Definitions for How to Collect on a Judgment

Definitions for How to Collect on a Judgment
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Last updated: November 2005

Affidavit for Non-Wage Garnishment

A sworn statement by the plaintiff that states his or her belief that the defendant has money in someone else’s control (such as a bank) or that someone owes the defendant money.

Affidavit for Wage Deduction Order

A sworn statement by the plaintiff that states their belief that the defendant’s employer owes the defendant wages.  In the affidavit, the plaintiff must certify that, before filing the affidavit, he or she mailed a Wage Deduction Notice to the defendant’s last known address, which also must be stated in the affidavit.

Affidavit of Service

Sworn statement by the Sheriff of a private process server that the person who was to be served with a particular paper was served.  It contains other details about service, including date, time, and description of the person served.

Application and Affidavit to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person

A form that a person completes listing his or her financial information which is then brought to the court for a finding that the person may sue or defend without being required to pay the court costs for filing documents.

Answer to Citation Proceeding

A form completed by a third party (usually a bank) telling the court how much money the third party is holding that belongs to a defendant. The court uses this answer to determine how much money to have the third party turn over to the plaintiff toward paying down the judgment the plaintiff has against the defendant.

Assets

All of the money and property owned by a person. Assets include such things as wages, a bank account, and a home you own or are buying.

Attaching a Bank Account

Collecting money from a defendant’s bank account

Attachment

The taking someone's property to satisfy a judgment, or to be held until a judgment is paid. It can also mean the arrest of someone who owes money on a judgment, or the arrest of someone who disrespects the court.

Certificate of Judgment Balance

A letter sent to the defendant’s employer stating the balance of the judgment, interest, and costs that are still due to the plaintiff.

Certificate of Mailing Non-Wage Garnishment

A document signed by the plaintiff after he or she has mailed a copy of a non-wage garnishment and the garnishment notice were mailed to the defendant. It states what was mailed, to whom, at what address, and when it was mailed. 

Citation Notice

A notice that must be included with a Citation to Discover assets.  The notice must advise the defendant about his or her exemption rights and tell the defendant how he or she can assert the exemption rights at or before the citation hearing.

Citation to Discover Assets

A form the plaintiff uses to have the court order the defendant to come to court and tell the plaintiff about his or her assets and income.

Citation to Discover Assets to a Third Party

A way to collect money from anyone who owes or is in possession of the defendant’s assets, including a bank.  The citation forces a freeze of the defendant’s money.  This means the defendant cannot use the money frozen.

Creditor

The person who the debtor owes money to.

Day of Citation Turnover

On the day of the citation to discover assets, when the defendant is in court, the judge's order that the defendant turnover property to the sheriff to be sold toward paying down the judgment.

Defendant

A person who owes money to the plaintiff.

Exemption

A privilege given to a defendant by law, allowing the defendant to retain certain property instead of having to turn it over to the plaintiff toward payment on the judgment.  Except for the exemption of 85% of wages, an exemption is not automatically given to the defendant.  The defendant must claim the exemption in court.

Garnish

Means "to take" by way of court order

Garnishee

The bank or other person who is either controlling the defendant’s money or owes the defendant money.
 

Hearing

A court session held for the purpose of deciding issues.

Installment Order

A court ordered payment plan.

Interrogatory

A set of written questions.

Judgment

A court order that says that a defendant owes a plaintiff a certain amount of money. It is not an order to pay, but it allows the plaintiff, for the first time, to try to force the defendant to pay the debt because it gives the plaintiff the right to bring court proceedings learn about, put liens on, and have turned over to the plaintiff what the defendant owns (his or her assets).

Lien

Control over someone else's property

Memorandum of Judgment

A statement summarizing the judgment, date, and amount and listing the last known address of the defendant. The memorandum is used to create a lien on real estate.

Motion to Quash Service of Process

A motion filed by defendant if he or she claims that he or she never received a summons to appear in court.

Motion to Vacate Payment Plan

A motion filed by the defendant to get rid of a payment plan so the defendant can proceed to collect on the judgment in other ways.

Motion to Vacate the Judgment

A motion filed in the Office of the Circuit Clerk in Room 601 of the Daley Center by the defendant to get rid of the judgment against him or her.

Non-Wage Garnishment

Taking money belonging or owed to the defendant that is in the hands of other parties.  Most often, a non-wage garnishment takes money from a defendant’s bank account, although it can be taken from an insurance company or anyone else who owes the defendant money.

