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Pre-Judgment Claims in Georgia: What You Need To Know

Pre-judgment claims are also known as pre-judgment writs of attachment. These claims allow creditors to place what’s known as a security interest on the personal property of a debtor. Basically, this is a court order to “attach” or seize an asset.  The most common use of pre-judgment claims in the United States is to protect the creditor.

Secure Property at the Beginning of the Court Process

A significant concern when collecting debt is whether or not the debtor has the assets available to pay a money judgment. Another consideration is whether or not these funds will be available once the court orders a decision for the creditor.   When beginning a trial, a big fear is that the debtor may sell off assets such as real estate, vehicles, and other property.  In addition to selling off property, the debtor may empty bank accounts. They do this to make it appear they have fewer assets available.

This writ of attachment allows the creditor to secure property at the beginning of a lengthy court proceeding. This ensures that the debtor cannot misrepresent their ability to repay. In this way, the creditor knows that if the court rules in their favor, the debtor has the assets available to pay the creditor.

Many court cases take several months to resolve. Some last up to 12 months or more after filing the lawsuit.  This type of security interest or “attachment” gives the debtor a significant incentive to resolve their debts and secure the creditor’s interest.   Note that courts do not always grant pre-judgments. The ability to obtain a pre-judgment depends on several factors. Some factors include the nature of the legal claim and your individual state’s laws. A pre-judgment is provisional and must be obtained before an actual judgment is made and before the trial begins.

How to File Pre-Judgment Claims

To get pre-judgment claims, you must file a claim stating a breach of contract.  The claim should show that someone (the debtor) did not repay as they promised (contracted).  In this claim, you will have to prove that a breach of contract occurred.

Once the court grants pre-judgment claims, the court issues an order to a local law enforcement officer, sheriff, or agency. This party will seize property that the courts can use to satisfy the debt.  In the United States, a creditor representative will attend the officer. He will assist with identifying property to be seized. In addition, they will answer questions the debtor may have.

Local law enforcement agencies generally hold any seized property in trust.  When this occurs, the courts expect the creditor to provide up-front reimbursement for storing the property.  Sometimes, the court will name the creditor as the custodian rather than allowing local law enforcement to store the seized property.  In these cases, the creditor must prove they have secured adequate, pre-paid storage of the assets.

Let Howe & Associates Help You Collect

If your lawyer is considering pre-judgment claims, they likely want to ensure that you will receive assets the court awards.  This can be a very technical and procedural motion. Your lawyer can help keep you informed on the status and the nature of the documents filed throughout the case. Get help from one of our professional attorneys at Howe & Associates when going through the process of pre-judgment claims.