Guide to Small Claims Proceedings in the District Court - Collecting the Judgment Through a Disclosure Hearing

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Collecting the Judgment

If you win the case and the judge orders the defendant to pay money to you and if the defendant does not pay the judgment within 30 days, the most common manner of collecting the judgment is through a disclosure hearing.

The purpose of a disclosure hearing is for the winning party (now called "the judgment creditor") to "disclose" the losing party (now called "the judgment debtor"). This means that the creditor will try to find out from the debtor what income and assets he or she has from which the judgment can be paid. The disclosure of income and assets is under oath in front of a judge. The disclosure law is found in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 14, sections 3120-3136.

Requesting a Disclosure Hearing

First, obtain a Disclosure Subpoena form from your local District Court. Inquire about the dates and times available for small claims disclosure hearings. Choose a date that will allow adequate time for service and filing, and enter that date on the form. Complete the form. The money amounts, the date of judgment and the docket number should all be taken directly from the Notice of Judgment form. Providing complete and correct information helps the court to properly process your case.

After you have made photocopies of the Disclosure Subpoena form, you will need to serve the defendant. You can do so using one of the methods previously described in Arranging for Service. Service must be made at least 7 days before the disclosure hearing.

When service is complete, you must file the original Disclosure Subpoena form and proof of service with the court within 20 days of the date of service and at least 2 days prior to the date of the disclosure hearing. Enclose a filing fee of $15 per defendant.

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