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What is a Judgment Recovery Specialist?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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A judgment recovery specialist is a person who specializes in collecting legal damages after a court has issued an order to pay. The court issues the order but takes no responsibility for enforcement, leaving it up to the plaintiff in a case to collect the money. This can be a challenge and some people may prefer to turn to someone who specializes in this profession to get the money. In some regions, it may be necessary to have a license to work in this field.

The judgment recovery specialist has access to a number of tools for locating creditors and forcing them to pay. These experts can search legal databases for address changes and changes of employment for the purpose of tracking someone down, and may take actions like filing liens against property and taking debtors to court to recover the money, along with any interest. While individual creditors can do this as well, the judgment recovery specialist has the advantage of experience in this area and familiarity with all the options for recovering debt.

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Usually the creditor assigns an interest in the debt to the judgment recovery specialist. Some firms may pay up front, allowing people to convert a court order for payment into cash, turning the specialist into the new creditor. In other cases, the firm takes it on a pay-later basis, agreeing to turn over part of the funds recovered if it is successful. Individuals working as freelance judgment recovery specialists are often reluctant to pay up front because they want to keep costs low.

In addition to tracking down debtors, this work can also include looking for creditors. People may monitor a court's records for outstanding judgments and approach people who have not been able to recover funds from their debtors. Depending on jurisdiction, the judgment may stand for as long as 10 years and creditors may be willing to turn over their interest to resolve the matter after several years of failing to collect.

When people meet with a judgment recovery specialist, it is advisable to review the terms of the contract carefully. Once people assign their interest in a debt to another party, the process is not reversible. People should consider what may happen if the specialist only recovers part of the money and should also determine the percentage of the judgment, including interest, that the specialist will retain. It may be a good idea to make one last try to collect the money before turning the debt over.

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