How to Collect on a Judgment in New York

Photo of a gavel to represent judgment enforcement and how to collect on a judgmement.Is your New York judgment valid? If so, you will need to know how to collect on a judgment so it can get you paid. Article 52 of New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules authorizes judgment enforcement in New York. Within the statute, New York gives creditors liberal rights and remedies to collect their judgment largely without court intervention.

Once the judgment is entered, you must provide the requisite notice of entry, if required. Then you can begin to execute on the judgment bringing you closer to getting paid. Executing on the judgment gives the creditor, or their attorney, the ability to convert paper into money. This can be achieved through:

  • Docketing judgments
  • Creating liens on real property
  • Contempt applications
  • Restraints
  • Issuing subpoenas
  • Depositions of the debtor or third parties
  • Installment payment orders
  • Property executions
  • Income executions
  • Sale of personal and real property

Choosing which process or processes to employ is a strategic decision made based on what you know about the debtor and their assets. Judgment enforcement is not a one-size-fits-all process.

What Successful Judgment Enforcement Looks Like

To help you understand how different this process can look, here are some examples of judgments we have enforced.

Our client entered a judgment against an individual. She sued and obtained judgment on her own. However, when she attempted to execute she faced roadblocks. Knowing where the debtor worked, we were able to serve an information subpoena on the debtor’s employer and obtain the name of the bank the debtor had her paycheck deposited to by way of direct deposit. Gaining this information, we were able to send an information subpoena with restraining notice to the debtor’s bank and restrain the debtor’s bank account.

To satisfy another client’s judgment against an architect, we used public databases to obtain information that listed current ongoing projects the debtor architect was “architect of record” for. An information subpoena with restraining notice revealed the debtor was owed additional funds by the developer of the project. Monies to satisfy our client’s judgment plus interest thereon at 9% (the legal rate of interest in New York at the time) was put on hold or frozen. In order to pick up the monies, we issued a property execution to the city marshal. The marshal levied on the developer who paid the monies over. Once payment cleared, the marshal remitted to us and we remitted to the client.

To collect a different judgment entered against an individual debtor, we had to be a bit creative. This debtor had no assets in his name but through information we obtained, was “living through his spouse.” To obtain payments towards the judgment, we needed to seek a court order for an installment payment order – an order against the spouse paying all the bills for the judgment debtor.

If you are looking to collect on a judgment, a credible debt collection attorney can help ensure successful judgment enforcement. Our approach at Frank, Frank, Goldstein & Nager gets clients paid. If you have a debt collection matter you’d like to discuss, contact us for a free consultation.