I lost in Small Claims Court, but can’t afford to pay. What can I do?
Question & AnswerI lost in Small Claims Court, but can’t afford to pay. What can I do?
3. Prepare for your examination hearing
If the wants to know more about your financial situation, they may ask for an examination hearing. At the examination hearing, you must give information about your financial situation. This includes your , and your ability to pay the creditor.
If you haven’t paid what you owe, the creditor may ask for a court order to take part of your wages or money from your bank account. This is called . They will likely need an examination hearing to do that.
Before the hearing
At least 30 days before the examination hearing, the creditor must you a signed Notice of Examination. They must also give you a blank Financial Information Form. This form gives the court and creditor information about your financial situation.
Complete the Financial Information Form and serve it on the creditor before the hearing.
You can serve the Financial Information Form:
- in person
- by mail or fax
- by courier
You don’t need to file the Financial Information Form with the court.
At the hearing
Bring a completed copy of the Financial Information Form to the examination hearing. Give the form to the judge, along with any other documents that support what you said on the form.
For example, supporting documents may include:
- pay stubs
- income tax returns
- appraisals on
- proof of ownership of land or vehicles
- bank statements
Both you and the creditor must attend the examination hearing. The examination is under , which means it is against the law to lie. The public is not usually allowed to attend an examination hearing.
Write notes about what happens during the examination hearing. At the end of the hearing, ask the court to return all your documents to you, including the Financial Information Form. You may not be able to get it from the court later.
The judge’s decision
At the examination hearing, you must give information about your financial situation. Depending on the information, the judge may order you to:
- pay off the debt, or
- make payments on certain dates.
If you don’t attend or don’t co-operate
The judge may order a contempt hearing if you:
- don’t attend the examination hearing, or
- you attend the examination hearing, but refuse to co-operate.
If there is a contempt hearing, you should get legal help. At the hearing, the court will decide whether you are in . If you’re found in contempt of court, you can be sent to jail or fined.