Debtor examinations can be an interesting and effective way of recouping the proceeds awarded as a judgment. Often times, parties participating in civil litigation find that obtaining a court ordered judgment is only the first step in recovery. Following judgment, the successful party becomes a judgment creditor and must now recoup the proceeds of the judgment from the judgment debtor. Unfortunately, judgment creditors often learn that judgment debtors are quick to try and hide their real estate or other assets or simply refuse to pay on the judgment. Therefore, judgment creditors are often forced to go to great lengths to determine the extent of the judgment debtor’s real estate, personal property, and financial assets. A judgment creditor may use a debtor examination as one method of collecting on a judgment.
A judgment creditor can use a debtor examination as a way to depose the debtor or a third party in possession of the debtor’s property. (CCP § 708.110(a); CCP § 708.120.) Additionally, a judgment creditor can include anyone with information about the debtor’s assets. (See CCP §§ 708.130, 708.140.) During the examination, the judgment creditor can ask questions directly to the judgment debtor or the third party. Because the process is under oath and under the supervision of a judge, judgment creditors can be more confident in the reliability of the answers obtained during a debtor examination and can force the debtor to answer questions in front of the judge.
Once the judgment creditor has finished the examination, the creditor may ask the Court for a “turnover order”. If the Court grants the turnover order, the judgment debtor or third person must provide identified assets to a levying officer or straight to the judgment creditor. Judgment creditors often prefer turnover orders to levying property because turnover orders are efficient and enforceable by contempt of court. Personally, I have been part of many debtor exams where the judge has ordered the debtor to empty their pockets and turn over proceeds right in court. Further, I have even heard stories of judgment creditors leaving a debtor exam with the cars that the debtor drove to the examination with.
Of course, the strategy necessary to successively obtain civil court judgments and collecting on those judgments is unique to every case. We have experience successively obtaining civil court judgments, often involving real estate, throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles and Ventura County. Further, we have repeatedly been successful in using a debtor’s real estate and other assets to collect on our judgments.
For help with your real estate claim or for a 30 minute consultation, contact us by filling out our contact form on the right hand side of this page or by emailing us at email@example.com or by calling us at 310-954-1877. www.schorr-law.com