Discover Judgment Debtor’s Social Security Number


Documents that contain a judgment debtor’s non-expunged or non-redacted Social Security number are certainly worth their weight in gold for a judgment collector involved in a post-judgment asset investigation.  A SSN can also be of great assistance when one is attempting to skip trace a missing judgment debtor.

Discover judgment debtor's Social Security number

discover judgment debtor’s SSN

In this 21st century it is much more difficult to legally obtain a person’s personal information.  The one identifier that people are most likely to try to protect is their Social Security number.  This post is intended to give a few types of documents that will likely have a person’s SSN on it somewhere.

Every time I have used a bank levy or bank garnishment, I have included the Social Security number as well as the name of the debtor.  I may only know of the existence of a single account in the debtor’s name at the bank.  By including the “social” I am able to levy on any accounts at that institution which are in the name or SSN of my debtor.  It can be surprising when the bank freezes other accounts that my debtor has at the bank that I had not known about.  It makes collecting all of my money, or at least more of my money a greater possibility.

In my state I have discovered that old traffic tickets frequently included the driver’s “social” as well as other helpful identification information.  I go to the archives at the courthouse and look in the old files which contain the traffic tickets.  In my area, this information is not available in the more recent years of computerized records.

I have found debtor’s personal identifiers by looking at the physical files.  Sometimes a speeding ticket 20 years old will turn up information that current files do not.

Authorities that were compelled to switch over from displaying full SSNs have done a thorough job of not including them in publicly viewable formats that now exist.  However, these same authorities have not been as thorough in removing SSN data from old hard copy forms, files, and records.  In my area, when I am researching old records in the archives, there is typically no one in close proximity to realize that the records I am looking at have personal identifiers that haven’t been expunged or redacted.

There are other documents that contain Social Security numbers for my judgment debtors.  Sometimes they will present them in response to post-judgment discovery requests.

To ask for a debtor to hand over their actual Security Card would seem to be unreasonable.  However, it would not raise the same red flag to ask for them to provide for discovery purposes their pay stub from work.  These often display the “social” on them.

It is also possible to find their SSN by subpoena of their W-2 or 1099 forms.  Virtually all income tax related forms will have SSN or EIN identification on them.

There are other ways to acquire the needed identifiers that judgment creditors need for their post-judgment investigation purposes.  The few mentioned here have worked for me on numerous occasions.

Once you have developed a verified Social Security number and other personal identifiers for your judgment debtor it becomes much easier to discover the existence and locations of assets and incomes.  Basically that is the key to finding the means by which your judgment will ultimately get paid.

Good luck in collecting every cent you are owed.

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Affidavit of Substantial Hardship in Judgment Enforcement

There can be certain expenses incurred by a judgment creditor engaged in enforcing a money judgment.  After the final judgment is awarded, there are a number of different collection activities that require a fee to be paid to the clerk of court or some other official.  Honestly, there are times in some people’s lives when financial hardships make it difficult to pay the fees.  That is when it is helpful to know about an Affidavit of Substantial Hardship or other similar documents.  This document is also sometimes referred to as a Pauper’s Affidavit.

When a judgment creditor goes to the courthouse to file for various collection actions, there is normally a monetary cost involved.  Costs vary according to what action is being pursued and also by jurisdiction.  If I want to file documents in order to seize, freeze, levy, garnish, or execute on the income or assets of my judgment debtor, you can bet there will be fees and costs for me to pay to the proper authorities.  If I choose to pursue post judgment discovery such as interrogatories, depositions, request for production of documents, and the like, there will be costs and fees involved.  I guess the situation is sort of like the old saying that sometimes “you have to spend or invest money to make money.”

Whenever a judgment creditor is suffering through times of unusual financial hardship, it doesn’t seem fair to have to pay money to the court or officials just to be able to collect judgment money.  You feel cheated to have to pay money while the judgment debtor hasn’t paid the judgment debt.  It can be frustrating and discouraging.

In these situations, there exists in many states and jurisdictions various means of getting relief from some of these judgment enforcement expenses.  The relief can be found through the utilization of an Affidavit of Substantial Hardship or something similar in nature like a Pauper’s Affidavit.  By signing and filing this affidavit or whatever the local post judgment Rules of Procedure allow, a citizen can claim that paying certain court fees would be an exceptional burden.  Your court may provide a specific form to use for this.  The court will review the affidavit and typically grant a waiver to the judgment creditor for payment of the allowable fees or expenses.  This is a fair and equitable arrangement to assist citizens with obtaining complete justice from their legal adversary.

