When a person is owed money by another person or entity, he or she may need to file a lawsuit in court in order to secure a judgment against the debtor. Although an attorney is not required to file a lawsuit, many people hire a judgment attorney to help with the lawsuit and any post-judgment proceedings required to collect the judgment. A judgment attorney will help prepare the proper documents for filing the lawsuit, represent the party in court, and also assist with any legal proceedings necessary after the judgment has been entered to collect.
In order to initiate a lawsuit for money owed, the plaintiff, or person to whom the money is owed, must file a complaint in the appropriate court. A summons must also be filed, which is served on the defendant to let him or her know that the lawsuit has been filed and when to appear in court. When the services of a judgment attorney are used, he or she will prepare the documents needed to begin the lawsuit and make sure they are filed appropriately.
In some cases, the defendant will file an answer with the court denying the allegations contained in the complaint. When that happens, a judgment attorney will engage in discovery with the defendant. Discovery is the legal process by which each side to a lawsuit requests documents or answers to questions, known as interrogatories in legal terms, from the other side that are relevant to the lawsuit. Answers to interrogatories or documents which are produced during the discovery process may be used at trial if the case proceeds to trial.
As a rule, a judgment attorney will attempt to negotiate with the defendant to reach an amicable settlement without the need to go to trial. If an agreement is reached, then the parties will submit an agreed judgment to the court and the court will enter the judgment into the court record. If, however, a trial becomes inevitable, a judgment attorney will represent his or her client at trial. At trial, the attorney will present the evidence available to the judge or jury in an effort to secure a judgment against the defendant.
Once a judgment has been entered into the court record, either through agreement or pursuant to a trial, the plaintiff must still collect the money which is now legally owed to him or her. In most courts, there are a variety of post-judgment remedies available to the plaintiff, such as requesting a wage or bank garnishment, or execution on property owned by the defendant. If necessary, a judgment attorney will summons the defendant back into court to request that the court order one of the available post-judgment remedies in order to satisfy the judgment.