If I won a small claims case but the defendant won’t pay me and has moved, how can I collect my settlement when I am unable to find him?

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If I won a small claims case but the defendant won’t pay me and has moved, how can I collect my settlement when I am unable to find him?

Asked on December 31, 2014 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can't collect your judgment unless you can find him--all the mechanisms for  collection (e.g. wage garnishment, levying on a bank account, executing on property, or putting a lien on real estate) rely on being able to find the defendant, his assets, his job, etc. Of course, even if you find him, you may not be able to collect if he doesn't have much income (or if his income is cash-based, and so hard to find) or many assets.


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