Collecting on a small claims judgment is accomplished by the debtor voluntarily paying up, wage garnishment and attachment of assets, such as real estate and motor vehicles, according to Nolo. In some cases, collection is handled by having the sheriff or marshal take the judgment amount directly from the debtor.
Winning a small claims case does not mean the winner automatically collects his money upon receiving a judgment, notes Nolo. Although most debtors are solvent and have assets at their disposal to pay off a judgment, debtors are sometimes so broke as to be judgment-proof. In other instances, debtors are skilled at hiding assets from collection, making it costly, if not impossible, to collect. In some jurisdictions, the law prevents seizure of certain types of assets from a creditor, making collection even more difficult.