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How do I collect the money I'm owed?

How do I collect the money I'm owed?
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Reviewed: 
February 23, 2017
Answer

If you're the plaintiff in a Small Claims Court case and you win, you become a creditor. The person you sued becomes the debtor.

If you win your court case, the court will order the debtor to pay you money. But the court does not collect the money for you.

Sometimes, the debtor pays the money right away. The debtor can also ask for more time to pay you back.

Debtor doesn’t pay

The debtor may refuse to pay, or say they can’t give you back your money. If this happens, there are steps you can take to get what you're owed. This is called enforcing the judgment.

You can start enforcing your judgment as soon as you win your case.

You have options:

  • Write to the debtor and ask for your money.
  • Get an order from the court to take part of the debtor’s wages or money from their bank account. This is called garnishment.
  • Get an order from the court to take or sell the debtor's personal property or land. This is called seizure.

Examination hearing

You can also ask the Small Claims Court to hold a hearing called an examination hearing. At the examination hearing, the debtor must explain their financial situation. They show the court their assets, debts, and income. With this information, you can decide which is the best way to collect the money you're owed.

Getting back personal property

The court may have ordered the debtor to give back your personal property. If so, there are steps you can take to enforce your order.

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