Post Judgment Information
The information contained on this web page is provided as a courtesy to members of the public, and shall not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, contact the Wisconsin Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service (800)-362-9082 for additional assistance.
You won your small claims case, now what?
There are multiple ways to try and collect your judgment from the defendant.
- The debtor may voluntarily agree to pay the judgment. The reason a debtor may do this is to avoid having a judgment lien on the debtor's real estate. If a judgment is "docketed" in this matter, it could significantly affect the debtor's credit rating and the ability to sell, refinance or borrow against real estate.
- Docket the judgment. If the debtor does not voluntarily agree to pay the judgment, you should consider having the judgment docketed. See Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Docketing a Judgment for Collection, (Form SC-6060V (PDF)). To docket a judgment in the county in which the case was heard, pay the $5 docketing fee to the clerk of courts. Docketing the judgment makes it a formal "lien" against real estate the defendant owns in Oconto County for a period of 10 years. If the debtor wants to remove the judgment from the record or attempts to get a loan in the future, the debtor may be required to satisfy the judgment before such a loan will be approved. (When you are seeking to collect the amount of the judgment later, you can also seek recovery of the docketing fee.)
- Collection Agency. Turn the matter over to a collection agency for help in collecting a judgment. The agency will likely charge a fee or a percentage of what they recover for their services.
- Earnings Garnishment. Garnish the wages of the debtor. See Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Small Claims Earnings Garnishment, (Form SC-6070V (PDF)). These forms are also available at the Clerk of Courts Office.
- Non-Earnings Garnishment. Garnish checking and savings accounts and other money owed to or held on behalf of the debtor. This is a "non-earnings garnishment" and you cannot use the earnings garnishment forms. See Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling a Small Claims Non-Earnings Garnishment, (Form SC-6071V (PDF)).
- Execution Against Property. Have the sheriff seize property of the debtor and sell it on your behalf through the execution procedure. See Post-Judgment: Basic Steps for Handling an Execution Against Property, (Form SC-6080V (PDF)) and the Execution Against Property form, (Form GF-115 (PDF)).
De Novo Review
In Oconto County, the Court Commissioner conducts hearings in small claims matters. Any party may request a de novo hearing on matters heard by the Court Commissioner. Absent a showing of extraordinary circumstances, all such requests for hearing shall be filed no later than twenty (20) days after the Court Commissioner’s decision has been efiled. Form SC-517 (PDF) Demand for Trial and Instructions must be completed and filed with the court to request a de novo review.
Re-Docketing a Small Claims Judgment
When a case is originally docketed, it lasts for a period of 10 years. When the lien has exceeded or is about to exceed that 10 year period, the creditor can bring an action to extend or "re-docket" the lien for a second 10 year period.
A judgment cannot be redocketed without:
- The court's leave;
- Good cause shown;
- Notice to the adverse party (Wis. Stat. 806.23).
The Clerk of Courts Office does not provide forms for re-docketing. Please contact the State Law Library at 800-322-9755 to inquire about the necessary forms.
If an Order permitting the action to be brought is signed by a court official, you will need to pay an additional $5 docketing fee.
Please Note: A judgment can be re-docketed for a second 10-year lien period, but the re-docketed judgment period cannot exceed a 20-year period from the initial entry of judgment.