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How do I collect a judgement for attorney fees in WA?

Seattle, WA |

I have a judgement for 5000.00 against my estranged husband. What is the best way to collect on this? How do I get it on his credit reports?
My husband has vehicles/motorcycle, a ton of expensive personal property, multiple bank accounts, and a great job. Also, gets a large bonus each year. What is the easiest and fastest way to ever see this money?

Attorney Answers 2

  1. The easiest and fastest way to see the money is to hire a debt collection attorney to get the money for you. However, the convenience comes at a price. Per Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 6.27.090(2) a garnishing attorney can receive 10% (of the higher between the judgement that is unsatisfied or the amount prayed for in the complaint), and that 10% is tacked on to the amount collected. Therefore, the person you are collecting against pays the 10%, not you. Collection is not a fun process, it is frustrating even for the attorneys because of all of the requirements, procedures, forms, and other intangibles of dealing with people who cannot or will not pay. So most collection attorneys that I have come into contact with will also require a percentage of the amount collected to be paid to them in a fee. These are amounts that will come from your portion of what is owed to you from the judgment.

    If you know where he banks, and are reasonably certain that he has at least the total judgment amount in one of the accounts there, then garnishing the bank account may be the most straight forward option. The RCW's and King County Manual (below) discuss that in more depth.

    If you would like more information on Garnishment, then I encourage you to check out of the chapters of RCW 6.27 "Garnishment". You can Google it and it will tell you more than you want to know. Also, the King County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division is currently updating their "How to Use the Small Claims Court and How To Collect Small Claims Judgments" manual. The second part of the manual discusses garnishment and collection. Though the manual is currently being updated, here is a link to the previous version for reference (

    If you would like to be paired with an attorney, I do recommend that you call your local county bar association for a referral.

  2. Probably a wage ( paycheck) garnishment will get his attention and he may just decide to pay you off rather than go through the 60 day cycle that each writ of garnishment ties up. The writ is served on the employer so hubby might want to get that cleared up fast. But if you know where he banks then maybe a bank garnishment would be a good start and if you come up short ( as in he only had $500 in the account when the writ was received - the bank only holds the funds in the account on the day the writ is received) then go with the wage garnishment. Keep in mind that as a general proposition you can only grab 25% of his take home wages. It will be pretty difficult for you to figure out the garnishment procedure on your own.

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