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Collecting a Judgment
How do I collect a Money Judgment?
Although a case is decided in your favor, it is not always easy to collect a judgment. The Court is not a collection agency and cannot assist you in locating the assets of the debtor.
The first step in the collection process is to obtain a money judgment. You may do this in Conciliation Court or District Court. If you obtained the judgment in Conciliation Court, it must be transcribed to District Court before collection procedures can begin.
The second step is to locate the judgment debtor's assets such as bank accounts, wages or unsecured personal property. This is your responsibility. For example: you may be able to locate the debtor's bank by looking at any canceled checks that you wrote to the debtor. Be aware that some assets are exempt by State Law. For more information on exempt assets, contact the Ramsey County Law Library (651-266-8391) located on the 18th floor of the Ramsey County Courthouse at 15 West Kellogg Blvd., Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102 and ask for MS 550.37 or online at www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us.
ORDER FOR DISCLOSURE
If your search for assets is unsuccessful, you may request an Order for Disclosure from the District Court. The Disclosure process will require that the judgment debtor tell you what assets he/she/they have. This process is available after your judgment has been docketed with the District Court. If the case began in District Court, you must wait 30 days after the judgment is entered. If the case was transcribed from Conciliation Court, you will not have to wait an additional 30 days. You must file a Request for Order for Disclosure and pay a $5.00 filing fee with the Court. This form is available in room 600, Civil Division of the Ramsey County Courthouse located at 15 West Kellogg Blvd., Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102.
You must supply the Court with the judgment debtor's most current home address. Court staff will not find this information for you. When your request is filed and the fee is paid, the Court will issue an Order for Disclosure, which is mailed to the judgment debtor's home along with a Financial Disclosure form. If the mail is not returned to the Court, we will assume that it was received. If it is returned to the Court, it is your responsibility to find the correct home address. The Order for Disclosure cannot be sent to a work address.
The Debtor is allowed 10 days after the form is received to complete the Disclosure form and return it to you. The form is not returned to the Court. If you do not receive it within 16 days of the date that it was issued ( 6 days are added for mailing), you may then proceed to the next step and complete an Affidavit in Support of an Order to Show Cause. This will order the judgment debtor to appear in Court before a Judge or Referee to fill out the Financial Disclosure form or to explain why he/she/they cannot give you the asset information.
Court staff prepares the Order to show Cause, but it is the responsibility of the judgment creditor to have the Order personally served on the judgment debtor. An independent third party who has no interest in the proceedings, is not a party to the action and is over the age of 18 must serve the Order. The Order must be given directly to the judgment debtor. This is called personal service. It cannot be left at his/her/their residence with anyone else. You may also have the Order served by the County Sheriff. The Sheriff will charge you a fee for this service. All questions regarding Sheriff services and fees should be directed to the Ramsey County Sheriff, Civil Process at 651-266-9330.
Both the judgment creditor and debtor must appear in Court. At that time the judgment debtor will be instructed to fill out the Financial Disclosure Form or explain why this cannot be done. If the judgment debtor does not appear at the hearing, the creditor may request that the Judge/Referee issue an order for a Writ of Attachment. This is a warrant for the debtor's arrest for civil contempt of court.
If you request that a Writ of Attachment be issued, you must furnish the Court with a physical description of the debtor and pay a $55.00 fee before the Writ will be issued. The County Sheriff-Warrant Division 651-266-9320 will hold the Writ on file and should the Debtor be arrested or detained he/she will be required to complete the Financial Disclosure Form before he/she will be released from custody.
WRIT OF EXECUTION
If you have found the judgment debtor's assets such as an active bank account or employment, collection can be made by a levy on the bank account or garnishment of wages. This is done by obtaining a Writ of Execution from the Court for a fee of $55.00. The Writ is then served by the Sheriff of the county where the bank account is located or where the debtor works. You must prepay the Sheriff's fees for this service. Garnishing wages requires an additional form called a Ten Day Notice of Intent to Garnish. This form is available from any legal stationery store. The creditor must complete the form and have it served on the debtor by certified mail.
All collection fees paid to the Court or Sheriff's Office by the judgment creditor are added to the judgment. If collection is made the costs are therefore paid by the debtor.
SATISFACTION OF JUDGMENT
Whether the judgment is paid in full or in part, it is the obligation of the creditor to provide a Satisfaction of Judgment to the debtor for the amount that has been paid or collected. This form is available from the Civil Division of District Court, the Ramsey County Law Library or at any legal stationery store. It is also available through this link: Satisfaction of Judgment.
The judgment debtor must file the Satisfaction of Judgment with the District Court and pay a $5.00 filing fee. When this is filed, the judgment will be satisfied in the Court records for the amount that has been paid or collected.