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Suffolk County District Court - Post-Judgment & Other "After Court" FAQ


updated September 25, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a judgment?

A judgment is the determination by a judge or arbitrator after a hearing or trial.

A judgment is generally for an amount of money. However, a judgment may also include a warrant of eviction, an order to perform a specific task, or it may be a judgment dismissing the matter.

Usually "having a judgment against you" means a money judgment from a court has been filed with the County Clerk.

What is default judgment?

A default judgment is ordered by the court if the defendant does not appear for trial.

A default judgment may also be entered by the clerk if the defendant fails to answer a summons.

A default judgment is fully enforceable and has the same effect as a judgment after trial.

I won a judgment! How do I collect it?

The Court Clerk cannot satisfy your judgment.

You (the Judgment Creditor) may contact the party you won the judgment against (the Judgment Debtor) and request payment.

If they are unwilling to pay, you may attempt to enforce the judgment (below).

How do I enforce a judgment?

You may request a document called a Transcript of Judgment from the Court Clerk for a fee. The Transcript of Judgment must be filed with the Suffolk County Clerk's Office. The County Clerk will collect a filing fee.

You may contact the Suffolk County Clerk's Office (631) 852-2000 ext 800 for information on how to obtain an Income Execution Form or a Property Execution Form. You will file the Execution Form with the Suffolk County Sheriff. Contact the Civil Bureau, Enforcement Division, Office of the Sheriff at (631) 852-5600. The office is at 360 Yaphank Ave Yaphank NY 11980.

The Sheriff will attempt to enforce the judgment based on the information and documents you file.

An Information Subpoena is used to discover the assets of a judgment debtor. An Information Subpoena is generally prepared by an attorney, though a self-represented or pro se litigant may obtain assistance from the Court Clerk where the judgment is entered in obtaining an Information Subpoena without the assistance of an attorney. Nominal Court Fees are charged for issuing an Information Subpoena.

Additional enforcement options may exist; contact an attorney to explore other options.

I just found out that I have a judgment against me. I did not know that I was being sued. What do I do?

If you feel that you do not owe all or part of the judgment, you may contact the court which issued the judgment. To ask the Judge to place the case back on the court's calendar (and contest the judgment in court) you may file an Adobe Acrobat PDF DocumentOrder to Show Cause to vacate Landlord & Tenant default judgment or an Adobe Acrobat PDF DocumentOrder to Show Cause to vacate a civil judgment with the Adobe Acrobat PDF Documentaffidavit in support of an Order to Show Cause to vacate a civil judgment.

If you feel that you owe the amount of the judgment, you should contact the attorney for the plaintiff to make arrangements to pay the judgment.

What is an Order to Show Cause?

An Order to Show Cause is a method that a party may use to request that the court reopen their case, usually after a default judgment has been entered. A default judgment can be entered if a defendant fails to answer a summons, or fails to appear for trial or hearing.

This process temporarily stops the enforcement of a judgment and sets a time for the plaintiff to challenge the defendant's request to start over.

An Order to Show Cause is commenced and answered in writing. If you are supposed to appear in court, the order will write on the order that personal appearance is required and testimony will be taken. If the court sets a new court date for trial, both sides will be notified by mail.

Forms to prepare an Adobe Acrobat PDF DocumentOrder to Show Cause to vacate Landlord & Tenant judgment or a Adobe Acrobat PDF DocumentOrder to Show Cause to vacate a civil judgment with the Adobe Acrobat PDF Documentaffidavit in support of an Order to Show Cause to vacate a civil judgment are available in the clerk's office where the judgment was entered.

Can I appeal?

You may appeal an order or judgment of the court provided that the order or judgment was not obtained by default.

An arbitrator's award cannot be appealed, but you may request a trial de novo before a judge.

A default judgment cannot be appealed, but a party in default may request that the action be restored by Order to Show Cause (see above).

To file an appeal, you must prepare and serve a Adobe Acrobat PDF Document Notice of Appeal on the opposing parties, and then file the Notice of Appeal with the Court Clerk (in the court where the order or judgment was entered) with proof of service. A fee is required for filing the Notice of Appeal on a Civil, Landlord-Tenant, Small Claim or Commercial Small Claim action. 

An appeal can be a complicated process. There are specific time frames for completing the appeal prior to sending it to the Appellate Term. Additionally, the appeal may require oral argument before the Judges of the Appellate Term.  The Court Clerk recommends consulting or hiring an attorney to assist you.