Prepare for debtor's examination

Once you get the court order for a debtor's examination and serve it to the other side, they have to come to the exam to answer your questions about what they earn and own. You use that information to try to collect the money they owe you.

Prepare for court date

Write down questions you want to ask 

At the court date, you'll have a chance to ask the other side questions. You can ask them things like where they bank and how they get paid. 

Their answers may help you know where to try to collect your money. For example, if you find out they have a bank account, you can file forms that tell the sheriff to take money out of their bank account and give it to you.

Make a list of the questions you want to ask. Bring this with you to your court date. Also, bring a pen and paper to write down their answers.

There are common questions you can ask like where someone banks or works. Depending on their answers, there may be more. 

Let the court know if you're paid before the court date

Sometimes, the other side will decide to pay you rather than go to the court date. If they do pay you the full amount owed:

  • Fill out and file an Acknowledgment and Satisfaction of Judgment (form SC-290
  • Let the court know so they can cancel your court date

If they don't pay you, then they must come to the court date to answer your questions.

Go to the court date

At the court date, you can ask the other side your questions. Write down their answers. Ask them the questions on your list. You can also ask other questions not on the list if you think of others based on their answers.

If the other side doesn’t show up at the court date, the judge can issue a bench warrant for the their arrest. This doesn’t mean they’ll be arrested right away but they might be later.

Debtor's Examination

What's next?

If you found out where they bank, work, or own real estate, you can start the process to collect.

  • To take money from their pay or bank account, your next step is to get an official document from the court that tells the sheriff or process server to take the money (a Writ of Execution). 
  • To try to get paid from the sale or refinance of their real estate, your next step is to get an official court document that shows you are owed the money (an Abstract of Judgment).
success alert banner:

Have a question about Small claims?

Look for a "Chat Now" button in the right bottom corner of your screen. If you don’t see it, disable any pop-up/ad blockers on your browser.