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. The Court Commissioner's decision becomes a judgment unless one or both parties demand a trial before a Circuit Court Judge within 10 calendar days from an oral decision or within 15 calendar days of the mailing of a written decision.

Pursuant to Wis. Stats. 757.69(8), any decision of a court commissioner shall be reviewed by the judge of the branch of court to which the case is assigned, upon a motion of any party. Essentially this is an appeal of the Court Commissioner's decision and it is called a "de novo review". This means the Judge reviews the issues in a new hearing as though there was never a hearing and ruling by the Court Commissioner. The Judge allows both parties to testify again, reviews all of the evidence, hears witnesses, and makes a determination on the issues pertaining to the original filing that brought the parties to court the first time.

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: 

  1. The court's leave; 
  2. Good cause shown; 
  3. 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.