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August 12, 2020 Collections

How to Apply for a Writ of Execution

If you have been awarded a money judgment in court, you may think that your case is over. Unfortunately, many defendants do not have the funds or refuse to make payments on the judgment. In these situations, a collections attorney can help you get the money that you are legally owed through a writ of execution. At Snellings Law in New Jersey, our team of experienced collections attorneys have assisted many clients in securing their money judgments from judgment-debtors. If you need help getting money that you deserve, call or contact our office today to schedule a case consultation.

What is a Writ of Execution?

A writ of execution is a court order that instructs law enforcement to enforce a judgment of possession in order to transfer assets, money, or property to satisfy a legal judgment. The court case where the judgment was rendered gives the plaintiff the right to the property, whereas the writ begins the transfer process if the judgment-debtor does not do so willingly. In New Jersey, the writ of execution is typically given to a Special Civil Part court officer for judgments under $3,000 rendered in small claims court or under $15,000 in Special Civil Part court. County sheriffs are directed to begin the transfer process for all other types of civil judgments when there is a writ involved.

How Does a Writ of Execution Work?

Once a judge agrees to a writ of execution and gives the order to the proper law enforcement officer, that officer can place levies on many different types of personal property of the judgment-debtor in order to satisfy the money judgment. The most common levies issued in a writ include bank accounts, personal property, motor vehicles, real estate equity, and wage garnishment.

Bank levies freeze money in the judgment-debtor’s bank account and transfer it to the plaintiff in the case. However, certain funds like Social Security, unemployment benefits, and other government-issued benefits are exempt. A bank levy must also be done before the judgment-debtor files for bankruptcy, which can block a plaintiff from accessing those funds. Personal property can also be levied so long as it has a value of $1,000 or more. Personal property includes items like furniture, jewelry, tools, art, collectibles, and more. The sheriff liquidates the property and gives the proceeds from the sale to the plaintiff. 

Levies can also be applied to motor vehicles, but the vehicle must be registered in New Jersey. A lien can also be placed on the homestead real estate of the judgement-debtor, but a plaintiff cannot force its sale. However, the lien remains on the property until the judgment is paid or sells the property, in which the lien is paid from the proceeds of the sale. A lien is valid on real estate for 20 years in New Jersey, and bankruptcy does not eliminate it.  

Finally, a writ of execution can involve initiating a wage garnishment on the debtor’s income. Under New Jersey law, wage garnishment can collect 10% of the judgment-debtor’s paycheck unless they make more than 250% more than the poverty level, in which case the garnishment can collect up to 25% of each paycheck to satisfy the money judgment.

It is also important to note that a writ can involve many of these collection methods at one time, provided that the plaintiff has the information necessary to carry out the levies on various aspects of personal property. An experienced collections attorney can assist in ensuring that all avenues are taken when utilizing a writ of execution to receive a money judgment from a judgment-debtor.

How a Collections Attorney can Help

A collections attorney may be your best option when it comes to collecting on a civil judgment after a case when a defendant refuses to pay. A collections attorney can investigate what types of assets are available and have a wide range of resources available that the typical plaintiff does not have access to, such as forensic accountants and private investigators. In addition, a collections attorney will draft and file the paperwork with the court, ensuring that everything is done correctly the first time and expediting your case through the process. Finally, a collections lawyer will oversee the process and relieve you of the burden after finally getting the money judgment you deserve in your civil case.

Call or Contact Us Today

To learn more about how our collections attorneys at Snellings Law in New Jersey can assist with a writ of execution, call or contact us today to schedule a consultation of your case.