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If someone is to pay restitution joint and several is there a way a portion is sent to collections but not all?

Willmar, MN |

My friend and 2 others were charged with 3rd degree burglary. They are to pay 11,000 joint and several restitution. Two are paying and the other is still in and out of jail for drugs, alcohol, and mental illness so they say. Is there any way that it could be satisfied without some of it being paid?

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Attorney answers 3


In most J & S situations the creditor is free to negotiate a payoff with any of the debtors without affecting the ability to go after the remaining amount due from the nonpaying debtor. This situation is different because it involves the state, and there may be someone at the state's attorney's office (or some other office that oversees restitution) who needs to sign off on the deal (if the deal is even permissible).

Keep in mind that the creditor is giving up something valuable if he or she does this. The creditor need only sit and wait until the ones who ARE paying satisfy the debt. The creditor wouldn't do this unless he or she wanted an immediate lump sum or if the legalities and practicalities somehow pushed in the direction of getting things over and done with.

For instance, if you could be free to leave the state without finishing restitution, or if the creditor's remedies against you would somehow be limited and enforcement less than certain, you might be able to negotiate yourself a discount.

I am a Florida-licensed attorney. Any answers I give which are not specific to Florida should be construed as general legal information only and not legal advice. Any answers specific to Florida are not given in the course of an attorney/client relationship, which may only be established by hiring me. You may find my book "Debt Hope: Down and Dirty Survival Strategies" (available from better booksellers) to be a helpful resource.


It appears that your payments are being made in accordance with a guilty plea in criminal court. In these cases the court controls the joint and several payments and will not change the terms of payment until all of the money ordered is paid to the victim. You may have the right to sue the non-paying defendant for his portion of the judgement that you paid in accordance with the court order. You need to consult a lawyer in order to determine exactly how this works in your state.

This answer is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice nor forming the attorney client relationship. This attorney is licensed in Kentucky

Paul H. Weig

Paul H. Weig


This answer is the most on target for your question. Minnesota Courts usually have the restitution handled through the Court/probation system. If, for some reason, the restitution is being handled outside of the Court/probation system the advice about settlement applies. If payment of more than 1/3 of the judgment is a terrible hardship, you might be able to get the Court to amend its ruling, but that is very unlikely. The Court is going to be focused on the harm to the victim rather than the harm to you.


No. Joint and several liability means the creditors an get the entire amount from only one party who was ordered to pay.

Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship.