Why are child support judgments critical in collecting unpaid child support?
When you’re faced with any challenging and new situation, it’s always best to learn a bit about what you’re about to get into. We do our best to help mothers arm themselves with the knowledge they’ll need to take care of the children their ex has given up on.
If a parent is owed child support, and would like to take measures to secure the amount owed for their children, that parent can go to a judge and file for a child support judgment against the non custodial parent. This is an order, backed up by the law, that dictates that the non-custodial parent is fiscally responsible for their children regardless of whether or not they have custody. By doing this, the parent who is owed becomes the judgment creditor in the eyes of the court, and the non-custodial, non-supportive parent is considered the judgment debtor. This action gives judgement creditors the legal right to collect child support from debtors by garnishing paychecks, or choosing other methods.
So what would this look like, on the ground-level?
You have a child support judgment (hypothetically). Congratulations! This means you “won” your case, either through default judgment or a contested trial, and the defendant can no longer deny that he owes you the money. It also means that you can get the “aide of the court” in enforcing the judgment.. A judgment will show up on credit reports and will be a matter of public record. This will be a problem for any judgment debtor attempting to borrow money, as most lenders will need the debt to be satisfied before extending any more credit. Most honest debtors will want to clear up their debt and not owe arrears but in cases of child support, that often is not the case.
If you are owed unpaid child support, it is up to you to enforce the judgment and
you have a number of ways to collect once you are recognized as the judgment creditor. For example, judgment liens can be an effective collection method.
What is a Judgment Lien and why do you need it?
A judgment lien is a type of non-consensual lien that gives the creditor the right to take possession of a debtor’s real or personal property. It is the first legal recognition from the court that the debtor owes money that provides the creditor the aid of the court for post-judgment asset and liability discovery. This lien may be made against an individual or business and allows the creditor to take legal ownership of property owned by the debtor to satisfy the judgment.
The judgment creditor always has a permissible purpose to pull a debtor’s credit report under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). When you decide to take an assisted pro sé approach with Athena Collects to enforce your child support arrears, this judgment gives our technology permissible purpose by proxy, to access private consumer reports to locate your ex and his assets.
Examples of Liens Enforced by Mothers Like You
All enforcement techniques involve locating assets of the debtor, attaching the judgment as a lien on those assets, and then liquidating or selling those assets for cash to satisfy the judgment and almost all property is up for grabs.
- Judgment liens on real estate. A judgment lien affects real estate he owns in the county where the creditor records the lien, or where the court enters the judgment. Selling real estate can be an expensive process, but you can still pursue this avenue if he has significant equity in the property. You will only receive the amount remaining after paying off mortgages (and other earlier-in-time liens) and sales costs.
- Judgment liens on personal property. In many states, a judgment lien also applies to personal property (property other than real estate). However, judgment liens on personal property are generally ineffective, because most personal property can be protected with an exemption (the owner gets to keep it) or isn’t worth enough to justify the costs of obtaining it. Also, many personal property liens aren’t recorded (although some get recorded with the Secretary of State), so it’s relatively easy to sell it to a third party who has no idea that the lien existed.
- Judgment liens on vehicles. A judgment creditor can also file a judgment with the state motor vehicles department to get a judgment lien on any car, truck, motorcycle, or any other vehicle he owns.
You will have the most success enforcing judgments when you can identify assets of the judgment debtor to attach. You should collect as much credit information as possible. Include bank accounts, vehicles and equipment, business information and real estate owned. Collect copies of checks received from the debtor, as they include identifying information such as addresses, legal name, and bank details that provide clues to his assets. When you have this information you will be able to move more efficiently to enforce the judgment or perform an asset search.
What Athena Can Do For You
Executing a successful judgment lien requires research, paperwork, digging for clues, and time – something moms have in abundance, right? However, this collection technique will always be worth the squeeze, especially if mom’s looking for a lump sum payment. Athena Collects has handled and brought to fruition thousands of judgment liens over the course of 25 years. We bring the experience and asset search technology to the collection process. We understand what variations need to be captured in a judgment, where the NCP might be hiding net worth, and who may be hiding it for him.
Because we were you, we understand how busy you are and how difficult it may be to battle for what is rightfully yours — especially when you feel like you’re fighting alone.
Athena puts an end to that and provides you with the necessary tools to take advantage of the procedures in place for mothers to collect child support debts on their own.