Judgments do not collect themselves. Experienced collection attorneys have many options to enforce judgments. If the client can supply a bank account or employment information for the debtor, then the attorney can immediately proceed with a levy or wage execution. If not, the New Jersey court rules provide a simple method to try to obtain that information: the information subpoena.
An information subpoena is a series of written questions about the judgment debtor’s assets, income and finances which can be prepared by the attorney and served on the defendant by regular and certified mail. If the defendant does not respond in a timely manner, then the collection attorney may file a motion in aid of litigants rights with the court. Such a motion will result in a court order giving the defendant some additional limited time to answer the information subpoena, and failing that, to allow the judgment creditor to seek a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
If the defendant still does not comply with the information subpoena after being served with the order in aid of litigants rights, then the plaintiff may apply for the arrest warrant. This requires the collection attorney to submit a certification and form of warrant to the court. The court will then issue the warrant.
The next step in the process is for the creditor’s attorney to provide the arrest warrant to the sheriff in the county where the defendant resides, to arrest the defendant and bring the defendant to the courthouse or sheriffs office to complete the information subpoena. The sheriffs officer may give the defendant the option of filling out the subpoena before taking the defendant into custody.
Finally the completed and signed information subpoena is sent to the creditor’s attorney for review for completeness. The attorney would then use the information provided to attempt to collect the judgment. Information subpoenas are an inexpensive way of gathering information to enforce judgments.
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