Educational Consumer Tips

Collecting on a Judgment

Author: Better Business Bureau

If you win a judgment in court, it is up to you to collect on that judgment. The following is information provided by the Richmond General District Court.

HOW: First, try to make arrangements outside of court with the opposing party for payment of the judgment. If this fails, the court provides processes to help you try to collect on your judgment, but you must initiate the action.

TO BEGIN: You may wish to wait until the ten-day notice of appeal period has expired before starting the collection process. (These are 10 calendar days, not work days; however, if the last day falls on a weekend or holiday, the appeal period extends through the next open business day). After those 10 days, if the opposing party has not yet made arrangements with you for payment, and if they have not perfected an appeal to Circuit Court, you may then return to the clerk's office for further assistance. If you do not wish to wait but proceed anyway and the case is appealed, any money spent by you will not be refunded.

YOUR OPTIONS: There are several ways to execute on a judgment, and we strongly suggest you consult an attorney as to which option would be to your best advantage. The clerk's office cannot give you any legal advice; however, they can provide you with forms and assistance in initiating the following actions:

_ INTERROGATORY SUMMONS - (Filing fee + a sheriff's fee per party to be served.) If you do not know where the opposing party works, banks, or owns property, you may summon them to court to answer your questions under oath as to their assets and where they are located.

_GARNISHMENT - (Filing fee + a sheriff's fee per party to be served.) If you know where the opposing party is employed or has a bank account, you may file forms to have their bank account or a portion of their wages attached.

_ACTUAL LEVY - (Execution and service fees. Sheriff may require a bond). If you know where the opposing party resides or are aware of any specified personal property (not real property), the Sheriff will attempt to place a lien on items whose worth is sufficient to cover the cost of your judgment. These items may later be sold at a Sheriff's sale with the proceeds going to you. There is more to this procedure, and you will need to contact the Sheriff's Office after the lien has been placed. Most personal items are exempt pursuant to the Virginia Code. There is more to this procedure and you may need to contact an attorney.

_DOCKETING OF JUDGMENT - This is done through a Circuit Court and places a lien against any real property owned in a specific city or county. To do this, you obtain a certified copy of your judgment (called an "abstract") from the General District Court and take it to the Circuit Court of the city or county where the real property is located.

_TRIPLE SEAL - If you wish to execute on any assets located outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia, you may wish to inquire about a Triple Seal of your judgment.


This is for informational purposes only and is not to be substituted for legal advice. 11/02