The time to pursue your debt collection in a courtroom is when you’ve exhausted every other method. However, going to court can be costly, and going through the court system requires you to take specific steps:
Step 1 find the proper courtroom
Depending on the size of the debt in question, you must file in a different venue. In California, if your debtor owes you less than $10,000, you should pursue them in small claims court. For larger amounts, up to $25,000, you would pursue the money in a limited courtroom. For the largest amounts – those more than $25,000 – your lawsuit would go through as an unlimited civil case.
While legal advice is helpful at any level, a lawyer cannot represent you in small claims court. For that reason, many consider using limited courtrooms for pursuing smaller debts.
Step 2: compile your evidence.
To succeed in the courtroom, you will need to prove that the debtor owes you and in what amounts. The evidence will need to make it clear that the debtor knows of the debt and that it remains unpaid. There must be a clear paper trail of the debt owed. It is vital to have these preparations made before going to court.
Step 3: file the proper claim
Filing your claim means taking your evidence and building a case for your recovery. You must pay the appropriate filing costs and ensure you’ve built the basis for your case. Then it is on you to have the debtor served with notification of the lawsuit.
Step 4: try the case.
The last point in this process is to make sure you go through with your court date and make your case to the judge. Many debtors forgo their court dates, which often leads to a judgment in the creditor’s favor.
These are highly simplified steps for court-based debt collections, so please keep that in mind. A skilled collections attorney can educate you on everything you need to know about the trial process.