Large businesses and corporations that encounter nonpayment of business debt may assume that getting a court judgment against the non-paying company is all that is necessary. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
There are companies who will still withhold payment even after a court judgment. When they do, you need an attorney who knows how to collect on a judgment.
Four steps to collecting on a judgment
There are four major steps to collecting after a Massachusetts court judgment:
- Get a writ of execution.
- Locate the debtor’s assets.
- Direct a deputy sheriff to seize the debtor’s non-exempt assets.
- Have the sheriff sell off the debtor’s non-exempt assets to satisfy the debt.
The first step is to get a writ of execution. This is a document from the court that allows an attorney to engage in post-judgment collection tactics such as property seizures.
The next step is generally to find the debtor’s assets. In Massachusetts, courts allow creditors with judgments in hand to bring an inquiry into the debtor’s assets. A knowledgeable attorney for a creditor can use this to locate all of the debtor’s assets that are located in Massachusetts, and potentially beyond.
Once your attorney knows where the assets are located, he or she can tell the local deputy sheriff to seize some or all of the debtor’s non-exempt assets, up to the amount that would be necessary to pay the judgment.
The final step is to have the county Sheriff sell the seized assets. Then, subject to certain statutory exemptions and the existence of any liens on the property, the money could be paid out to the creditor.
At the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen & Associates LLC, we have more than 50 years of experience following this and other methods to collect business-to-business debt. We efficiently and effectively collect on debts throughout Massachusetts. Call 508-763-6604 or contact us by email to schedule an appointment.
Collecting on judgments from other states
When a debtor company has assets in more than one state, including Massachusetts, it is sometimes advantageous to collect against the Massachusetts assets. If you have a judgment from another state against a debtor who has assets in Massachusetts, it may be possible to “domesticate” that judgment.
Domestication of a judgment from another state allows that judgment to be enforced through the Massachusetts courts.
Domestication isn’t always the most efficient choice. Depending on the circumstances, it may be more favorable to file a new collection lawsuit in Massachusetts. This is because Massachusetts allows creditors to freeze the debtor’s non-exempt assets in advance, in some cases. This can prevent dissipation of the assets.
To learn how our commercial debt collection attorneys could help in your specific circumstances, call 508-763-6604 or email us to schedule an appointment for a consultation.