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Maine JUDGMENT ENFORCEMENT

See Maine 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.

 

Judgments and Enforcement:

A judgment is enforceable for twenty (20) years and will be presumed to be paid and satisfied at the expiration of that period. All real and personal property of a judgment debtor, except as to those items of property qualified for exemption under the Maine Statutes, generally may be attached or held as security to satisfy the judgment debt. (14 M.R.S.A. 4151, 4451.)

For the purpose of determining a judgment debtor’s ability to satisfy the judgment, Maine statutes provide a disclosure proceeding in which the judgment debtor may be subpoenaed to appear at a hearing to produce documents and testify as to his assets. (14 M.R.S.A. 3122.) At this hearing, the court may make an independent evaluation as to the debtor’s ability to pay, and following that evaluation, renders a “court payment order”. This order may require the debtor to make installment payments in an amount not exceeding 25% of the disposable earnings per workweek. (14 M.R.S.A. 3127.)

In a case where the defendant’s employer is known and the defendant has either failed to appear for a disclosure hearing after being subpoenaed to appear before the court or has missed two (2) or more court ordered payments, a creditor may seek a court order directing the employer to withhold such amount from the defendant’s wages by filing a motion with the court. (14 M.R.S.A. 3127-B.)

Bank levy of personal (individual) bank accounts is not permitted. (14 M.R.S.A. 4751.) Turnover orders and sale of personal or real property, following notice and hearing, is authorized. (14 M.R.S.A. 3131.) Personal property must be sold by any method authorized by the Uniform Commercial Code (11 M.R.S.A. 9-504). Real property ordered sold to satisfy a judgment is required to be sold in accordance with provisions identical to the foreclosure of a mortgage. (14 M.R.S.A. 6321.)

To execute on a judgment, a creditor generally must obtain a writ of execution within one year from the date of final judgment. (14 M.R.S.A. 4652.) The writ is returnable within three (3) years from the date of its issuance and renewable every three (3) years thereafter until the judgment is fully paid or twenty (20) years has passed. (14 M.R.S.A. 4651.) If the writ has not been renewed prior to its expiration, a motion requesting the issuance of an alias execution may be filed with the court, however, if ten (10) or more years have passed since the issuance of an original or renewal writ, another renewal writ generally will not be issued. (14 M.R.S.A. 4653.)

Judgment liens on debtor’s non-exempt real property and/or items of personal property are permitted. (14 M.R.S.A. 4651-A.) Liens are created by the filing of an attested copy of a Writ of Execution; real estate — county registry of deeds; motor vehicles — Secretary of State, Motor Vehicles; other items of personal property — usually Secretary of State, UCC Division. Certified mail notice of the filing must be sent to the debtor within 30 days following the lien filing in order to perfect the judgment lien, otherwise, the lien will be void.

Foreign Judgments:

Under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, any judgment, decree, or order of a court of the United States or of any other court is entitled to full faith and credit in the State of Maine. (14 M.R.S.A. 8002.) A judgment creditor may seek enforcement of a foreign judgment by filing an authenticated copy of the foreign state judgment and an affidavit setting forth the name and last known post office address of the judgment debtor and creditor in the appropriate court of Maine. Notice is required to be given by the Clerk of the Court or the creditor to the judgment debtor prior to any enforcement proceedings. (14 M.R.S.A. 8004.) A foreign judgment has the same effect and is subject to the same procedures, defenses, and proceedings for reopening, vacating or staying as a judgment of the District Court or Superior Court of Maine. (14 M.R.S.A. 8003.)

Interest:

Unless the contract or note contains a provision for interest, the interest rates permitted in the recovery of accounts or contract may be:

Pre-judgment Interest Rate: In a District Court, the interest rate is eight percent (8%) per year. In a Superior Court, the interest rate is one percent (1%) above the 52-week Treasury bill rate. (14 M.R.S.A. 1602.)

Post-judgment Interest Rate: In a District Court, the rate is fifteen percent (15%). In the Superior Court, the rate is seven percent (7%) above the 52-week Treasury bill rate. (14 M.R.S.A. 1602-A.)

Exemptions:

In general, a debtor may claim exemption of his homestead and certain personal property from attachment and execution of a judgment, or in a bankruptcy proceeding. The Maine statutes permit exemption of a debtor’s real and personal property which are used by the debtor and his family as a residence in the aggregate value of $12,500.00, or $25,000.00 if minor dependents are residing with the debtor. If the debtor or a dependent of the debtor is 60 years of age or older, the aggregate exempt value may be $60,000.00. Some of the items of personal property which may be exempt include clothing, household furniture and furnishings, musical instruments, etc., that are held primarily for the personal family or household use of the debtor or his dependent, with a value not to exceed $200.00 in each item, jewelry with an aggregate value not to exceed $750.00, tools of the trade in an aggregate value not to exceed $5,000.00. Other property which may be exempt include health aids, life insurance dividends up to a certain value, disability benefits and pension. (14 M.R.S.A. 4422.)

In a bankruptcy proceeding, a resident of Maine may claim exemption of only those items of property prescribed under the federal Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. 522(b)(2)(A), except that any debtor (60 years or older) who qualifies for a residence exemption under 14 M.R.S.A. 4422(1)(B) may exempt the amount allowed under that provision.

Statutes Of Limitations:

An action for the recovery of money or other damages generally must be filed within a statutory period of time or such action may be barred forever. Some of the time limitations relevant to credit and collection matters are as follows:

Contracts under seal, promissory notes signed in the presence of an attesting witness or notes or bills issued by a bank. 20 years

14 M.R.S.A. 751

Fraud 6 years 14 M.R.S.A. 859

Contract for the sale or lease of goods under the Uniform Commercial Code. 4 years

11 M.R.S.A. 2-1506, 2-725

All other civil actions 6 years 14 M.R.S.A. 752

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