Answer: If you have proved your case in court, it is likely that a “judgment” has been awarded in your favor. In a sense, however, the judgment only “a piece of paper.” The judgment does not automatically equal money. If a judgment has been awarded in your favor, then the next step is for you to collect what is legally owed to you.
In many cases, winning your case and being awarded a judgment in court is the easy part, while attempting to collect the money actually owed to you can be the most challenging. If the debtor has the funds, and is willing to cooperate, the debtor can voluntarily pay the money owed, and satisfy the judgment. However, when the debtor is not willing to pay the judgment, and when no alternative settlement of the judgment can be reached, there are a few tools you can use to collect on the judgment.
When attempting to have a judgment executed against an individual (not a corporation or other business entity) there is a specific process that must be followed. First, you must satisfy the notice of exemptions requirement before receiving the writ of execution. After waiting until the time to appeal has expired, which is typically 30 days from the entry of the judgment, you will need to address the notice of exemptions. North Carolina law allows an individual to claim certain property as exempt from satisfying a judgment.
Before the clerk of court will issue a writ of execution for the sheriff to carry out, you will need to show the Notice of Right to Have Exemptions Designation and the Motion to Claim Exempt property have been properly served on the debtor. The debtor has 20 days to complete these forms, or to request a hearing. As the creditor, you can also schedule a hearing to dispute any exemptions claimed within 10 days of being served with the debtor’s Motion to Claim Exemptions.
After the 20 day period, the Writ of Execution (for property not claimed to be exempt) can be issued. The Writ is an order that allows the sheriff to collect on your judgment by seizing and selling the debtor’s assets that have not been exempted. The sheriff has 90 days to carry out the Writ. The assets that the sheriff locates govern the rules regarding the sale.
If you have a case involving a judgment or collecting upon a judgment, please feel free to contact Kreger Brodish to schedule a consultation.