Anyone who owns an unpaid judgment and is going through particularly difficult financial circumstances would do well to look into this.  It can be a life saver to find out that an inability to pay, will not automatically prohibit a judgment creditor from pursuing collection activities on their judgment.  An Affidavit of Substantial Hardship may be just the ticket needed to open an enforcement door that seemed closed due to personal finances.

Good luck as we go forward to seize, freeze, garnish, levy, and execute to get paid what our judgment debtors owes us.


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Motion for Contempt – Post Judgment Discovery

In the last article we wrote about filing a Motion to Compel Post Judgment Discovery.  This motion is our response to the stubborn refusal of our judgment debtor to comply with our lawful requests for post judgment discovery.  We hope that the granting by the court of our Motion to Compel will sufficiently pressure our judgment debtor to cooperate with our discovery request.  This is often the case, but not always.  Sometimes, even after the court grants a Motion to Compel, a judgment debtor will still stonewall us and refuse to produce the answers or things requested for discovery.  In those instances we take a further aggressive approach by filing a Motion for Contempt with the court.

Our Motion for Contempt is asking the judge to find our judgment debtor in contempt for failure to abide by the court’s previous Order to Compel Post Judgment Discovery.  The Contempt Motion, if granted, will put our debtor in a position of facing harsher penalties as a consequence of the judgment debtor not abiding by the previous order of the court.

What those harsher penalties consist of depends partly on what jurisdictional statutes, rules, and procedures will allow.  It also depends on what kind of contempt in which our debtor is found to be.  The court may find him or her to be in Civil Contempt or possibly even in Criminal Contempt.

A finding of Civil Contempt may result in our debtor being hit hard in the pocket book.  The judge may hit him with fines for being in contempt.  A finding of Civil Contempt may be enough to push the debtor into a willingness to pay the judgment money that is owed to us.

A finding of Criminal Contempt can ultimately put our debtor in a position of being arrested and taken to jail!  Believe me, this will get his attention.  It will also add to the pressure that he is under to just go ahead and pay the judgment debt.  At the very least it should lead to his full cooperation with our Request for Post Judgment Discovery.

If our judgment debtor is found in contempt, he will have brought it all upon his own head.  It will raise the chances exponentially that we will get our money sooner rather than later.

As judgment creditors we have certain laws and rights on our side.  It always behooves us to know how we can use the law to assist us in collecting all of the judgment money we are owed.

Let’s get our money!


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Motion to Compel Post Judgment Discovery

Once a party wins a money judgment, the natural followup is to begin the process which will lead to getting paid all of the judgment money.  The activities that are authorized for gathering information about the judgment debtor and his assets is commonly known as post judgment discovery.  Depending on the court jurisdiction involved, post judgment discovery may include written interrogatories, depositions, request for documents or things to be produced,  or permission to enter upon land or other property for inspection or other purposes.  Many times a judgment debtor will purposely fail to cooperate by ignoring the judgment creditor’s requests for post judgment discovery.  They choose to not answer questions truthfully and thoroughly, or they will neglect to produce the requested documents or items.  This is when it is the creditor’s right to file with the court a Motion to Compel Post Judgment Discovery.

Post Judgment Discovery can be a critical component of a judgment investigation.  It can uncover key information about the judgment debtor’s assets.  This information can be used to seize, freeze, lien, and levy those discovered assets so that the judgment creditor can get paid.

When the judgment creditor needs to have access to the debtor’s answers or documents in order to prepare for execution of his judgment, the debtor is obligated to provide them.  Proper requests for post judgment discovery must also be complied with in a timely fashion.  The refusal to cooperate on the part of the defendant can be dealt with successfully by utilizing the Motion to Compel Post Judgment Discovery.

The Motion to Compel will include an explanation of why the discovery is necessary.  It will also explain how the judgment debtor failed to adequately comply the request for discovery.  The motion will also ask the court to compel the debtor by written court order to present the answers, things, or documents specified in the request for post judgment discovery.

When the judge signs the order granting the Motion to Compel the judgment debtor will possibly respond to the discovery request to the satisfaction of the judgment creditor.  This may then lead to collecting the debt and ultimately the full satisfaction of the judgment.  But…not always.

We will talk about what we do in those instances where a judgment debtor still refuses to cooperate in post judgment discovery even after a Motion to Compel has be granted.  This will be our next post.

Let’s not play around.  Let’s go get what they owe us!


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What Is a Foreign Judgment

What is a foreign judgment?  Does it matter to me what it is?  Is my money judgment a foreign judgment?  Should I be concerned with whether or not my judgment is a foreign judgment?  These are all very good questions.  If my money judgment is indeed a foreign judgment then I need to know that it is one.  I also need to know what effect that may have on pursuing the collection of my judgment money.

