Collecting Money From a Small Claims Judgment

wooden gavel laying on money

How much can I collect?

You can collect the amount stated in your judgment (form DC 85) plus any interest that accumulates during the time the other party pays off the judgment.

How can I collect my money?

  1. If the other party has the money and is present at the trial, they can pay you right then.
  2. If they do not have the money at that time and you both agree at the trial, the judge can set up a payment schedule. If the defendant is not present at the trial, the court will send a copy of the small claims judgment to the defendant. The judgment will order the defendant to pay you in full within 21 days or tell you and the court where he/she works and the location of his/her bank accounts on form DC 87, Affidavit of Judgment Debtor.
  3. If the defendant doesn’t pay the judgment as ordered, you will have to collect your money through an execution against property or a garnishment.

Once you complete the request, you must file it with the district court that entered your small claims judgment. The filing fee is $15.00. The court will issue the writ by signing the form. The request and writ must be served on the garnishee along with form MC14, garnishee disclosure. If the garnishment is for periodic payments, include a $6.00 disclosure fee with the forms.

When do I get my money from the garnishment?

The garnishee has 14 days after the writ is served to let you, the court, and the defendant know if any money is available for garnishment. This information must be provided on the garnishee disclosure. If you are trying to garnish wages, you will only receive part of the wages based on a federal formula. If there are no objections from the defendant, the withheld money will be automatically sent to you after 28 days. If the garnishment is for periodic payments, money will continue to be sent to you as payments become due to the defendant until the writ expires.

For more information see: Garnishment Self-Help

Legal content verified by 8th District Court, January 2005

This legal information is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. You should talk with an attorney if you have any questions about how this information applies to your own problem or facts.