How do I collect on a judgement if the defendant refuses to pay?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How do I collect on a judgement if the defendant refuses to pay?

I did a construction job but the client didn’t pay, so I went to court and got a judgement. He still

refused to pay. I went back and got a garnishment order, however he took out the money from the account.

Asked on March 27, 2019 under Bankruptcy Law, Hawaii


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If he is employed by another person (not self employed), go back to court and seek a "wage garnishment" order: an order which will go to his employer directing the employer (so this is not under the defendant's control) to take some percentage of his paycheck (up to 25% of his "disposable income" as your state defines that; in practice, usually around 10-15% of the paycheck) and send it to you. (Usually, to goes to the sheriff, who then sends it to you after taking out some processing costs.)
If he is self employed, so you cannot garnish his wages, you will probably not collect unless he owns real estate which you can get a court order putting a llen on. (If he does have real estate, a lien is another good option). It is very difficult to collect from self-employed persons who don't own real estate and who are simply deadbeats who don't want to pay.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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