How to Collect Your Judgment in Michigan (and most other states)

Gary D. Nitzkin

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Litigation Lawyer

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Posted over 4 years ago. 1 helpful vote



Wage Garnishment

If you know where the defendant works, you can garnish his wages. Its as simple as going to court clerk and asking for a Periodic Garnishment form. The clerk will charge you a dollar or less for the form. You fill it out and sign it. The clerk will charge you $20 to file the garnishment with the court (Yes, you must file it). Then you must serve the garnishment by certified mail. The garnishment is actually a new lawsuit against the defendant's employer. It directs the employer to pay money that it would have otherwise paid to the defendant as wages, over to you. This type of garnishment is good for 90 days against the employer, from the date it was served.


Bank Garnishment

If you know where the defendant has a bank account or even a brokerage account, you can file a Non Periodic Garnishment. This type of garnishment is effective on the date it is served on the bank or brokerage account. Its is good on the day that it is served. Hence, if you know when the defendant's paycheck is deposited into his bank account, you may want to have this Non Periodic Garnishment served that same day. It effectively freezes the bank account to the extent of your judgment.


Writ of Execution

If you know what kind of vehicle that the defendant drives, (e.g. car, motorcycle, jet ski, snowmobile, trailer, etc), you can get a Writ of Execution from the court clerk. The problem with these is that unless you have a relationship with a court officer, he may or may work your writ. The court officer is paid by taking a percentage of what he sells. However, it is the defendant that has to pay these costs.


State Income Tax Garnishment

If you have your debtor's social security number, you can take his income tax refund. Be sure to file this early enough to catch the tax refund before the State mails it out to the debtor.


Creditors Exam Subpoena

If you fill out the top part of the front of a subpoena and the back bottom part of it, you can have your debtor appear in court and answer questions about his income and expenses. Be sure to write on the front of the subpoena that you want him to appear with his tax returns for the past three years, all brokerage statements and titles to any vehicles that he owns. The big secret here is to make sure that the debtor is personally served with the subpoena so if he fails to appear, you can ask the court to have him arrested. Ask the court clerk to have the court's bailiff serve the subpoena.

Additional Resources

Nitzkin and Associates, Debt Collection Attorneys

Michigan Collection Law Blog

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