Questions to ask in a debtor's examination

These are some questions that can help you find out where the other side has money, makes money, or owns things they might be able to use to pay the money they owe you. 

Sample questions

Once you start asking questions, the other side's answers may lead you to more questions. The questions here are just to give you ideas. You can ask other questions you think of at the court date.


  • What's your home address?
  • What's your telephone number?
  • Are you married or do you have a registered domestic partner? If so, what's the first name, maiden name, and last name of your spouse or domestic partner?

You can ask for their social security number, but they don't have to tell you it.


  • Do you have a job or are you self-employed? If you have a job, what company or person do you work for?
  • What's your boss’s name?
  • What’s your work address and telephone number? 
  • What’s the work address and phone number for the office that pays you (“payroll” or “accounting”)?
  • How much money do you make? How often are you paid? What day(s)?
  • Do you have back taxes taken out of your pay?
  • Do you have child support taken out of your pay?
  • Are you paying off a bankruptcy through your pay?
  • Are you ever paid commissions? If so, when are you paid?
  • Do you get a yearly bonus? If so, when is it paid?
  • How much is owed to you now?
  • Do you work anywhere else? If so, please explain. (Ask the same questions as 1 - 11, above.)

Real estate

  • Do you own the home you live in? If so:
    • Is it a single family home? a duplex? A condo? A mobile home? 
    • Is your mortgage paid up to date?
    • How much is it worth?
    • How much do you owe on it?
  • Do you own any other real estate?
    • If so, ask same questions as above.
  • If you don’t own your home, who do you pay rent to? How much are your rent and utilities?
  • Do you have any roommates or subtenants? 
    • If so, what are their names, how much do they pay you each month, when do they pay you?

Cars and other valuable items

  • How did you get here today?
  • Do you have a car or truck? If so:
    • What's the year, make, and model of your car? 
    • Do you own it outright? Is it financed? By whom? How much do you owe on it?
    • What is the VIN?
  • Do you have a recreational vehicle, trailer, boat, or other vehicle?
  • Do you have any things you own, cash, or other things that you haven't told me about yet (for example, a piano, jet ski, patents, coin collection, etc.)? If so, please tell me about them.
  • Do you have life insurance? Is it a whole life policy (it's an investment with cash value)?


  • Do you, your spouse, or domestic partner have any bank or credit union checking or savings accounts? 
    • If so, what's the name of the bank or credit union, the branch address, the account numbers and present balances for all these accounts?
  • Do you have any other accounts like money markets, for example?
  • Do you have a driver's license? If so:
    • In what state?
    • What is your driver's license number?
  • Do you have any credit cards? If so:
    • What is your cash advance limit on all of your credit cards?
    • What are your current balances?

Questions to make sure they understand what happens if they don't pay

  • Do you understand that as long as you don't pay the judgment, the unpaid amount collects interest?
  • Do you understand that as long as you don't pay the judgment, it is probably on your credit report and hurting your credit rating?
  • Do you understand that as long as you don't pay the judgment, I have the right to examine you again in 120 days?
If you also had the other side served with a Small Claims Subpoena for Personal Appearance and Production of Documents at Trial or Hearing and Declaration where you asked them to bring paperwork to court, remember to ask to look at the paperwork and take down whatever information you need from it.
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.