I have loaned $10,000 + to a business associate in 2006 and he has failed to pay me back as per our signed contract. Since 2008, I have already filed a judgment against him to repay my initial investment, plus interest and attorney fees. I have been told I have a couple more options to take: 1) Hire an asset search firm, 2) Hire a collections attorney, 3) Do a Debtors Exam.
What would be the best route to take to get my money back? I have also learned that he may have real estate assets that he may have transferred to a family member, and he just recently got married. Is there a way to find out exactly what he owns or have owned (which he may have transferred)? Also, can I go after his spouses assets?
Any assistance is appreciated
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
You can do any of the above. You can go after community property assets to satisfy your debt but not assets that the spouse owned prior to the marriage. Also, many of us attorneys have access to Lexis Nexis, which can give you an idea of what assets are out there that belong to the debtor and enable you to attach a lien. A debtor's exam is a good way to go because you can immediately question the debtor as to what bank accounts they have so that you can initiate a bank levy. Best of luck to you.
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With judgment in hand a good collections attorney would be a good next step.
Legal disclaimer: I am licensed to practice law in the state of Washington and the answer provided above is for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as specific legal advice. This answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney of your choice to fully advise you about your legal rights and obligations.
Cheapest thing to do would have been to file an abstract of judgment against him in every county in CA you know he lived in so that the judgment would have become a lien against any real property he owned. That would have prevented the trasnfer of real estate to a relative. A debtor exam is pretty inexpensive and the combination of being under oath after being personally served will work on some people.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.