Request & Order to Seize Property

by Steve Lander
With an order to seize, the court can take your car.

The "request and order to seize property" is what Michigan calls the process by which a creditor collects money after getting a judgment against you in court. A similar document is used in other states, and the underlying process is roughly similar, regardless of what it's called. Once a creditor has the request and order document signed by the court, a court officer can take your property and sell it.

The Collections Process

If you are unable to pay your debts, the people you owe money to have the right to try to get money from you. Typically, the process starts with your creditor calling you and sending you letters. If you aren't able to resolve the debt, the creditor may involve a collection agency. Collection agencies are typically more aggressive about collecting on the debt. At some point, if the creditor or collection agency thinks it has a chance of recovering something from you, it will file a lawsuit.

The Lawsuit

Assuming your creditor is able to prevail in the lawsuit, the court will issue a judgment in the creditor's favor and direct you to pay the creditor. In Michigan, the creditor is legally allowed to collect the amount of the judgment plus any interest that has accrued on the debt. If you can't pay the creditor at the trial or work out a payment plan that is acceptable to your creditor, you will have 21 days to pay. If that fails, your creditor can then submit the request and order to seize property form.

Seizing Property

Armed with the signed judicial order, an officer of the court will seize your property and arrange for its sale. Proceeds of the sale go to the creditors to pay off your judgment. Any extra funds are typically returned to you. Generally, the court will use the order to seize your money or your car.

Beyond the Seizure Order

The seizure order is just one tool that a creditor has to prosecute a judgment against you. If it can't find enough assets on its own during the 21-day period before it serves you with a seizure order, your creditor can serve you with a discovery subpoena so it knows what to put on its request and order to seize property. This will require you to go to court and disclose everything about your income and expenses and assets and liabilities under oath so the creditor can figure out what to seize. The creditor can also file a request for garnishment that will allow it to take your bank account, tax refund, wages or other payments that you receive. You will, however, have a chance to object to the garnishment.

About the Author

Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images