NC Post Judgment Collections & Interrogatories
So you obtained a court ruling with a judgment against the defendants. Now what?
The normal steps include filing and serving Notice of Exemptions on the defendants. Henceforth the defendants will be called “judgment debtors”. That’s what they are at this stage.
Either the judgment debtor files exemptions in 20 days or not. The creditor, you, has 10 days to object to their exemptions. Reasons for exemptions include you disagree with the value the debtor assigned to the exempted property.
Regardless of whether the file exemptions, issue an execution. Execution is a writ from the clerk that orders the Sheriff to go seize assets to sell to pay the judgment.
But here’s where it gets better. At this point in the execution process, it’s time to send interrogatories. Interrogatories are written questions. These have to be answered under oath or verified by the judgment debtor and notarized.
Ask the following types of questions:
What financial institutions do you have accounts?
What real property do you have an interest in?
What transfers of assets have you made in the last “X” years?
What ownership interests do you have in an LLC, corporation, limited partnership, partnership, etc.?
What personal property do you own?
What stock do you own?
What trusts are you a beneficiary of?
What trusts have you created? When created? What and when were assets transferred into it?
This will lead you to the assets. If not, there are depositions of the judgment debtor to obtain more detailed answers.
Below is the text from the statute that allows the interrogatories.
If you have a large judgment and need representation. Call the NC Post Judgement Collection Attorneys at Hendrick Bryant.
§ 1-352.1. Interrogatories to discover assets.
As an additional method of discovering assets of a judgment debtor, the judgment creditor
may prepare and serve on the judgment debtor written interrogatories concerning his property,
at any time the judgment remains unsatisfied, and within three years from the time of issuing an
execution. Such written interrogatories shall be fully answered under oath by the judgment
debtor within 30 days of service on the judgment debtor, and the answer shall be filed by the
judgment debtor with the clerk of the superior court wherein the original judgment is docketed.
Copy of said answer shall be served upon the party submitting said written interrogatories, in
the manner provided by the Rules of Civil Procedure.
Interrogatories may relate to any matters which can be inquired into under G.S. 1-352, and
the debtor may object to any interrogatories that are deemed improper, but the making of
objections shall not delay the answering of interrogatories to which objection is not made. If the
objections are overruled, the court shall fix the time for answering the interrogatories. The
number of interrogatories or sets of interrogatories to be served is not limited except as justice
requires to protect the party from annoyance, expense, embarrassment or oppression.
Upon failure of the judgment debtor to answer fully the written interrogatories, the
judgment creditor may petition the court for an order requiring the judgment debtor to answer
fully, which order shall be served upon the judgment debtor in the same manner as a summons
is served pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure, fixing the time within which the judgment
debtor can answer the interrogatives. In addition, the order shall provide, as an alternative, that
the judgment debtor may mail the judgment creditor, by certified mail, within five days of the
date of service of the order, a specific request for a hearing before a court or judge to answer
oral questions concerning his property rather than answering the written interrogatories. Upon
timely receipt of this request, the judgment creditor shall request the court to calendar the
Any person who disobeys an order of the court may be punished by the judge as for a
contempt under the provisions of G.S. 1-368. (1971, c. 529, s. 1; 1979, c. 648.)