After Small Claims Court
Getting Your Money and Appeals

Getting Your Money

If you win the case, you are responsible for collecting the judgment. Court clerks and staff are not permitted to collect it for you.

Appeals

Both parties have the right to appeal the judge's decision and have a new trial before a new judge or before a jury. You must pay another fee and file either Form CV50NRP: Application for Trial De Novo Excluding Rent and Possession Cases or Form CV50RP: Application for Trial De Novo for Rent and Possession Cases Only within 10 days of the judgment. The fee is likely to be significantly greater than the small claims court fee. The clerk can assist you with this process.

The new trial will be heard in the circuit division. Because the rules of the circuit division are more complicated and the judge and the clerk are not permitted to help you, it is advisable to seek the assistance of an attorney.

Even if the losing party appeals the case, the winning party can still try to collect the money. To prevent this while the case is being appealed, the losing party may post a bond with the court. Posting a bond is not necessary in order to appeal the decision. The clerk can assist you with this process.

Collecting On Your Claim

After the judge has decided in your favor, and you have waited 10 days from the date the judge decided the case (losing party may not file an appeal after 10 days), you may start trying to collect your money, if the losing party has not filed an appeal and posted a bond. Remember, you are solely responsible for collecting your money. The judge and the clerk will not do it for you. There are several ways to collect your money.

Losing Party Voluntarily Pays

Whether the losing party agrees to pay you in a lump sum or in installments over a period of time, an agreement between you and the losing party is the best and most efficient way to collect your money. You should attempt to arrange such an agreement, because collection procedures through the court cost money and will probably take longer. However, if you cannot agree on a method of payment or the losing party stops paying as originally agreed, you may start collection proceedings through the court on forms provided by the clerk or online. The clerk can assist you with this process.

Garnishment

  • Garnishing Wages
  • Garnishing a Bank Account
  • Executing Your Garnishment Action (Wages or Bank Account)

Garnishment is the most frequently used legal procedure to collect money in a small claims case. Under this procedure, an employer or other person holding money belonging to the losing party pays to the court the money owed to the winning party. The employer or other person is called the garnishee. The court then pays the winning party.

To collect money this way, you must request the court to issue a garnishment and pay a fee. Ask the clerk for assistance. You may file as many garnishment actions as you need in order to collect the entire judgment amount. Be aware that the losing party, a judgment debtor, has the right to certain legal exemptions from garnishment that may limit your ability to collect the debtor's money.

In order to garnish, you must first locate some cash assets of the losing party in the State of Missouri. These are most easily found in the form of paychecks (wages) or bank accounts.

Garnishing Wages

Garnishing wages is the surest form of collection. To do this, you must find out the name and address of the losing party's employer. The following may be helpful in discovering this information: Talk to businesses or other persons who might know about the losing party but be careful not to harass the losing party; examine court records for more details of the losing party's background.

Under this procedure, the employer, usually for a period of 90 days, collects a portion of the losing party's wages and sends the money to the court. Law sets the amount an employer can collect. If the losing party makes less than a certain amount of money, you may not be able to garnish his or her wages at all.

Garnishing a Bank Account

As with garnishing wages, to do this you must find out the name and address of the losing party's bank. The following may be helpful in discovering this information: A check or other record the losing party gave you might indicate where the party banks; a cancelled check you wrote to the losing party may reveal the name of the bank on the back of the check. Be aware that if the bank account has another name on it, such as the losing party's spouse, you may not garnish it unless the judgment is against the spouse as well.

Under this procedure, the bank, usually for a period of 30 days, collects from the losing party's account an amount of money up to the total of the judgment, court costs and garnishment filing fee. The bank then sends the money to the court.

Executing Your Garnishment Action (Wages or Bank Account)

When you have located assets of the losing party (the judgment debtor), either wages from an employer or a bank account, the following instructions will assist you in collecting the money owed to you.

Request for Execution

Complete Form CV90: Execution/Garnishment/Sequestration Application and Order . This form can be obtained from the Accounting Department clerk or online. Provide the name and address of the garnishee (i.e., the bank or employer). Second, specify how long the execution is to run (i.e., how long the bank or employer will withhold money owed the judgment debtor). The execution may run from 30 to 180 days (a garnishment against a bank account usually should be no longer than 30 days while a garnishment against wages should probably run at least 180 days). Ask the clerk if you have questions.

Return Date

The last day the Garnishee may withhold money from the judgment debtor is called the return date. For instance, if you requested that your execution be returnable in 60 days, the 60th day from the date the garnishment is issued is the return date. Call the Accounting Department clerk one week after requesting your garnishment to find out the return date. A copy of the processed garnishment form can be received by submitting a stamped self-addressed envelope with your completed garnishment and interrogatories forms.

Interrogatories

Before the garnishment will be issued, you must complete a portion of the interrogatories (i.e., questions) that are to be served on the garnishee. This form, Form CV90: Execution/Garnishment/Sequestration Application and Order , can be obtained from the Accounting Department clerk or online. This set of questions asks the garnishee exactly how much money has been withheld from the judgment debtor. The garnishee must answer these interrogatories and return one copy to you and one copy to the court within 10 days of the return date. If you do not receive the completed interrogatories from the garnishee within 10 days after the return date, it is suggested you call the garnishee and see if there is a problem. If the garnishee refuses to comply, you may have to retain an attorney. At this point, the clerk can no longer help you.

Other Collection Methods

There are other court methods you can use to collect the money. These methods are much more complicated than garnishment proceedings and will usually require the assistance of an attorney. Be advised that a small claims court judgment may not be a lien on real estate.

Case.net

Parties can track their small claims case online at Case.net. To find active garnishment information, click on the Garnishments/Execution tab to locate garnishments processed, garnishment amounts, balance due, etc.

Satisfaction of Judgment

If you lose a small claims case and are ordered to pay a money judgment to the winner, the winning party needs to file Form SC60: Satisfaction of Judgment - Small Claims Court upon completion of the full payment. This form can be obtained from the Accounting Department clerk or online and verifies to the court that payments were paid in full. This may be filed whether the entire judgment was paid voluntarily, through garnishment, or some other procedure. This is a good idea so as to prevent the plaintiff from attempting to sue the defendant again or collecting again on the same claim.

Civil Department816-407-3850
Accounting Department816-407-4890