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Alan Cohen

Massachusetts Judgment Enforcement by the Numbers

Understanding Massachusetts judgment enforcement and debt collection law can be tricky for someone who has no know-how about the legal system. Some say ‘ignorance is bliss’ but we at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC believe that ‘a little learning is a dangerous thing’ especially when it’s pertaining to the law. You ought to know your rights so that you can fight your case better and no one can mislead you and take advantage of your situation. Talking about the debt collection law, every creditor must develop a good understanding about Massachusetts judgment enforcement to make sure that the judgment is enforced correctly.

Here’s a quick overview about Massachusetts judgment enforcement by the numbers for you:

To begin with, a judgment basically is a final court order. It shows that a cash amount is owed by the debtor to the creditor. However, the court can do nothing more than providing you with the judgment. Either you or your creditor’s right attorney must enforce this judgment in order to collect debts from the debtor.

  • Interest Rate for Judgment

At present, unless your contract sets forth an interest rate, the interest rate for judgment in Massachusetts is 12 percent. This begins from the date of the judgment. And continue until you have received payment in full.

Judgment Enforceable Period

Please note that judgments in Massachusetts are enforceable for twenty years and can also be renewed for another five years. A judgment can also be effectively renewed by bringing a suit on the judgment. When judgment enters on the second suit, you will have effectively doubled the time period in which a judgment is valid.

  • Civil Trial Courts for Different Judgment Amounts

There are 3 civil trial courts in Massachusetts that address matters related to judgment enforcement. The Municipal or District small claims court deals with judgments less than 7000 US dollars. However, for judgments less than $25,000 are addressed in the District civil court while Superior court handles judgment amount of over $25,000. Mechanic’s lien suits of any amount can be brought in the Superior Court.

  • WOE for Judgment

WOE or Writ of Execution is needed in Massachusetts to enforce the judgment. It is obtained from the court and should be acquired with one year of the date on which the judgment is entered. With a WOE, the creditor can levy and sell assets.

Wage attachments require either the filing of a new complaint or a motion in the case of the underlying judgment. In either event, at least ten days’ notice must be given to the debtor prior to date of hearing. Once a wage attachment is allowed, the deputy sheriff serves the trustee summons and court order on the defendant’s employer. Post judgment motions to attach bank accounts must be filed and allowed before a creditor can attach a Massachusetts debtor’s bank account. Furthermore, you can also use WOE to levy your judgment on the debtor’s personal property like car or jewelry, subject, of course, to statutory exemption.

However, all this requires a deep and strong understanding of the law so that you know exactly how to respond in case the debtor counters back. And this may require years before you are in the position to represent your case.  Instead, get in touch with us. We are an MA trained debt collection legal team—peer reviewed with the highest rating from Martindale-Hubbell. We work to recover your debt by enforcing judgments routinely and systematically. For professional assistance, call on (508) 620-6900 or email us at acohen@collections-law.com.

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