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Post-Judgment Interrogatories

Purpose

A judgment is a finding by the court that one party has a legal obligation to pay the other party a specified amount of money. It may not be redeemed with the clerk of court for money nor is it a court order to pay the amount by a certain date. The judgment gives you certain rights to collect that money from the other side using the assistance of the courts. Many "pro se" litigants, lay persons, have the mistaken belief that "the court" will collect any judgment that may be entered on their behalf. That belief is inaccurate.

Post judgment collection is the responsibility of the judgment creditor. Post-Judgment Interrogatories allow the prevailing party is to ascertain what assets, if any, the judgment debtor has to satisfy the judgment debt.

The following is a general summary of the process. Please seek legal advice if you have specific questions on various judicial and non-judicial remedies that a judgment creditor may employ to collect the monies awarded to them in a civil case.

Jurisdiction

The Magistrate Court has the authority to enforce a response to post-judgment interrogatories with its contempt powers.

Filing

If the judgment for which the interrogatories are being submitted was issued by magistrate court, the judgment creditor may, after entry of judgment in the magistrate court, file the interrogatories specified in O.C.G.A. 15-10-50(d) with the same magistrate court with advance costs of $10.00. These interrogatories must be served on the judgment debtor by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery.

Interrogatories filed pursuant to a judgment entered in any other court must be filed as a new civil action and served upon the judgment debtor like process in any other civil in the magistrate court. Interrogatories filed in this manner must be accompanied by the filing and service fees required in Magistrate Court for other civil actions.

Procedure

  1. Plaintiff files the Post Judgment Interrogatories in the Clerk's Office of the Fulton County Magistrate Court. The cost varies according to when the interrogatories are filed.

  2. If the Interrogatories are not answered within 30 days from the date of service, the judgment creditor may file a Motion to Compel Answers to Post Judgment Interrogatories together with a notice of hearing. Rule Nisi and Order to Answer. This is served upon the judgment debtor by the clerk's office by certified mail, return receipt requested.

  3. If the judgment debtor fails to appear at the hearing or appears without a valid legal reason for failing to answer the Interrogatories, the court may, in appropriate circumstances, issue an Order requiring the judgment debtor answer the Interrogatories within 10 days. This is served upon the judgment debtor by certified mail, return receipt requested.

  4. If there is no response to the Court Order requiring answers to the Interrogatories, then the judgment creditor must file a Motion to Incarcerate Judgment Debtor / Corporate Officer for Failing to Comply with Order Compelling Answers to Post Judgment Interrogatories with the appropriate notice. These documents must be personally served upon the debtor /corporate officer. A copy of the previous order is served upon the judgment debtor as well.

  5. If the judgment debtor / corporate officer fails to appear at the hearing, or in the event he/she does appear and does not have a bona fide reason for not answering the Interrogatories, then the Court may enter an Order for Incarceration for Contempt of Court. The judgment debtor is then arrested by the sheriff and held in the Fulton County Jail until the Interrogatories are answered and approved by the Magistrate.

The Questions

Once a party has obtained a judgment, the party may request the issuance of post-judgment interrogatories, which will require the defendant to answer the seven statutory questions (listed below) for the purpose of aiding in collection of the judgment:

  1. List your full name, telephone number, and address, including apartment number and ZIP code.

  2. List the name, address and telephone number of your employer(s).

  3. Describe and state the location of each piece of real estate in which you own any interest.

  4. Give the names and addresses, and a description of the nature of any business venture in which you own any interest.

  5. List the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all persons who owe money to you and specify amounts owed.

  6. List the names and addresses of all banks or savings institutions where you have any sums of money deposited and identify the accounts by number.

  7. List and give the present location of all items of personal property owned by you that have a value of more than $100.00.

This is an overview of the various procedures available to you. You should consult legal counsel if you have difficulties in collecting the judgment lawfully.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • Why do I need to use Post-Judgment Interrogatories?
    If you have received a judgment and do not know what assets the debtor may have, you may file Post-Judgment Interrogatories. These statutory questions help you locate assets.

    Many "pro se" litigants, lay persons, have the mistaken belief that "the court" will collect any judgment that may be entered in their behalf. That belief is inaccurate. Courts could not legally fulfill their constitutional duty of impartiality in all proceedings if a court was to act as an agent on behalf of any party, including post judgment collection proceedings.

    Post judgment collection is the responsibility of the judgment creditor. MAG 14-01 gives an outline various judicial and non-judicial remedies that a judgment creditor may employ to collect the monies awarded to them in a civil case.
  • What statutes tell how to make post-judgment Interrogatories?
    O.C.G.A. 15-10-50. Propounding of interrogatories to judgment debtor; form; contempt; authorized discovery procedures.

    • (a) In aid of any judgment or execution issued by any court in this state upon which the unpaid balance does not exceed the jurisdictional amount for civil claims in magistrate court as provided in paragraph (5) of Code Section 15-10-2, the judgment creditor or his successor in interest when that interest appears of record, may, in addition to any other process or remedy provided by law, examine the judgment debtor by propounding the interrogatories specified in this Code section in the manner provided in this Code section.
    • (b) If the judgment or execution concerning which interrogatories are being propounded was issued by the magistrate court the judgment creditor may, after the entry of judgment, file the form interrogatories specified in this Code section with the clerk of the same magistrate court, along with costs of $10.00. Interrogatories filed under this subsection shall be served upon the judgment debtor by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery.
    • (c) Interrogatories propounded pursuant to a judgment entered in any other court shall be filed as a new civil action and shall be accompanied by the filing and service fees required for civil actions in that magistrate court. Interrogatories propounded under this subsection shall be served upon the judgment debtor in the manner provided for service of process in civil actions in magistrate court. ....
    • (e) The court in its discretion may limit the number of times interrogatories may be propounded upon a judgment debtor, may relieve a judgment debtor of the obligation to answer one or more propounded interrogatories, and may for good cause shown enlarge the time for answering any interrogatory. The court may if necessary compel the answering of interrogatories, but the sanction of contempt shall be applied only after notice and an opportunity for hearing and a showing of willful failure to answer or willful failure to answer fully and truthfully.
    • (f) An evasive or incomplete answer to an interrogatory shall be treated as a failure to answer.
    • (g) Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 15-10-42, the judgment creditor or a successor in interest when that interest appears of record may, in addition to any other process or remedy provided by law, utilize the discovery provisions set forth in Code Section 9-11-69.

    O.C.G.A. 9-11-69. Execution; discovery in aid thereof.

    Process to enforce a judgment for the payment of money shall be a writ of execution unless the court directs otherwise. In aid of the judgment or execution, the judgment creditor, or his successor in interest when that interest appears of record, may do any or all of the following:

    1. Examine any person, including the judgment debtor by taking depositions or propounding interrogatories.
    2. Compel the production of documents or things.
    3. Upon a showing of reasonable necessity, obtain permission from a court of competent jurisdiction to enter upon that part of real property belonging to or lawfully occupied by the debtor which is not used as a residence and which property is not bona fide in the lawful possession of another; in the manner provided in this chapter for such discovery measures prior to judgment.