judgment debtor

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A judgment debtor is a person or entity who owes an amount of money due to a judgment that has not been paid or executed. The debt is owed to a judgment creditor, who may obtain discovery against the judgment debtor to aid in execution of the judgment. The judgment creditor can also obtain a judgment lien against property owned by the judgment debtor. If the judgment debtor fails to pay the debt in a timely manner, they may be held in contempt of court.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 69 provides the federal court rules for the execution of a judgment against a judgment debtor: 

  • In General.
    • Money Judgment; Applicable Procedure. A money judgment is enforced by a writ of execution, unless the court directs otherwise. The procedure on execution—and in proceedings supplementary to and in aid of judgment or execution—must accord with the procedure of the state where the court is located, but a federal statute governs to the extent it applies.
    • Obtaining Discovery. In aid of the judgment or execution, the judgment creditor or a successor in interest whose interest appears on record may obtain discovery from any person—including the judgment debtor—as provided in these rules or by the procedure of the state where the court is located.
  • Against Certain Public Officers. When a judgment has been entered against a revenue officer in the circumstances stated in 28 U.S.C. §2006, or against an officer of Congress in the circumstances stated in 2 U.S.C. §118, the judgment must be satisfied as those statutes provide.

[Last updated in June of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]