Virginia’s Specialized Debt Collection Procedures

Virginia has a number of unique debt collection procedures. If you have a Virginia debt collection matter, you should consult with an attorney experienced in this field.

Virginia Notice of Lien

Virginia debt collection procedure provides for a powerful collection device called a notice of lien. Once the clerk issues a writ of fieri facias, the judgment creditor’s lawyer can send a notice of the judgment lien to anyone who owes money to the judgment debtor (including financial institutions). This effectively freezes those funds until the court has an opportunity to order the payment of those funds to the judgment creditor. The notice of lien thus provides an element of surprise, which is important given the tendency of some judgment debtors to move funds around to avoid the reach of creditors.

Virginia Options for the Sale of a Judgment Debtor’s Real Estate

Virginia debt collection procedure provides two options for selling the judgment debtor’s real estate to satisfy a judgment creditor’s judgment lien.

For property located in Virginia, the judgment creditor should docket the judgment in any county or city where the judgment debtor owns real estate. This acts as a lien on the real estate, which can then either be rented (for up to five years) or sold to satisfy the judgment.

For property located outside Virginia, the judgment creditor issues debtor’s interrogatories. At the hearing, the court can order the judgment debtor to convey any out-of-state real estate to the Sheriff for auction and sale. Judgment debtors faced with the sale of their residential or commercial real estate tend to be very incentivized to satisfy the judgment creditor’s claim.

Virginia Options for Sale of a Judgment Debtor’s Stocks and Bonds

Virginia debt collection procedure provides that at a hearing on debtor’s interrogatories, the court can order that “any money, bank notes, securities, evidences of debt, or other personal estate, tangible or intangible” be delivered to the sheriff or another person to satisfy the judgment.

Other Virginia Options to Satisfy a Judgment

There are of course a number of other standard options (such as garnishment) to satisfy a judgment. To discuss your options with a lawyer at Webster Book LLP, please click here.