Many times even when your rights are vindicated in court and you get a judgment—the trouble is enforcing that judgment and getting paid. I was recently contacted by a friend who won a small claims case. When she walked out of court a winner, she felt like Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Six months later she still hadn’t collected a dime. She didn’t know what to do. She asked the defendant to pay her before the suit, she asked him to pay her doing the suit, and now she was asking him to pay her on the judgment. What is a girl to do? She represented herself very well in small claims, but sometimes you need a lawyer (and one who knows what he or she is doing).
Just like my friend with a small claims judgment, many people with family law orders for spousal or child support are owed thousands of dollars and don’t know what to do about it. Asking nicely doesn’t seem to do the trick. A writ of execution is just the thing. A writ of execution is a court order to put in force a judgment obtained in court. After you get a writ, you get the Sheriff or Marshal (like our Ventura County Sheriff’s Department) to execute on that writ. Basically you file a bunch of paperwork and the police garnish wages, suck money right out of bank accounts, or confiscate property and auction it off. Sometimes people are really talented at living “off the grid” and staying judgment-proof. But, if they can be found and if it can be levied—we’ll get it done.