A few years into the business, one of my judgments was against a young fellow, 19 or 20 years old. He had caused an accident, and the insurance didn’t pay for all the damages. The judgment was for about $6,000. Not much.
I located where he was working, and sent the employer a wage garnishment notice. 25% of his earnings were to be sent to the sheriff, and then the sheriff would forward it to me.
No response from the employer. None at all.
I called the employer and he told me that my judgment debtor wasn’t an employee (ha, ha), because he was an independent contractor. (I informed him, then, that he should have reported that on the form provided.)
A little more research, and I realized that the employer was his father!
Okay, I can’t garnish his wages because he’s his own employer- an independent contractor; but I CAN use an “assignment order.”
An assignment order is a court order that actually intercepts money coming to the judgment debtor from someone else. It could be from a trust. Or the lottery. An inheritance. Or, from the company where he’s working as an “independent contractor.”
These days there are a lot of independent contractor out there. Many insurance agents. Realtors. Techies. Web builders. Sales people. Mechanics. People with trusts. And more.
Assignment orders are one of our most important tools! It can be used in so many circumstances to get someone who owes the judgment debtor to pay me instead of the judgment debtor.