It all comes down to this: The only way to get the debtor’s attention in debt collection matters is to be the number one item on the debtor’s agenda.
How do you accomplish this? As we’ve said before, you must be the squeaky wheel that won’t go away. If showing your commitment by employing Post-judgment written discovery doesn’t do the trick, the next step might. The Post-judgment deposition is where many debt settlements often occur.
As you can guess, a deposition can be a critical strategic moment in applying pressure and pursuing important, written financial records that the debtor would prefer you not have. The list of documents you can obtain from a debtor is virtually endless, but here are some examples of what we typically request:
- All income tax returns filed by the defendant for the previous four (4) years.
- All documents that constitute or refer in any way, directly or indirectly, to any records of salaries, commissions, bonuses, income from employment allowances, expenses or any other sums of money paid to the defendant OR by the defendant within the past four (4) years.
- All documents that constitutes or refers in any way, directly or indirectly, to shares of stocks owned by the defendant or in which the defendant claims an interest.
- All check stubs, cancelled checks and bank statements for the previous two (2) years for accounts in which the defendant claims an interest.
Putting the burden to produce documents on the debtor sends a message that you mean business. Plus, if the debtor will not produce the documents requested, the defendant could be in contempt of court.
And, your efforts shouldn’t stop there. We don’t usually just depose the judgment debtor. You can also insist on deposing all of the people who might have some knowledge of the debtor’s assets or business methods. This list might include a spouse, girlfriend (or in once case the spouse AND the girlfriend), business partner, mother, children or employer.
Said another way, anyone who might have relevant information about the debtor’s assets is fair game.
Sound like a lot of work? Consider how the debtor – and his associates – who have to produce all these documents feel.
Remember, you have time on your side and persistence is your best friend. A Texas judgment is valid for ten years from the date it’s signed by the judge, and there are ways to virtually keep a judgment alive indefinitely.
Collecting Judgments in Texas is a multipart series offered by attorney Darrell W. Cook. Mr. Cook is one of the foremost experts in Texas on maximizing wealth through the efficient collection of outstanding debts. He’s particularly expert in the art and science of collecting money owed following the issuance of a legally enforceable court judgment.