Collecting Money from a Small Claims Judgment

If you obtain a judgment, you may not be assured that you will be paid.  You may have to pursue collection remedies.  Please see below:
 
Showcause Hearing:  If the defendant does not pay the judgment, begin to pay the judgment or complete the "affidavit of judgment debtor" form that is mailed to the defendant with the judgment within 21 days of the date of the judgment, the plaintiff may submit a request in writing to the court requesting that a show cause hearing be scheduled.
 

What do I need to start collecting my money?

You will first need to know where the defendant lives and works, any other information which identifies the defendant and his/her property.
 
If you have the information described above, you can start the process by either filing an execution against property or a garnishment.
 
If you do not have any of the above information, you will need to order the defendant into court for questioning to try and find out information as to he/she assets.  You can start this process by filing a discovery subpoena.

When to file a Discovery Subpoena

You must wait 21 days after your small claims judgment was signed before you can file a discovery subpoena.  Go the Small Claims Forms Page and download the Subpoena - Order to Appear-MC11 form.
 
You must complete the front of the subpoena and the affidavit for  judgment debtor examination on the back of the form.  The court will schedule the hearing date and the judge must sign the subpoena before it is effective.  Once the subpoena is signed, the defendant must  be served a copy of the subpoena.
 
The subpoena can be served to the defendant by a deputy sheriff, sheriff, bailiff, appointed court officer, legally competent adult who is not a party or an officer of a corporate party or by certified mail, return receipt requested (you may utilize this court's process server,  see our fees page for processing costs).  The filing fee is $15.00 (make check payable to 52/4 District Court)

How to file a request and order to seize property

An order to seize property allows a court officer to seize property belonging to the defendant which can be sold to pay for your judgment.
 
You must wait 21 days after your small claims judgment was signed before you can file an execution against property.  You must complete the request and order to seize property form.  Go the Small Claims Forms Page and download the Request and Order to Seize Property - MC19  form.
 
Once you have completed the form and filed it at the court, the judge must sign the form and after the judge signs the form, the service copies of the form are given to our court officer to be executed. The most that you will be billed by the process server is $35.00 and you will be billed only that amount if the defendant is collectable.  The filing fee is $15.00 (make check payable to 52/4 District Court).

Filing a request for Garnishment

You must wait 21 days after your small claims judgment was signed before you can file a garnishment.
 
There are two types of garnishment: 1. periodic, and 2. non-periodic:
 
Periodic: garnishment is used to garnish the defendant's wages, rent payments, land contract payments, or other debt that is paid to the defendant on a periodic basis.  The garnishment is valid for 91 days or until the judgment, interest and costs are paid off, whichever occurs first.  Visit the Small Claims Forms Page and download the  Request and Writ for Garnishment-Periodic - MC12 form.
The filing fee is $15.00 (make check payable to 52/4 District Court). The Process Server fee is $38 (including the $6 disclosure fee).

Non-Periodic: garnishment used to garnish the defendant's bank account or other property. Once money has been garnished or you have been notified that there is not any money to be garnished, that garnishment is no longer valid. If there is a remaining balance on the judgment, you must get another writ to collect more money.
Visit the Small Claims Forms Page and download the  Request and Writ for Garnishment-Non-Periodic - MC13 form. Fill in the names and addresses of both defendant and the garnishee on the request part of the form.  The garnishee is the person or business who has control or possession of the defendant's money.  After you complete the form, you must file it with the clerk at the district court where you filed your small claims case.
The filing fee is $15.00 (make check payable to 52/4 District Court). The Process Server fee is $32.

When do I get my money from the Garnishment?

The garnishee has 14 days after the garnishment has been served to file a disclosure that tells you if any money is available.  If money is available, you will not receive any money until after 28 days from the date that the garnishee is served with a copy of the garnishment to allow the defendant time to file objections to the garnishment.
If the garnishment is for periodic payments, money will continue to be sent to you as payments become due until the garnishment expires.
 
This information attempts to explain briefly the procedures to collect your judgment.  Clerks of the court will be happy to assist in the processing of your claim, but they are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice.
For further collection methods,  please go to the Small Claims Forms Page and download the Collecting Your Money from a Small Claims Judgment - DCI84 form.