Using subpoena in debt collection

Using subpoena in debt collection

The Power of Subpoena in debt collection

Most debt collection actions involving a legal judgment follow a pattern: The creditor tries to collect, the debtor fails to pay, the court grants a judgment. Congratulations! You have now taken the first step towards collecting the judgment debt. Unfortunately, there may be more steps involved in the judgment enforcement, Once the judgment has been entered, we are able to take steps on the creditor’s behalf if the debtor is disinclined to pay.   These steps include wage garnishment and bank levies to collect on the court-sanctioned debt. Sometimes, however, the creditor may suspect the debtor is hiding assets — at which point, the creditor may request a subpoena, most likely a Subpoena Duces Tecum (a writ ordering a person to attend a court and bring relevant documents) to force the debtor to reveal his full portfolio of assets and liabilities, under the court’s authority.

This examination procedure forces the debtor to come into Court, and testify about his or her assets, in excruciating detail. If the debtor fails to appear at the proceedings may result in the judge issuing a contempt of court citation and an arrest warrant may be issued.  The debtor may actually go to jail! This can be a very powerful judgment enforcement tool.


Subpoena Requirements

A subpoena issued to a judgment debtor will typically require the debtor to appear before a judge and swear under oath that the material the debtor provides is complete and truthful. The subpoena usually requires the debtor to list all assets and liabilities; the court enters this disclosure into its record and it becomes accessible to the creditor. The debtor must disclose his ownership interest in houses, properties, boats, cars and other significant investments, as well as outlining all active banking and investment accounts. Marcadis Singer, PA may use this information to request the seizure of assets to satisfy the outstanding debt judgment.


Tactical use of Subpoena

At times, it might appear that a creditor has any recourse to collect their debt.  Marcadis Singer, PA, are able to use subpoenas when it appears that there is no way forward in collecting against a judgment.  Debtor’s noncompliance with a subpoena, and the amount of effort tthat goes into compiling documents, can sometimes result in a negotiated payment without ever having to actually go back to court.  The subpoena helps the creditor determine the debtor’s total range of assets. To get to this point in the collections process, the debtor usually remained non-responsive to the creditor even after going through the judicial process.


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