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Obtaining a Judgment

You signed a contract with another person and they do not fulfill a financial obligation under it. You have legal recourse and can seek a court judgment to satisfy the requirement. There are three places where you can obtain a judgment: district court, county court for claims up to $15,000.00, and small claims court. You start the action by filing and serving a summons and complaint to the other party.

County Court and District Court

If you file in county court, you must serve the other party with a copy of the filing paperwork no later than 14 days before the court date. The filer or his attorney must appear in court. If not, the complaint can be dismissed. If the receiving party does not appear, then the filing party may obtain a default judgment, which is a judgment issued without hearing both sides of the case. In district court, after service of the summons and complaint, the responding party has 21 days to file an answer. If the responding party does not answer, the filing party can request a default judgment.

Execution of the Judgment

Once a judgment for a sum certain is obtained from a court, there is an automatic stay on enforcement for 14 days. There are some steps to follow to enforce the judgment. First obtain a transcript of the judgment and then send to the county clerk in any county where the obligor may own property. Next you can obtain information regarding the debtor’s assets through discovery; interrogatories, requests for production of documents and depositions. If you intend to collect from the obligor’s pay, A Writ of Continuing Garnishment can be served on an employer to garnish wages. Some types of wages are exempt from garnishment, such as disability or retirement payments. The debtor can object to the calculation of amount to be garnished in a garnishment action under certain circumstances.

Property

You can also potentially collect from a debtor’s property sale. A judgment lien gives a creditor the right to be paid from the proceeds of sale of a debtor's property. Of course, the debtor has to sell the property for the creditor to collect so the wait can be long. In Colorado, a judgment lien can be attached only to real estate, such as a house or land. To attach the lien, the creditor files the judgment with the county recorder where the debtor owns property. A judgment lien in Colorado is attached to property for six years. There could be obstacles along the way to collection, however. A creditor's ability to collect under a judgment lien may be impacted by factors such as homestead exemptions, preexisting liens, foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers and prevents debt collectors from using intrusive or deceptive practices when collecting debts. For example, a debt collector can't:

  • Call you at unusual or inconvenient times or places
  • Falsely represent the character, amount, or status of a debt
  • Use language on envelopes that indicate the communication is from a debt collection business
  • Call you at work if the collector knows that your employer prohibits such calls
  • Uses obscene or profane language

Is it time to turn change into opportunity? At Janko Law and Mediation, LLC we know how to work with you to reach your transition goals. We are committed to pursuing settlement to preserve family relations to the maximum extent possible, however also zealously represent your interests in contested litigation if desired or necessary. We can also handle appeals if the event that the trial court errors in fact or law. Give us a call for a complimentary case assessment at 303-210-4204, or fill out our confidential online intake form.

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