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Debtor's Exam

Debtor's Exam


What if I don't have the information I need to use any of these collection methods?

You may not be able to gather enough information to use any of the five of the collection methods above.  Ohio law provides a way to question the person who owes you about his or her income and property so that you can get the information you need to collect your judgment. You may request an examination in aid of execution of judgment, which is commonly known as a “Debtor’s Exam.”

How do I request an Examination or Debtor’s Exam? 

Any time after judgment you can apply for an order requiring the person who owes you to appear in court to answer questions under oath about his or her income, property, earnings, and ability to pay the judgment.

You can have the Clerk notify the person that owes you of the order for examination either by Fed Ex or personal service.  If you choose to use “personal service” and they fail to appear at the examination, you may apply to have them charged with contempt of court. A warrant may then be issued for their arrest.  The person who owes you will not be found in contempt unless you used personal service to notify them of the Oral Examination.

Follow these steps to request an order for a Debtor’s Exam:

  1. Complete the “Motion and Order For Examination of Judgment Debtor”

You can get the “Order of Examination of Judgment Debtor” form (scAffidavit) at the Court Forms section of website or from the Clerk of Court. You will need to fill out one form for each person who owes you.

  1. File your completed form and the filing fee with the Clerk of Court

The form must be signed in front of a notary before they are filed with the court.  If you are unable to sign in front of a notary, you may sign your filing in front of the clerk.

What questions do I ask at the Debtor’s Examination? 

If you are representing yourself at the examination, you will be asking the questions.  The person who owes you will have to give you an answer under oath.  You can ask whatever questions you want as long as the questions focus on his or her assets and/or earnings. 

The following information may help you collect your judgment:

  • Personal information:  full legal name, place of residence, social security number, and date of birth.
  • Current employment history:  the  current employer, the employer's address, the  current rate of pay, the pay schedule, the last time they received a paycheck,  when was the last time their pay has been garnished.
  • Past work history if not working: the last employer, how long they were employed, last “rate of pay,” reason for leaving job, and current income to pay living expenses.
  • Business interests: whether they own an interest in a business, partnership, or corporation, the type of business, their interest in the business, the address of the business, whether inventory is maintained, description of the inventory, and whether cash is kept on the premises.
  • Money on deposit: whether they have money in a checking account, savings account, credit union account, money market account, or with a financial broker.
  • Real estate ownership: whether they own a home or other land, is the deed in their name or with others, the address of the property, financing information, name and address of the mortgage(s) holder, is there outstanding balance due on the mortgage(s), and are there any liens on the property.
  • Motor vehicle ownership: whether they own a vehicle titled in their name,  the year, make, and model of the vehicle, the license plate number, financing information on the vehicle, who is financing the vehicle, and whether there is an outstanding balance due on the vehicle.
  • Personal asset ownership: whether they owns stock, stock options, bonds, or certificates of deposit.
  • Creditor status: whether they are owed payment on a loan or other bill, or on a judgment.
  • Debtor status: whether they owe any money to someone else, or if there are any outstanding judgments against them.

What happens if they do not appear at the Examination?

If the person who owes you was personally served with the order for examination by the bailiff and they do not appear in court to answer your questions, you may then ask the court to issue an order to show why the person who owes you should not be held in contempt of court.

If the debtor appears for the hearing, the Court will conduct the exam at that time.  If they do not appear for the hearing, you may ask the court to issue a warrant for their arrest. 

A judge may issue the arrest warrant but if the Clerk does not have information about the person who owes you, such as their date of birth and social security number, the police may have difficulty arresting them.

If apprehended, he or she will be taken into custody and may be required to pay to be released from jail.  If released from custody, a new examination will be scheduled and you will be notified of the date.   In some cases the court might let you question the person who owes you before they are released from jail.

What do I do once I have collected all the judgment money? 

Once you have collected all of the money that is owed to you, you must file a “Satisfaction of Judgment” form with the Clerk of Court to show that the judgment has been paid.  The form is available in the Court Forms section of this website or from the Clerk of Court.  There is no fee to file the form.