Information from ”The Massachusetts Court Systems“, Small Claims Information page

If you were the Judgment Debtor, and won, the Judgment Creditor may not appeal from the magistrate’s decision on that claim against you. If you were the Judgment Creditor, and won and the magistrate awarded you money, you cannot collect the money until the time for appeal ends; the appeal is decided; or if there is no appeal, or if you win again on appeal.

Ask for Payment

Request the payment from the Debtor/Defendant for all monies awarded on Judgment, or to turn over the property, as ordered per Judgment.

Payment Review Hearing

The Magistrate may have scheduled a payment review hearing at time of you are awarded Judgment. The future date of this hearing is to review if the defendant has paid or is making agreed upon payments.  At said hearing it is the burden of the Judgment Creditor (Plaintiff) to prove the Judgment Debtor (Defendant) has the ability to pay without the use of income exempt from law.  Judgment Creditor (Plaintiff) has the opportunity to examine the “Financial Statement of Judgment Debtor”, completed by the Judgment Debtor (Defendant).  There is exempt income that can be reviewed by accessing the above link.  If the Magistrate determines that the Judgment Debtor (Defendant) has no ability to pay you may ask for another Review Hearing at a future date to examine financial ability of the Judgment Debtor (Defendant).  A judgment is enforceable for 20 years should a persons financial situation improve.

Notice to Show Cause

If no Payment Review Hearing has been scheduled, and the Judgment Debtor (Defendant) has not paid the outstanding amount owed, you may ask to have issued a “Notice to Show Cause” (typically done at the Clerk’s office).  This requires the Judgment Debtor (Defendant) to appear before the court, with both parties present.  The Judgment Debtor (Defendant) must be served this paperwork by a Constable or Sheriff and does require a fee.  This additional cost should be added to judgment as added cost to enforce.

Civil Capias

If the Judgment Debtor (Defendant) does not appear at the Payment Review Hearing or after being served the “Notice to Show Cause”, you may ask the Magistrate to issue a Capias.  A Capias is a Civil Arrest Warrant on the Judgment Debtor (Defendant).  The Capias must then be given to a Constable or Sheriff to arrest the Judgment Debtor (Defendant) and have him/her brought before the court.  This Capias action is fee based but can also be added to the Judgment Debtors amount as additional enforcement cost.

Writ of Execution

If you can identify any property of value that the Judgment Debtor (Defendant) has (real estate, motor vehicles, etc.) that could be seized and sold to pay your judgment you may request the Magistrate issue you a “Writ of Execution”, no sooner than 30 days after judgment date.  The Execution must be given to a Constable or Sheriff to seize and sell the property of the Judgment Debtor (Defendant) to satisfy your Judgment.  The fee associated from this action are derived from the proceeds of the sale as allowed by law.

Demand on Execution

With a Demand, a Constable serves upon the Judgment Debtor (Defendant) a copy of the Execution along with documentation on means to satisfy.  The Judgment Debtor (Defendant) then has a specified amount of time to respond with a resolution or further legal action may be taken.

Levy on Execution

If a Judgment Debtor (Defendant) fails to remedy in full through arrangements with the Judgment Creditor (Plaintiff) a levy of property is many times your last option.  Some of the most accessible assets are items such as watercraft, motorcycles and automobiles.  With the increase in the Small Claims maximum and exemptions that became effective April 7, 2011, Judgment Debtor (Defendant) asset values need to be carefully determined before moving forward with any action.

Levy on Real Estate

A Writ of Attachment is used to place a lien on Real Estate Property.  You must indicate whether the Writ should be recorded on the Unregistered or the Registered/Land Court side of the County Registry of Deeds.  The type of recording needs to be stated:


      • General (any and all property in the County of Suffolk)
      • General with Parcel (any and all property located in that County including but not limited to property at a specific address or book and page)
      • Specific (property located at a specific address or book and page)


      • Requires Certificate Number, Book, and Page
      • Original Writ of Attachment will be returned upon completion of recording and will include the appropriate Return of Service