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See Massachusetts Judgment Enforcement Law below.
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Judgments and Enforcement:
A money judgment entered in the State of Massachusetts is generally enforceable for a period of twenty (20) years. (c. 260, s. 20.) All property which by common law is liable to be taken on execution, may be taken and sold, except as otherwise expressly provided unde the General Laws of Massachusetts. (c. 235, s. 31.) An original execution must be issued within one year after the party is entitled to take it out, and an alias or other successive execution may only be issued within five years from the return day of the preceding one. (c. 235, s. 17.) If a judgment remains unsatisfied after the execution expired, a new execution may be obtained by filing a motion to the court. (c. 235, s. 19.)
Garnishment and attachment may be conducted through a trustee process prescribed under Chapter 246 of the General Laws of Massachusetts. Garnishment of wages is permitted only upon approval of the court and only after the plaintiff has given a ten (10) days written notice to the defendant, by registered mail, return receipt requested, at his last known address, place of business or employment. (c. 246, s. 32(8).) If wages for personal labor or personal services of a judgment debtor are attached, the sum up to $125.00 per week may be exempt. Every writ of attachment must contain a statement of the amount exempted from attachment and also a direction to the trustee to pay over the exempted amount to the defendant in the same manner and at the same time as such amount would have been paid if no such attachment had been made. (c. 246, s. 28.)
A judgment entered in an action upon a contract, promissory note or other instrument that contains a stipulation in which a defendant, or a third party on his behalf, waived or agreed to waive the issue or service of process in such action may be set aside and vacated upon the motion of a defendant. However if it it appears that service in the usual manner was had upon him or that the plaintiff sent to him by registered mail at least seven (7) days before the entry of such action a notice of his intention to enter the judgment on said day, and at the time of entry filed an affidavit that notice has been given, the defendant generally is deemed to have received notice, and the judgment will not be set aside.
Any judgment by confession in an action involving a contract, promissory note or other written instrument, made pursuant to a stipulation is generally void and can be vacated or set aside on motion of the defendant. (c. 231, 13A.) A person who may contract may enter into a recognizance before the Superior Court in any county to acknowledge a debt. The content of the recognizance must be substantially as follows: (c. 256, s. 1.)
"Be it remembered that on this day of , of personally appeared before and acknowledged himself to be indebted to of in the sum of to be paid to said on the day of , (or in years, or in months, from this day) with interest from this day; and, if not then paid, to be levied upon his goods, chattels, lands and tenements, and, for want thereof, upon his body. In witness whereof said hath hereto set his hand."
Execution on the original recognizance may be issued but it must recite the recognizance and state the amount then due. (c. 256, s. 4.) However, no original execution may be issued upon such recognizance after the expiration of three years from the time therein named for payment of the debt or from the time of the last payment endorsed thereon. (c. 256, s. 8.)
The State of Massachusetts does not adopt the Uniform Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments Act.
Legal rate: 6% per annum (c. 107, s. 3.)
Written Contract rate: Such rate as maybe agreed to between the parties. (c. 107, s. 3.)
Judgment rate: In all actions based on contractual obligations, interest on the judgment shall be at the contract rate, if established, or at the rate of 12% per annum. (c. 231, s. 6C.)
In general, a debtor may claim exemption of his homestead and certain personal property from attachment and execution of a judgment, or in a bankruptcy proceeding.
The land and building which is owned, occupied or intended to be occupied by an individual as his principal residence is generally exempt from levy on execution and sale for payment of debts to the extent of $100,000.00. (c. 188, s. 1.) Any person who is 62 years of age or older, and has filed an elderly or disabled person's declaration of homestead, may be entitled to a homestead exemption on the real property or manufacturued home which he uses, occupies, and intends to use and occupy as his principal residence to the extent of $200,000.00. (c. 188, s. 1A.)
Personal property of a judgment debtor which may be exempt from levy on seizure on execution of a judgment may include necessary wearing apparel, beds and bedding, one heating unit used for warming the dwelling house, and the amount each month, not exceeding $75.00, reasonably necessary to pay for fuel, heat, water, hot water and light for himself and his family; household furniture not exceeding $300.00 in value; bibles, school books and library not exceeding $200.00 in value; two cows, twelve sheep, two swine, and four tons of hay; tools, implements and fixtures for trade or business not exceeding $500.00 in value; materials and stock designed and procured by him and necessary for carrying on his trade or business, and intended to be used or wrought therein, not exceeding $500.00 in value; provisions intended for family use or money therefor not exceeding $300.00 in value; fishing tackle and nets of fisherman actually used in his business not exceeding $500.00 in value; uniform of an officer or soldier in the militia and the arms and accoutrements required by law to be kept by him; rights of burial and tombs in use as repositories for the dead; one sewing machine not exceeding $200.00 in value; share in co-operative associates not exceeding $100.00 in value in the aggregate; money for payment of rental not exceeding $200.00 per month for each rental period; cash, savings or other deposits in a banking institution, or money owed to him each pay period as wages for personal labor or services, or any combination of such cash, deposits or money owing, not exceeding $125.00; public assistance; one automobile not exceeding $700 in value. (c. 235, s. 34.)