After you have a judgment against a debtor, and the court has ordered the debtor to answer your questions about his or her finances, what happens next?
If the debtor answers your questions, you can garnish non-exempt wages or bank accounts or attach to certain property. If the debtor simply ignores you, you do have some avenue of recourse.
You can inform the court, through an Affidavit in Support of Order to Show Cause, of the debtor’s noncompliance and ask the court to require the debtor to appear in court and tell the court why the debtor failed to respond to your questions.
The court will set a show cause hearing. You must be able to have someone serve the debtor with the court’s order and sign an affidavit to this effect.
- If the debtor appears, the court will question the debtor about his or her failure, and the debtor will probably leave with much more incentive to comply than before.
- A court could fine the debtor or put the debtor in jail for his or her failure to respond, but more likely the court will simply once again order the debtor to answer, with stern warnings against noncompliance.
What if the Debtor Also Ignores the Court?
But what if the debtor just ignores the Show Cause hearing and doesn’t appear for that either?
If the debtor does not appear at the show cause hearing, you may ask for an arrest warrant for the debtor.
The court will see that there is an affidavit swearing that the debtor was served with the court’s order to appear for the Show Cause hearing, and therefore was clearly aware of the hearing but chose not to appear. This is yet again a violation of a court order.
If the debtor fails to appear for the show cause hearing, you may request the debtor be arrested. In order to do so, you will need to file an Affidavit in Support of Issuance of Bench Warrant.
In Hennepin County, Minnesota, you can find a form for this here.
You will need to fill out the caption at the top. You will also need to fill out the name of the debtor, the date and time of the Show Cause hearing for which the debtor did not appear, the date and time the debtor was served with the Order to Show Cause, and the name of the person for whom you are seeking a warrant (the name of the debtor).
This form will need to be signed and notarized and then filed with the court.
The court will then issue a bench warrant for the debtor.