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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Baner

Timing and Patience: Key Factors in Debt Collection

When it comes to debt collection, time can be a vital factor, often determining the success of your recovery efforts. Whether you are owed money for services rendered, goods sold, or as a result of a judgment in your favor, understanding the ebbs and flows of this process is crucial.

Recognizing the Importance of Timing Debt Collection

One fundamental aspect of successful debt collection is recognizing that timing can be everything. If you wait too long to collect a debt, you might miss out on opportunities to recover what you're owed. The debtor's circumstances can change rapidly and without warning. They may retire from the workforce, leaving you without wage garnishment as an option. They might file for bankruptcy, thereby eliminating their obligation to you.

Furthermore, if a debtor switches to self-employment, wage garnishment becomes more complex. They might also move or change their name, making them harder to locate. There's even a possibility they could end up with child support obligations that take precedence over your debt. As experienced debt collection attorneys, we understand these challenges and the urgency of pursuing what you're owed.

Interestingly, the flip side to this equation also merits consideration. If there's a good reason to believe the debtor currently has employment or assets, even if limited, now might be the best time to take action. Though there are challenges to debt collection, those challenges often grow larger with time.

The Role of Time and Patience in Debt Collection

Debt collection isn't always about immediate action; sometimes, it's about waiting for the right moment. An initially challenging collection case could improve over time, especially if the debtor's financial situation takes a turn for the better.

According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earnings tend to increase with age, peaking in the late 40s to early 50s. This trend spans different sectors, demonstrating a pattern of financial stability as people advance in their careers and life.

Consequently, if your judgment debtor is currently unemployed or in a precarious financial situation, patience might be your best ally. With time, their fortunes may improve, enabling them to repay their debts and rewarding your patience.

Additionally, waiting can carry at least three benefits when a debtor's financial circumstances make current collection hopeless:

  1. Interest on the judgment grows, often substantially.

  2. The debtor's ability to pay can only improve.

  3. The judgment becomes less likely to be subject to challenge.

Wisdom in Action: Navigating Challenging Debt Collection Cases

However, it's important to remember that every debt situation is unique. Sometimes, a specific debt may be uncollectable, either temporarily or permanently. Judgments typically last for ten years and can usually be extended for another decade. In such situations, it's not about ceaselessly pushing forward; instead, it's about having the wisdom to recognize when it might be better to pause or stop the collection process.

For example, if your judgment debtor is currently unemployed, with little to no wages to garnish and a barren bank account, collecting debt may prove to be a fruitless endeavor. Rather than wasting time and resources, sometimes it's better to wait or even stop the collection process.

At Baner and Baner Law Firm, we're always happy to consult on these issues or provide realistic recommendations and advise to referrals and clients. The journey of debt collection is often filled with turns and tides, but with the right timing, patience, and strategy, you can navigate these waters successfully.

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