First of all, exactly what is a foreign judgment?  In the United States final judgments are rendered in various state and local court jurisdictions.  Each state or court has certain rules and regulations that dictate how I can attempt to enforce or collect my court judgment.  Generally, my rights to employ those rules and regulations will apply to my judgment collection activities within the particular state where my judgment was obtained.  The courts of all other states outside of the state where my judgment was awarded will consider my judgment as a foreign judgment within their jurisdictions.

For the sake of illustration, let’s assume that my judgment was from a court in Michigan.  Let’s also assume that my judgment debtor has relocated himself and his assets to Alabama.  In this case, my Michigan judgment is regarded by Alabama courts as a foreign judgment.  As long as my Michigan judgment exists in the status of a foreign judgment, I cannot use the Alabama laws and rules to pursue collection of my foreign judgment within the state of Alabama.  Basically the result is that I do not have any standing in the eyes of Alabama to seize, freeze, lien, or levy, nor to even accomplish post judgment discovery regarding my relocated judgment debtor and his relocated assets.

Now you know what a foreign judgment is.  In our next article we will explain what I have to do in order to change the status of my foreign judgment so that I can collect my judgment in another state.

I wish you every success in collecting your money!


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Note:  Nothing in this article is intended to provide you with legal advice in any fashion.  If you have questions about your own foreign judgment contact a judgment attorney.


Judgment Investigation, and Best Information Source

When engaging in a judgment investigation there are usually many potential sources of information that can be helpful for getting a judgment collected.  Without a doubt, the most reliable and therefore the most valuable source of information is without a doubt an “original source.”

What is an original source?  An “original source” is the entity that holds or maintains the original record of information.  For example, if I were interested in the telephone records for a certain party, the records maintained by the telephone company would be “original source” records.  If I were seeking original source information about income of an employee, the payroll records of the employer would be “original source” records.

“Original source” information is easily the most trustworthy information available.  It is the source you would seek to access first in a post judgment investigation.  At the very least you would hope to access “original sources” for the purpose of proving or verifying other non-original source material.

Discovering evidence which points to the existence and location of debtor assets requires developing excellent sources of solid information.  Always strive to access records and information that is of the most superior quality whenever possible.

Non-original sources can be helpful.  They may be the only sources you can access at a particular point in your investigtion.  Nevertheless, don’t give up on your goal of acquiring original source information to at least verify and confirm less reliable source info.

Third party vendors of information can assist your judgment investigation.  Just realize that you can’t be as confident of these type of sources.  They are more subject to various errors and omissions.

If you act on inferior information as you attempt to seize assets, you could mistakenly  seize assets that belong to the wrong person or entity.  That could be a costly error.  It is certainly an error that you want to avoid without exception.

Using “original source” information is safer, smarter, and infinitely more effective for the enforcement of you judgment.  Use wisdom in your judgment investigation.


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Nothing in this article is intended to provide legal advice.  Contact a judgment attorney if you seek legal advice.  This article is provided for informational purposes only.

How to Collect My Judgment: Short Outline

If I have won my lawsuit and been awarded a money judgment, how do I collect my judgment?  This is a brief list of steps to give a simple overview of the common procedures.  This article is not a comprehensive tutorial on all of the ins and outs of how to collect my judgment.

  1. The normal first thing to do is determine whether or not the judgment is enforceable.  If the judgment is either void or voidable due to a legal flaw in the case or judgment there is a big problem to start with.  If you check to see whether the judgment has been essentially wiped out in a bankruptcy proceeding you can figure out if bankruptcy will be a roadblock to collecting your judgment.  Most money judgments in most jurisdictions will expire after a certain amount of time, usually 5 to 20 years.  If the judgment is old it is wise to confirm whether or not it has expired.
  2. It is a no-brainer to see the necessity of locating the debtor.
  3. As vital as locating the debtor is identifying and locating his assets.  If you want to know how to collect a judgment you will need to locate assets and determine their status as it relates to possible exemption claims.
  4. Always record your judgment in the property records department in every county where your judgment debtor owns any interest in real estate.  This will usually create a property lien.  Sometimes creating this lien turns out to be the main thing that leads to successfully collecting a judgment.
  5. Utilizing post-judgment discovery methods can be extremely helpful in attempting to enforce my judgment.  Each court and jurisdiction will have its own rules about what discovery methods are allowed.
  6. Finally, with sufficient information about the debtor and his assets it is possible to execute, levy, or garnish those assets.  This is where you actually get paid what the judgment debtor owes you on the judgment.
  7. If these steps don’t lead to a complete payoff of the judgment debt, then it is normal to rinse and repeat these steps.
  8. After the last dollar of the judgment is collected, file a “Satisfaction of Judgment” form with the clerk of the court.

This briefly outlines the common steps you’ll follow as you discover how to collect your judgment.


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