Debt Collection Blog

"Relentless Collection Attorneys"

Alan Cohen

We go to the Mat for You Pre and Post Judgment

When a foreign judgment is being localized into a Massachusetts judgment, during that period the defendant, (the debtor operating in the state of Massachusetts) may act proactively and quickly transfer, hide or even sell their assets to show to the judge that they are financially unable to make debt payments. But when you choose to hire the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC for legal representation, you don’t have to worry about what actions your debtor will take because our experienced attorney Alan M. Cohen thinks ahead and prosecutes claims effectively, efficiently and aggressively.

Upon investigation, if we discover that your debtor has assets in Massachusetts, we’ll use pre-judgment security tools to seize or freeze your debtor’s assets while the case is going on prior to judgment and even post judgment. And if your debtor is too good at hiding assets, then we will work to be too good in finding them. Simply stated, at the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC, we give it our all for our clients to ensure debt recovery. Sometimes the process is fast and other times it can involve some grinding, but rest assured we don’t give up or go away until we have collected your monies from the debtor or no one can collect money from your debtors.  Continue reading to learn more about pre-judgment and post judgment tools and how they work when it comes to debt collection in Massachusetts.

What is Pre-Judgment Security?

As the name suggests pre-judgment security occurs before the court enters judgment. It enables the plaintiff or the creditor to secure the debtor/defendant’s assets while the lawsuit is pending and before obtaining the judgment. The main objective of this security tool offered by the Law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is that it prevents the debtor from engaging in the following actions that can ostensibly reduce their ability to make debt payments:

  • Selling of assets,
  • Transferring them on someone else’s name,
  • Encumbering, and
  • Hiding real or personal property.

In Massachusetts the seizure of property is governed by Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 223, §§ 42- 83 (attachment) and ch. 246 (trustee process), which are implemented through Mass. R. Civ. P. 4.1 and 4.2.

Attachment may be entered only upon a finding by the court that there is a reasonable likelihood that the plaintiff will recover a judgment, including interest and costs, in an amount equal to or greater than the amount of the attachment [or trustee process] over and above any liability insurance shown by the defendant to be available to satisfy the judgment.

Different Types of Pre-Judgment Security Tools

Here are some of the different types of pre-judgment security tools that our Massachusetts bad debt collections attorney may use either separately or in combination depending on the case and situation:

  • Real Estate Attachment

This pre-judgment security tool enables us to seize your debtor’s real estate in Massachusetts. With real estate attachments, you can secure the debtor’s property before the final judgment is obtained thereby preventing them from mortgaging property, selling or transferring it. This legal action can be taken both ways with notification and on ex-parte basis that means without notifying them. However, certain conditions are applied on ex-parte real estate attachments.

These include:

By law, the creditor can pursue attachment on ex-parte basis if and when:

  • You will be able to collect judgment in an sum that is equal to or greater than the sum of the attachment over & above any liability insurance known or reasonably believed to be available,
  • You are afraid that in the event of notifying the defendant, they will most likely sell, transfer or conceal the real estate.
  • You think that there is a clear danger that in the event of notifying the debtor in advance, they will convey it, remove it from the state or will conceal it, or
  • You think that the debtor will most likely damage or destroy the property to be attached.
  • Bank Attachment

This is also a type of attachment. However, what makes this different from other attachments is that this pre-judgment security tool enables you the creditor to seize and freeze the bank accounts of your debtor. It stops the debtor from using, transferring or withdrawing the money from the bank account.

As bank accounts may not be directly linked with the debtor’s business operations, the court allows bank attachments on ex-parte basis more frequently as compared to the keepers or real estate attachments.

To implement bank attachment successfully, we advise our clients to always keep copies of the checks received from customers as it helps with account verification, and banking changes.  All this information is much needed to file a motion for a bank attachment and seize the debtor’s accounts.

Here it is important to understand that pre-judgment security tools allow you to hold the debtor’s assets aside before you win the judgment which can be later used to satisfy your judgment in case if the debtor fails to pay you back. Remember pre-judgment security doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to use or keep the assets that have been secured. In other words, this legal action helps level the playing field; it may also have the incidental effect of helping to  bring the debtor to the table for a meaningful negotiation for debt payments. However, if the debtor still shows rigidity and has no intentions of paying you back then the assets held aside can be authorized by the court for debt payments to you the creditor.

  • Keeper Attachment

If upon investigation we find out that your debtor in Massachusetts is operating a cash business, then we could seek to have the court allow a keeper attachment pre-judgment security instead. Under this attachment the deputy sheriff will take the custody of the personal property of the debtor.

This pre-judgment security tool gives the sheriff the power to seize money as soon it comes to the debtor’s business.

