Do you wonder why your judgment debtor won’t pay you? Obviously
you didn’t go to court against your legal adversary with the
idea that you would win the lawsuit, but not collect the money. When
the judge awarded you a money judgment you fully expected to collect
the judgment…all of it. You ask, “My judgment remains
uncollected. Why hasn’t he paid me the amount of the judgment
There can be any number of reasons why you haven’t
been paid your judgment money. Usually the main reasons a judgment
goes uncollected can be narrowed down to just a few simple reasons.
As you read these common reasons in this article, I bet you will
be able to identify with one or more of the reasons listed below.
Debtor hasn’t been asked to pay – Believe
it or not, there are many judgment debtors who don’t pay their
judgment debt simply because the judgment creditor has never been
contacted and asked to pay. Some debtors will pay the debt if they
are contacted by the creditor demanding payment. There is a percentage
of judgment debtors who will automatically pay as soon as they receive
a demand letter from their judgment creditor.
Debtor can’t afford to pay – Some debtors just don’t
have the ability to pay their debt. If they absolutely can’t
pay, it doesn’t matter if they are willing to pay. In such
cases, it is wise to identify the fact that they truly cannot pay.
Patience is called for. Just be willing to wait for a future time
when their financial position improves so that they will be able
to pay the judgment debt. The challenge is to stay informed about
their situation so that you will be ready to collect as soon as
the debtor’s finances improve.
Debtor has the money, but won’t easily part with a dime that
he owes - There are some folks out there who just don’t pay
what they owe. The only time they pay a debt is when they have no
choice. These tough nuts to crack shouldn’t be treated gently.
You have to play hard ball with them. Be prepared to be met with
resistance every step of the way. The best way to proceed is with
the most aggressive enforcement tactics you can employ. Nothing
Debtor refuses to believe he should pay – These judgment debtors
are the kind of legal adversaries who disagree vehemently with the
court’s verdict. They genuinely feel an injustice has occurred.
They think they are victims of a legal injustice. Don’t be
surprised if your debtor falls into this category. Don’t get
caught up in listening to them whine and moan about their loss in
the court room. Keep any contact with them as unemotional as possible.
Make everything all business, as much as possible.
Debtor doesn’t know about the judgment- If you won your lawsuit
by way of a default judgment, your adversary may honestly not know
that he owes a money judgment. This is a more likely occurrence
if the original complaint was not personally served on him. This
is a situation where the judgment may be ripe for vacated or overturned.
It has been a long time since the judgment was handed down, and
he has not been forced to pay, so he thinks he never will have to
- If it has been a few years since he lost in court, and if there
hasn’t been any serious judgment enforcement attempted, then
he might reasonably assume that he will never have to pay the judgment
debt. If he has gotten off scott-free for years, why should he expect
anything to change in the future. With this type judgment debtor
you should expect to employ serious enforcement devices.
Chances are you recognize your judgment situation in some of these
examples above. If you figure out why your judgment debtor won’t
pay, it should give you some very helpful insight into how you should
proceed and how to collect your judgment.