Once you have obtained a judgment, the next step is to collect the money owed you.  This instruction sheet indicates the various procedures you may follow in collecting the money owed when the judgment debtor has refused to voluntarily pay you the amount of your judgment plus court costs.

The Civil Division will not prepare the legal papers for you.  However, the staff will assist you in completing any of the forms necessary to collect your judgment.

Each collection method requires a filing fee to be paid by the plaintiff at the time of filing, however that amount will be added to the costs owed by the defendant.  Please consult the Civil Fee Schedule for the current amounts.

NOTICE TO APPEAR AND ANSWER (DEBTOR'S EXAMINATION):

The purpose of this hearing is to obtain information from the defendant about his ability to satisfy the judgment.  If is the Plaintiffs responsibility to be prepared with a list of questions to ask the defendant regarding their assets and income.  Notices will be mailed from the Court, assigning a Court appearance date for all parties to appear before the Judge. 

If the Defendant fails to appear at this time, a Contempt of Court citation may be issued.  If the defendant does not appear for the Contempt hearing, a bench warrant for his or her arrest may be issued and he or she may then be brought into Court.

In order for a warrant to be issued you need to provide the defendant's social security number and date of birth.

BANK ATTACHMENT:

You may have the checking and/or savings account of the defendant attached.  In addition to the filing fee this will also require a $1.00 check or money order made out to the bank for their services.  To attach a bank account, you will need to know the name, branch and address of the bank, along with, if possible, the exact name and account number of the savings account or checking account, which you wish to have attached.

WAGE GARNISHMENT:

You may have the wages of the Defendant garnished. The forms for this service are available in the Clerk's office, Small Claims Division, and the personnel will assist you in filing them.

To garnish the Defendant's wages, you must first send by certified mail or ordinary mail with a certificate of mailing (purchased at the post office), a copy of a form called a Fifteen Day Demand or Notice of Court Action to Collect Debt.  At least fifteen days, but no more than forty-five days after sending the fifteen-day demand, you may file at the Clerk's office, an Affidavit, Order and Notice of Garnishment and Answer of Garnishee.  This form is obtainable at no cost from the Small Claims Division of the Clerk's office.  This affidavit must be signed by you in the presence of a Deputy Clerk and must be accompanied by a copy of the fifteen-day demand together with the proof of mailing (Certified or Certificate), or the unclaimed letter.                             

The new law replaces the current “once every 30 days” garnishment order system which continues until satisfied, requiring periodic wage payments of 25% per pay cycle unless either or both of the following occur: notice of garnishment order from one or more additional creditors, or notice of higher priority garnishment order.   NO GARNISHMENT PROCEEDINGS SHALL BE MAINTAINED IF THE JUDGMENT DEBTOR IS IN TRUSTEESHIP OR HAS FILED BANKRUPTCY.  You may also be required to attend a hearing if the defendant disputes the garnishment.

If the disposable earnings owed to the employee are sufficient, the employer will send the appropriate amount of money directly to the Clerk of Courts who will mail it to you, normally within two weeks after the money is received from the employer.  If you have not received any money from the Clerk of Courts within four weeks of the date of your filing the affidavit, you should come in to the Court or check by telephoning 424-7143. A deputy clerk will give you the information to bring you up to date on the status of your proceedings.  

EXECUTION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY:

For a deposit of $450.00 or more as determined by the Court, you may attach nonexempt property of the defendant to satisfy your judgment.  You are required to provide a description and serial number of any items you wish attached.  The property would be sold at auction and the proceeds, if any, would be paid over to you.  If the property does not sell or is sold and does not cover the costs, you would be responsible for the difference.  Also, specific kinds of property are exempt from execution under ORC 2329.66.

CERTIFICATE OF JUDGMENT:

This document may be filed at the Common Pleas Court Clerks Office in any county where the defendant owns real estate.  Upon filing, the real estate may not be sold or conveyed unless your judgment is satisfied.