Debt Recovery

Debt Recovery in the United States

Collection of monies owed, usually under terms of a contract. Debt recovery cases span a wide array of situations, but typically stem from disputes between businesses or businesses and individuals. The disputes are commonly over obligations set forth in voluntarily entered agreements or contracts. Debt recovery situations are often settled without litigation, but this category produces extensive litigation nonetheless. Most often, these cases involve contracts through which products or services are conveyed or by which money is loaned by one party to another. In most of these situations, the plaintiff has not received payment as provided in the contract and is seeking some kind of judicial remedy. Also included in this category of debt recovery are those actions seeking payment of claims under terms of insurance contracts. A related category of cases involves bankruptcy where legal protection is sought by those owing money. Here the legal interests of the borrower are balanced against the creditor’s interest in recovering some of the debt.

See Also

Default Judgment (Civil Process).

Analysis and Relevance

Some debt recovery actions are relatively simple, while others are complex. Commercial law actions involving two or more businesses may be quite involved. Individual credit situations are more numerous and quite straightforward. For example, an individual contracts to buy or rent a house or car. If the person fails to make the contracted payments, the creditor seeks relief. The courts have several options in these cases. A foreclosure or eviction proceeding can eventually return property to the seller or creditor. This allows the seller to recover by conveying the property to someone who will make the payments. Creditors can repossess items such as cars by a similar process. Courts have additional options as well. A court may order the garnishment of a debtor’s wages. This allows the court to obtain a portion of the debtor’s earnings before the debtor is paid. The proceeds of the garnishment are then paid to the party who obtained the order to garnish. A lien or claim against a debtor’s property may be issued instead as a way to secure resources to repay a debt. Plaintiffs almost always prevail in debt recovery cases because the defendant has normally failed to abide by explicit provisions of a contract. Indeed, in most debt recovery situations, defendants fail to even appear, and plaintiffs then are granted default judgments.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Debt Recovery from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Debt Recovery: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Debt Recovery. This part provides references, in relation to Debt Recovery, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Debt Recovery by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Debt Recovery and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Debt Recovery or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Debt Recovery and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Debt Recovery. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Debt Recovery should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Debt Recovery when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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