What is Post Judgment?

Post judgment tools are legal actions that are taken after the creditor wins the judgment. These actions work best when the judgment debtor fails and refuses to pay the money judgment entered against them declaring that they are not in a financial position to make debt payments any time soon. Post judgment legal action can mean taking the debtor to the court for asset examination and inquiry such as supplementary process or it could mean pealing back the onion to locate the assets.

Different Types of Post Judgment Tools

Post judgment tools can be classified under two broad categories:

  • Post Judgment Discovery

Under this legal action we focus on following the debtor’s money trail. Our seasoned debt collection attorney will continue to follow the money trail of your debtor relentlessly until and unless your money is paid to you. From credit card companies to their customers and bank accounts, we work to follow the money. Just follow the money!!

Knowing about the money trail of the debtor is crucial to determine the assets they have and are hiding from you.

Under the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, the creditor has the power to obtain discovery from any person including a judgment debtor to assist in judgment payment collection. Put simply, this means that you can use this legal action to request information about and also collect documentations that serve as evidence for the judgment debtor’s assets. These documentations include bank statements, paychecks and tax returns, to name but a few.

Under post judgment discovery, you can also depose the debtor and they may take oath to provide detailed and accurate information regarding all their assets such as modes of income, bank accounts that they have in Massachusetts, vehicles, boats, investment accounts, jewelry, equipment, inventory, arts and collectibles.

Under post judgment discovery process, our attorney has the right to inquire about debtor’s assets, and by law they must provide us with accurate information. This tactic aims at identifying the debtor’s ability to pay debts. After getting a true picture of the financial status of your debtor, we can take more aggressive actions to maximize your chances of debt recovery.

In certain situations, our attorney Alan M. Cohen may also demand testimony from others related to the debtor for the information of the debtor’s assets. This action also helps in determining the worth of assets your debtor may have and may be hiding from you.

  • Supplementary Process

Another although less effective post judgment collection technique is the supplementary process. This tool focuses on obtaining debt payments of a prior judgment where the court leads the asset inquiry. For this a legal action a new complaint  is filed at a much lower court entry fee. 

Under this process, the judgment debtor must appear in the court to answer asset related questions. This means that in the supplementary process action, the creditor must have the judgment debtor  served with the supplementary process complaint and summon. They must submit themselves to an examination that is relative to their assets and ability to pay. Questions are asked by the creditor’s counsel and sometimes by the judge. After the interrogation, the judge determines assets owned by the debtor and their financial ability to make payment.

Once all the asset information is collected about the debtor, our attorney will use the best tools strategically to recover payments. Writ of execution is best for non-exempt personal property while the trustee process attachment can be  an excellent tool for debt recovery. Motion to garnish wages is also effective.   

At the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen, we leave no stone unturned to help our clients. What makes our law firm different is that we never give up. We don’t quit trying to collect monies for you. If we can’t collect the debt, then no one else can because we work aggressively and relentlessly to make sure that the debtor makes debt payments to you in a timely manner.

When pursuing claims we start taking actions even before the final judgment is obtained because we don’t want to provide any avenue or opportunity to your debtor to hide, transfer or sell their assets before they make payments to you. We work proactively and with sheer commitment because for us our clients matter the most. Additionally, whatever actions we take in the quest of debt collection, we always treat your debtor with respect and dignity. Our goal is to help you with debt recovery while ensuring that you have the opportunity to work with your debtor in the future if you should so choose. Of course, sometimes scorched earth is the policy called for to effectively collect your debts.  If you want a wall flower to try to collect your debt, don’t call us. If you want a law firm that will come charging out of the gate and not let up until the debt is collected or no one can collect the debt, then you have found what you are looking for.

Our rich legal experience and sound knowledge are the best assets to have on your side to ensure aggressive judgment enforcement and smooth debt recovery. There is a reason that we have been awarded the highest rating from Martindale-Hubbell a peer rating organization.

Contact us Today

Call the Law Offices of Alan M. Cohen LLC at (508) 620-6900 or email us at acohen@collections-law.com to schedule for initial consultation and case evaluation. Discuss your case with our experienced Massachusetts bad debt collections attorney todays. We’ll help determine the best legal actions to fight your case and ensure efficient debt collection. Let us handle us your case and help you recover your debt payments just like we’ve helped hundreds of  other clients. Our attorney is all in to collect your debt from your debtor in Massachusetts. Successful and aggressive debt collection and judgment enforcement is needed to prevent judgment debtors from evading payment thereby depriving you of debt recovery.  Those are some of the services that we provide to our clients.

Give us the opportunity to work to provide you justice and

help you recover your hard-earned money back.

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