What If Your Judgment Creditor Files an Exemption Claim?

A judgment award does not guarantee that you will get money from the other party involved. The court only awards the judgment and does not collect it. If your debtor refuses to pay the judgment, you may try to collect it through the process of the court. 

If you collect on a judgment in New York and your debtor contests it, you should know how to respond to it. Your debtor has ten business days to file with a Claim of Exemption. You will get a copy of this exemption form. Then, you can file an objection if you don’t think the debtor is entitled to the exemption. You have ten days from receipt of the form to do this.  Once a hearing is set, a judge will decide the validity of the claimed exemptions. 

Reasons You Should File an Objection

If you think your debtor does not deserve the exemptions they are claiming, you would want to file an objection. It is important to use your judgment whether you have a valid objection. Once you file an objection, you must serve a copy of this to the debtor five days before the hearing date. 

Keep in mind that the hearing occurs within 7 days after you file, so all parties must be served with the objection and the date of hearing as quickly as possible. The judge may not take action at the hearing if they believe you failed to serve notice to the other party. 

What to Expect at the Objection Hearing?

At the hearing, your debtor will need to prove that they are entitled to the exemptions they claimed. They may need to provide proof such as a government letter, payment receipts, an annual pension fund statement, financial records, or records of checks that show exemptions of their money. A judge may uphold the exemption, deny it, or issue another ruling. 

If the judge denies the claimed exemption, any property or money of the debtor held by the constable or sheriff will be released to you. If they uphold the exemption, the debtor gets this money or property. But, not all of the debtor’s assets are protected, so you can still try to execute against any non-exempt assets. Also, the debtor’s current exemption may no longer be available in the future. Should their financial situation change, you can attempt to execute the judgment again. Your judgment expires within ten years from the date it was awarded to you and you can renew it with the court that entered it.