Attachment as a Collection Tool
Attachment is an excellent collection tool. The writ of attachment process is very effective in causing the debtor to quickly respond to the creditor’s collection demand. In collection matters, the creditor must file a lawsuit against the debtor if the debtor refuses to pay. After the lawsuit is filed, it can take weeks or months to obtain a judgment against the debtor. During this pre-judgment period, the debtor may hide or transfer assets, making it more difficult to collect the judgment when it is ultimately obtained. Debtors often use this delay to their advantage (e.g., “Go ahead and sue me, I will have nothing left by the time you obtain a judgment.”).
The attachment remedy changes the equation. If obtained, an attachment lien allows the creditor to “freeze” the debtor’s assets (e.g., bank accounts, real property) until judgment is obtained, which drastically increases the odds that assets will exist to satisfy the judgment. As importantly, whereas the debtor can ignore a lawsuit or delay the lawsuit with little effort and expense, the debtor is highly unlikely to ignore an attachment application and typically must spend substantial time and money opposing the attachment application. This is because the consequences of attachment are too severe for the debtor – most debtors cannot continue to operate if their bank accounts are frozen.
The bottom line is that the attachment process is an effective way to force your debtor to the table quickly.
Need Help Seeking a Writ of Attachment in California?
If you have questions regarding attachment in California, particularly in Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Riverside County, or San Bernardino County, please contact us at (949) 203-3870. We are happy to discuss your collection matter. Our firm helps creditors use the attachment process to collect business and commercial debts.
The Wallin Firm is dedicated to collecting large debts from businesses and individuals throughout California, from our office in Irvine, California. We understand that collecting is important to our clients and we take our responsibility very seriously. Please contact us for a complimentary analysis of the debt you are seeking to collect and your collection options.
How to Collect Debts via Writ of Attachment Application:
- The attachment process allows certain commercial/business creditors to “freeze” debtors’ assets by creating judicial liens against the debtors’ property before judgment is obtained in the lawsuit. But creditors must carefully follow statutory guidelines in order to obtain an attachment lien.
- The primary goal of attachment is to create a judicial lien on the debtor’s attachable property. This makes it more likely that assets will exist when the creditor obtains its judgment against the debtor.
- Without an attachment lien, the debtor may hide or transfer assets before judgment is obtained, making the judgment less valuable or worthless.
- A creditor can obtain an attachment lien only if all of the following requirements are satisfied:
(a)The creditor’s claim is “for money . . . based upon a contract, express or implied” (i.e., the debt relates to breach of contract or failure to pay invoices, as opposed to other tort claims, such as personal injury);
(b)The amount owing to the creditor is a “fixed or readily ascertainable amount not less than $500” (i.e., the amount owed by the debtor can be easily calculated by looking at the contract, purchase orders, and/or invoices, etc.);
(c) The creditor has no real property collateral for the debt; and
(d) The claim is a commercial/business claim, as opposed to a personal/household claim (i.e., the debt relates to business or real property, as opposed to a personal credit card). See CCP § 483.010.
5. To seek an attachment lien, the creditor must first file a lawsuit against the debtor.
6. After the lawsuit has been filed, the creditor can file an attachment application and set the application for hearing. In extreme circumstances an emergency hearing can be held.
7. The attachment application must then be served on the debtor and the debtor is given an opportunity to oppose the attachment application.
8. If the court grants the attachment application, an attachment order will issue. The creditor can then use the attachment order to lien/freeze certain of the debtor’s assets.
When to Use Attachment to Collect Debt
The attachment process is best used to quickly get the debtor’s attention. The freezing of the debtor’s assets has major consequences, so the debtor is unlikely to ignore the application. The first goal in collection cases is to force the debtor to communicate. An attachment application is a great way to get the debtor’s attention and move your debt to the top of the debtor’s to-do list.
Contact The Wallin Firm for a Collection Review
Our firm can quickly and cost-effectively use the attachment process to attempt to collect your debt. We pride ourselves on doing everything needed to maximize the likelihood of collecting. We are happy to speak with you. Feel free to contact us at (949) 203-3870 for a complimentary review of your collection issue and collection options.
References & Helpful Links:
http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/at105.pdf (Application for Right to Attach Order)
http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/at115.pdf (Notice of Attachment Application)
http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/at135.pdf (Writ of Attachment)