Civil Litigation

Collections

Judgments

In law, a judgment is the formal decision made by an Indiana court following a lawsuit. At the same time the court may also make a range of court orders, such as imposing a sentence upon a guilty defendant in a criminal matter, or providing a remedy for the plaintiff in a civil matter. This is the first step in an Indiana civil or collection suit.

In the United States, under the rules of civil procedure governing practice in federal courts and most state courts, the entry of judgment is the final order entered by the court in the case, leaving no further action to be taken by the court with respect to the issues contested by the parties to the lawsuit. With certain exceptions, only a final judgment is subject to appeal.

In some legal systems (particularly civil law jurisdictions), a judgment is not considered final until after appeals have been exhausted or waived. (Wikipedia) Call an Indiana Civil Disputes/Collections attorney today at Duepner Law to see if you can obtain a judgement against someone who rightfully owes you money.

Collecting on Judgments (Proceeding Supplemental)

Once you have obtained a civil judgment, the person who the judgment is against now is in legal possession of your assets. Often the judgment debtor will just pay off the judgment by way of check but is not always the case. Often the judgment debtor does not have the funds to pay you in full and or is attempting not to pay you. In this case a proceeding supplemental must be filed. A proceeding supplemental is a hearing in which the judgment debtor appears and you are able to question them about where they work and what types of assets they possess. Once you are armed with this information you may determine what course of action you would like to take. Some of the options are listed below.

What if the judgment debtor doesn’t show? If you have properly served the person or company, then another hearing called a rule to show cause must be held. If they fail to appear at that hearing then body attachment may be issued. A body attachment acts like an arrest warrant. The judgment debtor will be arrested and brought to court to answer the questions about his or her assets. These hearings and procedures can be quite complicated. If you want to ensure your money is being pursed to the best outcome contact an Indiana Civil Disputes/Collections attorney at Duepner law for help. There are experience debtors that know the system that is why you should have an experienced Indiana collections attorney on your side.

Indiana Wage Garnishments

Garnishment is a process by which creditors take a part of your income from your paycheck in order to collect a debt previously ordered by a court. This process occurs when your employer is ordered to take a portion of your income and submit it to the court which will ultimately be then paid over to the creditor. This most likely will occur in a subsequent hearing called a proceeding supplemental. An Indiana Civil Disputes/Collections attorney at Duepner Law can assist you with obtaining a wage garnishment or assist you in preventing it.

Certain types of income can be exempt in Indiana such as;

  • Social Security,
  • Veterans benefits,
  • Child support,
  • Military benefits
  • Pension benefits

You must claim these in order to procure the exemption. Tell your Indiana Civil Disputes/Collections attorney about any exemptions you feel you may be entitled so you don’t lose them.

How Much can be garnished in Indiana is formula based.

This figure is based on 30 times the Federal minimum wage (30 x $7.25) and will change if the Federal minimum wage changes. If your weekly take-home pay is more than $217.50 per week, there are two formulas to determine how much of your check can be garnished. The amount will be the lesser of:

  1.  25% of one week’s take-home earnings exceeding 217.50; or
  2.  The total amount by which a week’s take-home earnings is more than $217.50 (30 x minimum wage).

For example, if your take-home pay is $500 the court could garnish the lesser of: 25% x $500 = $125.00 or the other option is $500 – $217.50 = $282.50 the court could order up to $125.00 to be garnished from your weekly check since it is the lesser of the two. Multiple creditors can garnish but only to the extent the formula will allow so in the example above two creditors could have wage garnishments for 50.00 and 75.00 respectively but if one creditor has a wage garnishment for 125.00 then the next creditor must wait in line until that judgment is satisfied.

In a wage garnishment your employer typically withdraws money from your check and sends it to the court. You cannot be fired for having a garnishment but your employer may charge a fee. If you wish to not have your employer involved contact the attorney of record and they may allow you to make payments. Some creditors may negoatie a lump sum payment to satisfy the debt in its entirety. Make sure you sign proper documentation such as a release.

Bank or asset freezes

A creditor may also freeze your bank account. To freeze the account, a creditor needs to know where you bank. This can be obtained by filing interrogatories to different banks which they are ordered by the court to answer. Once the creditor has this information they may ask the court to levy the amount in your account to satisfy the judgment. A hold or freeze maybe put on your account for up to 90 days. Again certain assets are exempt such as $300 from a checking, savings, CD, or stock account. Contact an Indiana Civil Disputes/Collections Attorney at Duepner Law for help with and bank freeze issues.

Liens on personal property or real estate

If you have lost a judgment to a creditor in Indiana, the creditor may try to enforce the judgment by taking your personal property or real estate. There are however many exemptions which means the law protects the exempt portion from seizure and your property maybe safe. See below

Indiana Real Estate Exemptions:

Owner Occupied Residence-( you live here, Property or land that you own but don’t live on is considered personal property mentioned below.)

$15,000 per owner of your residence, married couple up to $30,000 in the residence. This value is calculated by the market value of the property minus the mortage balance owed. So if you have a judgment for $100,000 and your home value is $200,000 with a mortgage balance of 186,000 then your real estate is exempt from a judicial foreclosure. Once your Mortgage balance decreases passed $185,000 then the lien maybe enforced. If real estate is owned jointly be a married couple it is referred to as owned by tenants by the entirety and if a debt is owed by one spouse and not the other then a lien may not be put on that jointly owned real estate. However if a debt is owed by both husband and wife then the lien can be enforced according to the exemption amount of $30,000.

Indiana Personal Property Exemptions for garnishment:

Personal property such as clothing, appliances, automobiles, coin collections, paintings, furniture, and non-residential real estate, is exempt up to $8,000 per person. If any of these items have loans attached take the value minus the loan to get a total. If it is less than $8000 per person then it is exempt. The $8000.00 is not per item, it is a aggregate of all your personal items.

Special Exemptions:

  • Usually retirement or life insurance accounts
  • Health accounts

Contract Disputes

Breach of Contract

There are numerous reasons contracts are breached. Whether the contract was not drafted correctly or one party has not lived up to there end of the bargain. At Duepner Law we can negotiate or litigate many different types of contracts and work to a resolution that is in the best interest of our clients.

Our Indiana Civil Disputes/Collections attorneys handle civil and collection cases in Noblesville, Fishers, Carmel, Zionsville, Westfield, Indianapolis, Greenwood, and all of Central Indiana including Marion County, Hamilton county, Hancock County, Boone County, Tipton County, Madison County, Hendricks County, Morgan County, and Johnson County.