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Georgia JUDGMENT ENFORCEMENT

See Georgia Judgment Enforcement Law below.

Our Judgment Enforcement agents are well versed in your state and are here to serve your Judgment Enforcement Needs, including asset searches, wage garnishments and bank account locators.
 





A judgment entered in the State of Georgia is generally enforceable for period of seven (7) years (Section 9-12-60), and may be renewed by an action or by scire facias, at the option of the holder of the judgment, within three years from the time it becomes dormant (Section 9-12-61).  An action to renew a dormant judgment must be brought in the county where the defendant in judgment resides at the commencement of the action.   (Section 9-12-66.)
 
All judgments obtained in the superior courts, magistrate courts, or other courts of this state are of equal dignity and bind
all non-exempt real and personal property of the judgment debtor, from the date of the judgmetns. A money judgment, however, does not become a lien upon the property of the judgment debtor with respect to third parties without notice, and unless the execution is entered upon the execution docket. The lien attaches to the property of the judgment debtor from the date of its entry upon the execution docket.  (Section 9-12-81.)

In aid of execution of a judgment, a judgment creditor may examine the judgment debtor or any person by taking depositions or propounding interrogatories, compel production of documents, and may even, upon a showing of reasonable necessity, obtain permission from a court of competent jurisdiction to enter upon that part of real property belonging to or lawfully occupied by the debtor which is not used as a residence and which property is not bona fide in the lawful possession of another.  (Section 9-11-69.)

Garnishment of a debtor's earnings is not permitted prior to the entry of a judgment. (Section 18-4-46.)  Upon the entry of judgment, a creditor may garnish the earnings of a judgment debtor but the maximum amount which may be attached may not exceed the lesser of 25% of his disposable earnings for a workweek; or the amount by which his disposable earnings for that week exceed 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage prescribed by Section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, U.S.C. Title 29, Section 206(a)(1), in effect at the time the earnings are payable.
 
Every person has a right to confess judgment without the consent of his adversary and to appeal such confession without reserving the right to do so in the cases where an appeal is allowed by law.  Such confessed judgment may be entered only in the county where the defendant resided at the commencement of the action unless expressly provided for by law.  (Section 9-12-18.)  Notwithstanding this provision, the State of Georgia does not permit the enforcement of a provision contained in a lease-purchase agreement requiring a power of attorney to confess judgment,  (Section  10-1-684.)

Foreign Judgment:

Under the Uniform Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments Act of the State of Georgia, a judgment from other states generally is entitled to full faith and credit for the purpose of enforcement. (Section 9-12-130 et seq.)  A judgment creditor seeking to enforce a foreign judgment may file with the appropriate court, a certified copy of the foreign judgment and an affidavit showing the name and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and the judgment creditor, and pay a required fee in the same sums as required  in civil cases in the superior court.  (Section 9-12-135.)  The clerk of the court and the creditor are required to mail a written notice of the filing of the foreign judgment to the judgment debtor at the address given. The notice must include the name and post office address of the judgment creditor and, if the judgment creditor has an attorney in this state, the attorney's name and address.  Lack of mailing notice of filing by the clerk does not affect the enforcement proceedings if proof of mailing by the judgment creditor has been filed. (Section 9-12-133.)

A filed foreign judgment has the same effect and is subject to the same procedures, defenses, and proceedings for reopening, vacating, staying, enforcing, or satisfying as a judgment of the court in which it is filed and may be enforced or satisfied in like manner. (Section 9-12-132.)  However, Geogria will apply these provisions to foreign judgments of other states only if those states have adopted the "Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act" in substantially the same form as this article.   (Section  9-12-138.)  In addition, a foreign judgment will not be recognized if the elements enumerated in Section 9-12-114 of the Official Code of Georgia exist. Some of the elements include failure of due process, lack of personal or subject matter jurisdiction, the defendant was not given sufficient time to defend, fraud in obtaining the judgment, the cause of action on which the judgment is based is repugnant to the public policy of the State of Georgia, or that the judgment conflicts with another final and conclusive judgment.

Interest: 

  • Legal rate:  7% per annum simple interest. (Section 7-4-2(a)(1)(A).)

    Contract rate:   Not to exceed 16% per annum simple interest on written contract for loans or advances in the sum of $3,000 or less.  (Section 7-4-2(a)(2).)

    Judgment rate:  12% per annum or the specified rate on a written contract or obligation upon which the judgment is obtained. (Section  7-4-12.)

Exemptions:
In general, a debtor may claim exemption of his homestead and non-exempt personal property from attachment or execution of a judgment, or in a bankruptcy proceeding.

A debtor generally is entitled to exemption from levy and sale by virtue of any legal process any real or personal property, or both, in the amount of $5,000.00.  (Section 44-13-1.)  If a debtor refuses to apply for exemption under this provision, his spouse, qualified representatives of his minor children or dependents, may make such pplication and the exemption is binding upon the debtor.  (Section 44-13-2.)

For the purposes of bankruptcy, a debtor may elect, in lieu of the exemption provided under Section 44-13-1, the exemption provided under Section 44-13-100 of the Official Code of Georgia.  Some of the property which may be exempt include the personal and real property used by a debtor or his dependents as a residence or a burial plot,  in the aggregate value of $5,000.00, social security benefits, unemployment comepnstiaon, local public assistance, veteran's benefit, disability benefit, alimony, support or separate maintenance to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and his dependants, pension payments, undistributed interest in retirement plans or pension plan, automobiles in the aggregate value of $1,000.00, household furnishings and goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops, or musical instruments that are primarily for personal family or household use not to exceed $200.00 in value in each item but not to exceed $3,500.00 in aggregate value, jewelry in the aggregate value of $500.00, the debtor's aggregate interest, not to exceed $400.00 in value plus any unused amount of the homestead exemption in any property, professional books or tools of the trade in the aggregate value of $500.00, unmatured life insurance contract, the debtor's aggregate interest in the loan value on any unmatured insurance contract not to exceed $2,000.00, professional health aids, an award under a crime victim's reparation law, payment of not more than $7,500.00 from the recovery for personal injuries excluding pain and suffering or compensation for actual pecuniary loss, and payment for compensation for loss of future earnings to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and his dependants.

An individual debtor whose domicile is in the State of Georgia is specifically prohibited from applying or utilizing the exemptions provided under 11 U.S.C. Section 522(d). An "individual debtor whose domicile is in Georgia" means an individual whose domicile has been located in Georgia for the 180 days immediately preceding the date of the filing of the bankruptcy petition or for a longer portion of such 180 day period than in any other place.  (Section 44-13-100(b).)

Statutes of Limitation: Civil actions generally can be commenced only within certain time limitations.   The time generally runs from the date a cause of action accrues or from the date injury or damages are discovered or should have been discovered.

When a cause of action accrues is a critical issue and may be different on a case by case basis.  A creditor should always consult actual legal counsel to determine its right to action under the applicable statutes.  Some of the time limitations relevant to credit and collection matters are as follows: 
  

Open account, oral contract   4 years 
 
Section 9-3-25 
 
Written contract   6 years Section 9-3-24
Sale of goods    4 years Section 11-2-725
Recovery of personal property   4 years  Section 9-3-32

 

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