Judgment Enforcement In Oklahoma
What is a Judgment?
It has been said that the award of a judgment is simply a piece of paper, a decoration only worth hanging on the wall. In order to collect on a judgment and thus receive payment, the Judgment Creditor must enforce the judgment. When a court resolves a civil lawsuit, the court renders a civil judgment. The civil judgment is the official decision by the court with regard to a dispute between the parties.
For example, if you and a friend enter into a contract by which you agree to wash your friend’s car and your friend agrees to pay you $20.00 for washing said car, but your friend fails to pay you after cleaning the car, you might sue your friend for the $20.00 in a civil lawsuit. If the court sides with you, ruling that your friend owes you $20.00 based on the contract, it will issue a judgment in your favor. The civil judgment will order your friend to pay you $20.00. Now, you will need to collect.
How to enforce a judgment?
A judgment is a legally enforceable obligation against the other party. A Judgment Creditor is the holder of the judgment and the Judgment Debtor is the party under the obligation of the judgment. To collect on the judgement, the Judgment Creditor will need to enforce the judgment
Obtaining the judgment is the initial step in the collection process. There are several ways in which the Judgment Creditor may enforce the judgment. These procedures include:
- Post-Judgment discovery
In order to successfully execute on the judgment, the Judgment Creditor must first know where to find the Judgment Debtor’s assets. Without knowing, it would be impossible to the enforce the judgment. Consequently, post-judgment discovery may be crucial in the process of successfully garnishing accounts or seizing property.
At any time after the judgment is rendered, the Judgment Creditor can request from the court an order requiring the Judgment Debtor to appear at a hearing to answer questions, under oath, about his assets. This is called a Hearing on Assets, sometimes referred to as an “HOA.”
In order to conduct a Hearing on Assets, the Judgment Creditor must file an application or motion for the hearing, requesting that the Judgment Debtor disclose specific information regarding his assets. In the Application for the Hearing on Assets, the Judgment Creditor should request information and documentation regarding the Judgment Debtor’s bank account information, tax returns, titles to property, business documentation, certificates of stock and so forth.
A garnishment is an order from the court that a requires a third party, who has in its possession money belonging to the Judgment Debtor, to pay said money to the Judgment Creditor. Generally speaking, a garnishment is simply the process of a Judgment Creditor attaching to Judgment Debtor’s assets that are held by another party. While common examples include garnishment of money of the Judgment Debtor’s bank account or wages from the Judgment Debtor’s paycheck, a garnishment can be applied to an array of situations
An attachment is a court order seizing specific property. An attachment is a way of attaching a judgment to the Judgment Debtor’s assets. Attachment is used to enforce a final judgment. In Oklahoma, there are many ways to execute an “Attachment,” which include recording the judgment with the county clerk of the county in which the Judgment Debtor’s real property is located.
Hiring an Attorney to Enforce the Judgment
The Judgment Creditor may choose to retain an attorney to assist in collecting on the judgement. A Judgment Creditor is entitled to post-judgment costs and attorney fees. Consequently, some of the additional costs may be added to the amount owed by the Judgment Debtor. Common arrangements include a contingency agreement in which the attorney is paid a percentage of the amount collected. Under this scenario, the lawyer does not collect a fee unless the client collects on the account.
If you need help enforcing a judgment in Oklahoma, call Aaron Bruner, Attorney at Law for a consultation to discuss your options.