Have You Considered A Non-Wage Garnishment?
You fought hard for your judgment. Your satisfaction in having won is soon replaced with the knowledge that you still do not have the money that is owed to you. What are your options?
First, under Kentucky law, you can file a notice of judgment lien in the County Clerk’s office. Kentucky law allows you to seek to obtain the money that is owed you by moving to sell real property owned by the judgment debtor. But that can be very expensive in terms of legal fees and costs. Depending upon the amount of money that is owed to you, and the number of creditors standing in the way, this may not be an attractive choice.
Second, Kentucky law also allows you to seize personal property through a sheriff and proceed to sell that personal property for the proceeds. Once again, however, that involves accompanying fees and administrative costs. Not to mention that the personal property may already be subject to liens having priority over yours.
A more practical option just might be seeking a non-wage garnishment of an account belonging to your judgment debtor. The cost for this process is relatively inexpensive compared to the other two options. But in using this option, you will need to have a good idea of where the judgment debtor might have some funds available.
One way to determine where to garnish is if the judgment debtor has paid you with a check in the past. Another way is if the judgment debtor has a mortgage or other loans. Many times, judgment debtors will keep checking accounts with the banks from which they have received loans. After you have a good idea where the judgment debtor may have an account, you can then have your attorney file the necessary paperwork with the local circuit clerk. The clerk, in turn, will notify the judgment debtor and will send the paperwork to the party that may have the money belonging to the judgment debtor. That party is known as the garnishee. The garnishee will then either send your attorney the funds or will let the attorney know they do not have the funds.
Although it sounds easy, success with this option varies. First, most judgment debtors already have depleted all of their accounts. Second, you may not be the first in line with this option, either. For example, by agreement with the debtor, the bank may already be rightfully taking any funds coming into the account as payment for lines of credit it may have with the debtor. Even with these factors in mind, however, depending upon the size of your judgment, non-wage garnishment just might be a good option for attempting to collect.
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Vincent E. Mauer represents clients in commercial and business disputes with particular emphasis on financial institutions and instruments, including financial institution bonds, securities, insurance policies and commercial loans.