assets that you can use to enforce your judgment as soon as you win the case in court, your judgment total will accrue interest every year. The judgment interest rate will vary depending on the state.

Does my Small Claims Judgment Expire?

All judgments have a statute of limitations, and the length varies by state. Here are some examples of the statute of limitations for some of the most populous states:

  • California: 10 Years
  • Texas: 10 Years
  • Florida: 20 Years
  • New York: 10 Years
  • Illinois: 20 Years
  • Pennsylvania: 4 Years
  • Ohio: 21 Years
  • Georgia: 7 Years
  • Michigan: 10 Years
  • New Jersey: 14 Years
  • Tennessee: 10 Years
  • Missouri: 10 Years
  • Kentucky: 15 Years

As long as your judgment was obtained within your state’s statute of limitations, it is still valid and you should be able to enforce

How Do I Enforce the Judgment and Get My Money?

The ins and outs of the enforcement process will change from state-to-state, and in some cases, even from county-to-county. If you’re fully set on doing it yourself, you should consult the resources that your county court provides in terms of enforcing your judgment. In most cases, the process will resemble this:

  1. Identify an enforceable asset that belongs to your debtor. This can be a source of employment income, a bank account, real estate, or something similar.
  2. Follow your state and/or county’s procedure to file a wage garnishment, bank restraint, or real estate lien.
  3. Pay all associated costs and fees yourself out of pocket.

You might think this process sound tedious and time consuming, and you wouldn’t be alone. Many judgment holders give up, even after they’ve spent good money to obtain the judgment in the first place.

That Sounds Like Too Much Work. Do I Have Any Other Options?

A lot of people tell us that enforcing a judgment sounds like a full time job unto itself. We agree, that’s why we made it our full time job. BOOST provides judgment enforcement services to judgment holders with no out of pocket fees, ever. BOOST only collects a percentage of the amount returned to you. This allows small claims judgment holders, landlords, private schools, and parents owed back child support to have access to the same judgment collection resources as large banks and debt owners.

Contact BOOST at 201–297–1302 or click here to submit your judgment now.