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Collecting on a promissory note signed in 2006 in California.

Richland, WA |

My ex-husband and I both signed a promissory note for about $60,000 to my mother roughly six years ago. I've been making payments on it but he hasn't paid a dime. He disappeared for a while but now I've tracked him down in CT with a new wife. They've aquired assets since their marriage. What sort of lawyer do I need who can help me seize their (her) assets, garnish her wages, and/or place a lien on their (her) property? A collections lawyer in CT? A family law lawyer in CA? Both? Or is it too late?

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Wow, you have a complicated situation to deal with. I agree with the advice from the previous comment but it may also be the situation that the case isn't ripe for litigation yet or that you don't have standing to bring an action against your ex-husband. By that I mean that if you and your ex-husband agreed together to pay your mother $60,000 over time then it may be a joint obligation, which you've been fulfilling by making payments. If you stopped paying now (because he's not chipping in) it wouldn't be you that would sue him, but your mother (seeking payment on the promissory note). This could all change though based on how the promissory note reads and whether there are any subsequent requirements to pay (such as a require to pay the debt equally in a divorce decree). Because of these questions I suggest you meet first with local counsel who can examine the promissory note, consider issues such as those I've raised above, consider which state would have jurisdiction over the matter, and then help direct you towards the right state to carry out the lawsuit (if you can bring one).

Providing this general response does not create an attorney client relationship.


You Need A Collection Lawyer. If You've Been Making Payments And There's A Record Of The Payment The Statute Of Limitations Is Arguably Six Years From The Date Of Last Payment. You would Have To Get A Judgment, Then Upon Default Of A Payment Order You Could Garnish HIS Wages (Not Hers), You Could Execute Against Any Bank Account Of His (Including Any Joint Bank Account He holds With Her). Good Luck!

Disclaimer: The foregoing answer does not create an attorney-client relationship with Attorney Cannella or her firm. This answer does not constitute legal advice, is provided for informational and educational purposes only for persons interested in the subject matter, is not legal opinion, nor confidential in nature. Each situation is fact specific and may be subject to state specific laws. Without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem fully.


I agree with both previous answers and you need a collection lawyer where he lives.
The key to successful collections is information about a “way to go” from the debtor.
The debtor's income stream from wages or contracts needs to be legally intercepted before the debtor gets his or her hands on the money, or after the debtor puts the money in the bank. From contractual writs, to bank writs and attachments, to wage garnishments and attachments are normal points in the income stream that may be intercepted, extreme points are forced sale of assets like a sheriff’s sale.
Bear in mind that if the debtor is eligible for protection under bankruptcy law that is their “get out of jail free card” and can be played when eligible and you will have to pay back anything that you obtained from 90 days prior. An interesting issues is always the age of the account and fresher is better; when the debt hits the statute of limitations you are done.
Once you have a judgment and you can transcribe the judgment into the jurisdiction where the debtor lives or works you can collect.
If you have a judgment you can conduct supplemental proceedings or a debtor’s examination, or in the alternative, you can send interrogatories to the debtor.
If you suspect the debtor has transferred assets subsequent to your judgment and you can prove it, you have recourse under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act if the act was adopted by your state or the debtor’s state or where the assets are located.
You can also turn your account over to licensed and bonded collection agency for about half of the proceeds or hire a collection lawyer to work the account for a time or a percentage.
I may not practice in your jurisdiction and you should talk with agencies and lawyers in the debtor’s area.
Good Luck
You can search the Avvo web site under the Find a Lawyer tab, or call your local attorney's Bar Association and ask for a referral to an attorney near you. But always remember to act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a lawsuit in court or your rights expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to an attorney and finding out what your rights are. If this answer was helpful, please give a “Vote ” review below. Please be sure to indicate the best answer to your question so we can all be sure we are being helpful. Thanks for asking and Good Luck

Only If and until you and I sign an Agreement for Legal Services, I am not your attorney. These answers are provided for informational and/or novelty purposes