Non-Wage Garnishment Notice

Notice sent to the defendant that identifies the court case and informs the defendant that the plaintiff has started a proceeding in court to force his or her bank or other garnishee to turn over monies in your account to pay off the judgment. The notice will list the date and time the matter is to be heard in court. The notice must also tell the defendant that the amount of money or property (other than wages) that may be garnished is limited by federal and Illinois law. It must explain what amount of money or property is protected from garnishment (called “exemptions”). The notice also tells the defendant that he or she has the right to request a hearing to dispute the garnishment or to ask the court to declare certain money or property exempt. Finally, the notice tells the defendant how to obtain that hearing.

Non-Wage Garnishment Summons

A summons serve on the garnishee (e.g., defendant’s bank). The summons will tell the garnishee the time to file its answer to the interrogatories and the date the matter will be heard in court. The garnishee must freeze the amount of non-exempt money or property it is holding, up to the amount due on the judgment, or follow any other directions from the court.

Notice of Motion

A document that must be filed with every motion filed with the court.  This motion gives notice to the court and the other party that you have filed a motion and gives them notice of when and where the motion will be heard by the judge.

Order to Turn Over Funds

Also called “Turn Over Order.”  A court order that makes the defendant or a garnishee give the plaintiff some of the defendant's income or property that is not exempt.

Payment Order

An order of the court that formalizes an agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant

Payment Plan

An agreement between defendant and plaintiff to a plan to pay off the judgment over time.

Plaintiff

The person who filed the lawsuit. The person to whom the defendant owes money.

Return Date

A date set for a hearing.  The forms given to you by the clerk will inform you of the correct return date. In a post judgment case, this is the date of the hearing and the date by which the resondent has to file an answer and appear in court.

Return of Service

The form completed by the sheriff or other person who served the court papers on the defendant.  It must be brought to court by the plaintiff.

Routine Motion

A motion that is normally of the type where no one objects to it.  The motion is set at a special time and is not actually called by the court clerk to have the judge hear it unless someone objects.  If no one objects the order granting the motion is usually signed by the judge without a hearing in court.

Rule to Show Cause

An order of the court telling the defendant that he or she must appear before the court to explain why he or she should not be held in contempt of court

Service/Serve

Sending something to a person by either (1) sheriff, (2) a licensed private detective, or (3) certified or registered mail with a return receipt.

Special Process Server

A person appointed by the court to serve papers on the defendant. If the plaintiff does not want to use the Sheriff to serve papers, the plaintiff must bring a motion to ask that a special process server be appointed.

Standing Order

An order that some judges enter to tell parties what procedures should be followed in their courtroom. If the judge has entered an order of this type, it is usually available in the courtroom.

Third Party

Someone who has some of the defendant’s money or owes money to the defendant.

Turn Over Order

Aso called “Order to Turn Over Funds.” A court order that makes the defendant or a third party give the plaintiff some of the defendant's income or property that is not exempt.

Wage Deduction

When the court orders the defendant’s employer to take a certain percentage out of the defendant’s paycheck to pay off the debt owed to the plaintiff.

Wage Deduction Notice

Notice sent by the plaintiff to the defendant identifying the court case and informing the defendant that the plaintiff has started a proceeding in court to force his or her employer to deduct 15% of the defendant’s wages toward paying the plaintiff’s judgment. The notice will tell the defendant the date and time the matter is to be heard in court. The notice must also tell the defendant that the amount of wages that may be deducted is limited by federal and Illinois law. It explains the mathematical formula for determining the amount of wages that lawfully can be deducted and the amount of the defendant’s wages that are protected (i.e., exempt).  he notice also tells the defendant that he or she has the right to request a hearing to dispute the wage deduction because his or her wages are exempt, and tells the defendant how to obtain that hearing.

Wage Deduction Order

An order entered by the court that tells the defendant’s employer to take a certain percentage out of the defendant’s paycheck to pay off the debt.

Wage Deduction Summons

Tells the defendant’s employer to start deducting the defendant’s pay as soon as the employer receives the summons. The summons will also tell the employer the time to file its answer to the interrogatories and the date the matter will be heard in court.

Wage Garnishment

A wage deduction proceeding where the plaintiff tries to get the defendant’s employer to take a certain percentage out of the defendant’s paycheck to pay off the debt.

Wages

Payment from an employer for labor or services to a worker.

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