Attempting to collect a debt can be difficult, even when you already have a court order showing that the debt is owed to you. Not every debtor will pay a debt simply because a court has ruled he or she owes it.
Seek Court Intervention
When debtor’s won’t simply pay up, you may need to seek court intervention in order to find out what assets or money the debtor has.
You can do this by filing a Request for Order of Disclosure with the court. In Minnesota the main court website has a simple form you can complete to do this.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has approved a standard Financial Disclosure Form that can be found on the same website, and you can request the court order the debtor to complete the form and return it to you.
What to Do When the Debtor Also Ignores the Court
If a debtor ignores a judgment against him or her, the debtor may not listen to further orders of the court to provide you with information to help you collect the debt. You may need to take further action if the debtor ignores the court’s order to complete the Financial Disclosure Form and return it to you.
You next need to ask the court for a Show Cause hearing, which is a hearing where the court can ask the debtor whether there is a good reason for the debtor’s failure, or determine that there is no good reason.
What Happens if the Debtor Appears at the Show Cause Hearing?
If the debtor appears at the Show Cause hearing, the court or court administrator will likely give the debtor another copy of the Financial Disclosure Form and tell the debtor to complete it and send it to you within 10 days, despite the debtor already failing to do so once.
If the debtor again fails to provide you with this information within 10 days, you may seek another Order to Show Cause and the court will not likely be as lenient on the debtor the second time. The court may jail the debtor for failure to comply with the court’s order, fine the debtor, or both.
What Happens if the Debtor Does Not Appear at the Show Cause Hearing?
If the debtor does not appear at the show cause hearing, you may ask for an arrest warrant.
Seeking an Arrest Warrant
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 at http://www.mncourts.gov/forms/fourth/forms/Civil/Bench%20Warrant%20Affidavit.pdf#search=%22affidavit%20in%20support%20of%20issuance%20of%20bench%20warrant%22.
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.