En­forc­ing court or­ders for pay­ment



You will need proof they owe money to your debtor be­fore the court will make an or­der. If there is suf­fi­cient to pay your en­tire judg­ment, this or­der means the debt owed to you is paid and the debtor can­not use that money to pay other debts be­fore you.

At­tach­ment or­ders are use­ful when a debtor is as­set poor but has in­come. In­come is not lim­ited to wages – it can in­clude any rent or reg­u­lar source of in­com­ing money such as a ben­e­fit or ACC pay­ments.

An at­tach­ment or­der at­taches to a source of in­come and makes au­to­matic de­duc­tions from it and pays those to you. The em­ployer or other party is re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing the pay­ments and is li­able if they fail to pay you the amount or­dered.

Sale or­ders are use­ful where a debtor is cash poor but as­set rich. You can ob­tain or­ders to sell per­sonal prop­erty or real es­tate owned by the debtor. You need to make ap­pli­ca­tion to the court for the bailiff or sher­iff to seize the debtor’s prop­erty.

Once seized, the prop­erty is sold and the pro­ceeds used to cover the court ex­penses of sale and your debt. This is very ef­fec­tive in get­ting pay­ment. Of­ten just the threat of hav­ing a ve­hi­cle seized is enough to get the judg­ment paid.

Bank­ruptcy is an­other op­tion to con­sider if the judg­ment is more than $1000. The debtor’s as­sets can be seized, sold and used to re­pay cred­i­tors. In­come over ba­sic liv­ing costs will also go to cred­i­tors.

Se­cured cred­i­tors take pri­or­ity over un­se­cured cred­i­tors (a judg­ment is not a se­cured debt, but a mort­gage is).

Un­se­cured cred­i­tors share the pro­ceeds, so just be­cause you ini­ti­ate the bank­ruptcy does not give you pri­or­ity.

As with any­thing debt-re­lated, the key is to act quickly.

Once you have ob­tained a judg­ment, the debtor should be con­tacted to re­quire pay­ment im­me­di­ately. If pay­ment is not re­ceived, you need to take ac­tion. DE­TAILS Col­umn cour­tesy of Rainey Collins Lawyers, phone 0800 733 484 or rain­ey­collins.co.nz. If you have a le­gal in­quiry, email aknowsley@rain­ey­collins.co.nz. Our next free pub­lic sem­i­nar for first-home buy­ers will be on Fe­bru­ary 18, noon till 1.15pm. See our web­site.

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