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FAQs on Judgments
How do I appeal a judgment?
Visit our Appeals webpage to learn about the appeals process.
What is the telephone number for the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office?
You can all the Sheriff's Office at (612)348-3800. Visit the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office website for more contact information.
How do I get a copy of a judgment or other documents in a court case?
For a fee ($7 for each name searched), the court will search for a specific name in the civil judgments records. Judgment search requests can be made in person at the Judgments Office, or by submitting a Judgment Record Search Request Form. To get copies of other kinds of court records, please visit the District Court Records Center webpage.
What are the court filing fees?
Please visit our Fees webpage.
How do I collect a civil judgment?
Even if you win a judgment in court, it is not always easy to get paid. The parties can make an agreement about paying the judgment, including making payments or settling on a lower amount to satisfy the judgment. Once the judgment is paid in full or to the creditor's satisfaction, then the creditor completes a Satisfaction of Judgment form. One of the parties files that form with the court so the court records show the judgment was paid. If the creditor does not cooperate in signing a Satisfaction of Judgment form, the debtor can file a Motion to Satisfy Judgment form.
If the debtor does not pay the creditor after the judgment has been docketed in District Court and the time to appeal has expired, the creditor may take steps to "enforce" the judgment. The Court is not a collection agency and cannot help you locate assets of the other party. Garnishment of a debtor's wages or bank accounts may be an option to enforce a judgment, and another option might be to file a lien against real estate owned by the debtor. Talk to a lawyer to get advice on options to collect on a judgment.
Enforcing a judgment may involve additional fees. These fees may be added to the original judgment amount. Steps to begin enforcing the judgment are listed below.
File an Affidavit of Identification with the court.
After filing the Affidavit of Identification, you could ask the court administrator to issue a "Writ of Execution" to garnish wages or bank accounts. The creditor must provide written notice to the debtor of their intent to garnish at least 10 days (or 13 days if notice is served by mail) BEFORE the writ can be served. See sample form Notice of Intent to Garnish Earnings (MN Statutes § 571.925). See also MN Statutes Ch. 571, for more on garnishment laws. Service must be done someone who is at least 18 years old and who is not a party to the case. You can have the sheriff do the service, or someone else, but you must make sure they complete an Affidavit of Service form and that it gets filed with the court.
You then take the "Writ of Execution" to the Sheriff's Office with a list of property, bank accounts, and other funds which belong to the judgment debtor and/or the name of the debtor's employer. Usually there is a fee for the sheriff to process the writ.
If you don't have any information about the debtor's assets, you may file a Request for Order for Disclosure with the court asking that a judge issue an "Order for Disclosure" that requires the debtor to respond to the creditor by completing a Financial Disclosure form listing all "non-exempt" property and financial information within ten (10) days. Some assets are "exempt" from collection, which means they cannot be taken by the sheriff to pay a judgment.
If the debtor fails to respond to the Order for Disclosure within the time allowed, the creditor may file an Affidavit in Support of Order to Show Cause. If the court determines that you meet all of the requirements, it can issue an "Order to Show Cause," which requires the debtor to go to a hearing and explain to the judge why he or she disobeyed the Order for Disclosure. If debtor fails to appear at the hearing, the judge may impose consequences and can issue a "bench warrant" for the debtor's arrest.
Learn more at Debt Collection and Garnishment on LawHelpMN.org.
NOTE: A judgment can be enforced for ten (10) years from the date it was "entered" into the court record. It can also be "renewed" if not satisfied (paid) within the 10 years. To enforce a judgment that was not paid during the 10 year time frame, you have to start a new lawsuit before the end of the 10 year period, based on a claim for failure to pay a judgment . See MN Statutes § 541.04. A lawsuit is started by serving a Summons and Complaint on the judgment debtor. You should talk to a lawyer to get advice on how to prepare the papers and handle the case. Court staff cannot give legal advice.
How can I get a copy of my credit report? Is there a way to fix an error on a report
This Legal Fact Sheet on Credit Reports explains how to get a copy of your credit report and correct errors that may appear on it. It also includes contact information on credit bureaus and a sample copy request form.
Learn more at Credit and Credit Reports on LawHelpMN.org.
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