If a borrower fails to repay the money owed to you, it can put your financial security at risk. You might also feel helpless and frustrated, especially if they ignore your attempts to collect on the debt. Though you want to be repaid as soon as possible, you’re unsure how or where to turn. Fortunately, Virginia has laws regarding the debt collection process to protect businesses and individuals from the frustration of being unable to collect on the debt owed to them.
At PJI Law, PLC, our collections attorney team is here to help you collect an unpaid debt. In this blog post, we’ll summarize the debt collection process and the steps we can take to get your borrowed money back legally. If you have specific questions about the process, contact us at (703) 865-6100 to receive personalized service and attention.
Debt Collection Process
When you meet with one of our collections litigation lawyers to discuss your case, you might be surprised to learn that the first step we will take on your behalf is not filing a lawsuit. There are other steps we can take first to allow your debtor to repay their past-due debts. However, we are fully prepared to file a lawsuit against the debtor if they refuse to cooperate.
Our firm can send the debtor a letter containing details about the debt and proposing a repayment timeline. This demand letter complies with all applicable state and federal debt collection laws. If the debtor agrees, we will negotiate with them regarding repayment.
File a Lawsuit
If the debtor ignores the demand letter or is unwilling to cooperate, we will seek your permission to file a lawsuit against the debtor.
Once we obtain a judgment on your behalf, the judgment debtor will have 10 days to file a notice of appeal. If they do not appeal the judgment, we can take advantage of the following post-judgment enforcement actions if the judgment debtor does not voluntarily pay the judgment at this point.
To locate the judgment debtor’s assets, we can file Debtor Interrogatories to summon the judgment debtor to appear before the Court to answer questions regarding their assets or compel them to turn over money or other property to satisfy the debt. If the judgment debtor refuses to appear or answer questions, they may be held in contempt of court.
Bank and Wage Garnishments
Bank and wage garnishments are often the most effective collection tools against a judgment debtor who has ignored all efforts at a voluntary resolution of a judgment. To start the process of garnishing the judgment debtor’s bank account and wages, our collections litigation attorneys will prepare a Suggestion for Summons in Garnishment form and file it with the Clerk of Court. Next, the Clerk will serve the judgment debtor’s bank and employer with a Garnishment Summons.
In Virginia, all unprotected funds in the judgment debtor’s bank account can be seized, and the account frozen to take any future deposits made during the garnishment period.
Wages can be garnished for the lesser of 25% of the judgment debtor’s disposable earnings or the amount by which their disposable earnings exceed 40 times the federal minimum hourly wage. Garnishments may be refiled every 180 days until the debt is paid in full. If you decide to go this route, we can discuss the garnishment process in greater detail.
In Virginia, a judgment lien can only be attached to real estate, not personal property. Real estate includes the debtor’s house, condo, land, or similar kind of property interest. To attach the lien, our attorneys record the judgment on the county recorder’s lien docket in any Virginia county where the debtor owns the property now or may own property in the future.
Once 21 days after the entry of judgment has passed, you can request that the Court issue a writ of fieri facias. The writ will be forwarded to the sheriff authorizing them to go to the judgment debtor’s residence and levy (inventory) property owned by the judgment debtor, which can be later sold at public auction to recover the debt.
The writ of fieri facias is good for 90 days from the date of issuance, meaning the sheriff has 90 days to execute the process. The levy can also have the excellent effect of prompting settlement negotiations or a payment plan with the judgment debtor.
How Long is the Judgment Period?
The judgment you obtained is good for 10 years from the date of judgment. However, you can extend the collection period for another 10 years twice, meaning you have up to 30 years to collect the money for the judgment from the judgment debtor.
The Goal of the Debt Collection Process
Through this debt collection process, our goal is to facilitate repayment in the easiest way possible by giving the judgment debtor many opportunities along the way to repay their debt. However, we will not hesitate to take any steps necessary so you can legally get your money back.
Contact Northern Virginia Collection Attorneys to Legally Get Your Money Back
When someone fails to repay the money borrowed from you or otherwise owed to you, it can be a frustrating and stressful time. Fortunately, as collections litigation lawyers, there are many steps we can take on your behalf to recover money owed to you.
At PJI Law, PLC, each client receives our complete dedication, personal attention, and courteous, white-glove service. Call our office at (703) 865-6100 or complete our online form to schedule your consultation to learn how our Fairfax, Virginia, collections legal team can help you get the debt collection process started to get your money back.
Copyright © 2023. PJI Law, PLC. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.