Congratulations, you have gotten a judgment from the court! Now you need to enforce it.
First, you might want to read some general background on collecting judgments. There is a chapter on collecting your money judgment in Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court published by Nolo Press, a reputable California self-help legal publisher. Check with your county public library to borrow a copy or contact a law library near you to find out if they have this title or a similar title.
Also, take a look at the booklet Post-Judgment Collection: How to Collect Your Judgment in the District Court of Maryland from the Maryland District Court on the options on how to collect your money. This publication clearly describes the steps you need to take.
Wage Garnishment. You may need to try to garnish the wages of the person who owes you money. The Maryland District Court Brochure on Wage Garnishment offers “how-to” help on the topic.
Illegal Debt Collection. Under Maryland law, even if you are owed money, you are not allowed to act illegally to collect the debt owed to you.
When should you collect your judgment? In general, you should try to collect the judgment as soon as possible. As time goes by, it may be harder to keep track of the person who owes you money.
1. Wait until the appeal period is over. If you received a judgment in small claims court, you should wait at least 30 days until the appeal period has passed. Check with the court clerk to see if an appeal has been filed. Under Maryland Rule 3-534 the defendant has 10 days to make a motion to amend the judgment. Under Maryland Rule 7-104 the Defendant has 30 days to make an appeal.
2. Act before the time limit on collecting a judgment expires. You have 12 years to collect your judgment. However, you can renew the judgment by contacting the court again. You must renew it before the judgment expires. Read the Rules: Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, Section 5-102(a)(3) , Maryland Rule 3-625
Judgments are satisfied when money is paid to the plaintiff. When the defendant pays the amount owed to the plaintiff, the plaintiff has to give the defendant, and file with the clerk, a written statement that the judgment has been satisfied. Read the Rule: Maryland Rule 3-626
Edits by Regina Strait, Esq.