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Discovering a Debtor’s Hidden Assets
Just because you are legally owed money, doesn’t mean it is easy to get that money. You have probably heard the saying, “you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.” If the debtor has no money and no assets it will be difficult to get your money.
On the other hand, what if your debtor is only pretending to be a turnip?
Maybe the debtor who owes you money has lots of money he or she isn’t telling you about. Or maybe the debtor who owes you money has lots of extravagant assets, such as multiple expensive vehicles or homes. Don’t just accept the response, “well I can’t pay you anything, I have no money.” Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. If you have to wonder about this, you may already be in a position to question whether you should trust the person who owes you money.
After obtaining a judgment and docketing the judgment, you will need to find out the debtor’s ability to pay the judgment, or your ability to collect on the judgment. What bank accounts, earnings, or other assets does the debtor have?
Request for Order of Disclosure
In order to learn the financial status of the debtor and the debtor’s particular assets, you may file a Request for Order of Disclosure motion with the court.
In Minnesota, you may obtain this form online at http://www.mncourts.gov/default.aspx?page=513&item=307&itemType=formDetails.
You will need to fill out the name of the plaintiff (you, the creditor), the name of the defendant (the person who owes you money), and the judicial district and case number in which you obtained and docketed the judgment.
You will need to fill out the information about the debtor and the debtor’s address. You will next sign as the judgment creditor and provide your contact information. By signing this form you affirm that:
- you won a judgment in the lawsuit against the debtor,
- the case began in district court and the court administrator docketed the judgment more than 30 days ago, or the case began in conciliation court and the court administrator docketed the judgment,
- the debtor has not paid you all money owed to you, and
- you have not agreed with the debtor to some other way to settle the debt.
- When signing the standard form provided by the courts of Minnesota, be careful to read each line. By signing a form containing statements, you are telling the court that those statements are true. It is important to read what you sign.
Financial Disclosure Form
This form asks the court to order the debtor to tell you the amount, location, nature, and identity of all of the debtor’s assets, earnings, liabilities, etc.
When you file your Request for Order of Disclosure, you must also include the form the debtor will be ordered to complete: the Financial Disclosure Form.
You may find this on the same website at http://www.mncourts.gov/default.aspx?page=513&item=961&itemType=formDetails.
There will be a minimal filing fee charged to you for this filing. You will also need to know where the debtor is located, in order for the court to inform the debtor of the court’s order.