As creditor in enforcement
A creditor can request measures from an enforcement authority the receivable has been established by a court decision imposing a payment liability. In addition to the collection of judgment debts, enforcement may be used also to carry out certain other obligations imposed by the court. Examples of such measures are eviction, seizure, relinquishment of an object and the realisation of a court order on child custody and right of access. No court decision is needed for the collection of child support payments, if the child support has been settled by a written agreement which has been confirmed by a child welfare officer. Collection of overdue instalments is based on a sale-by-instalment protocol drawn up by the enforcement officer.
A court decision will not result in enforcement as a matter of course. Instead, the creditor must file an enforcement request with the enforcement authority and attach the pertinent court decision or other documentary proof of an enforceable obligation to it. A child support agreement verified by the municipal authorities is an example of such a document.
Taxes and other governmental charges or fees are directly distrainable, which means they can be collected by way of enforcement without a judgment or other grounds for enforcement. Such amounts include payables to the government, governmental institutions, municipalities or associations of municipalities, and to congregations of the Evangelical-Lutheran or Orthodox Church. Other receivables governed by public law or comparable receivables are directly distrainable if specifically provided for by law or decree. These include a variety of insurance premiums. A lawyer may not be used when filing a request for the enforcement of directly distrainable receivables.
If the creditor so wishes, he or she can request limited enforcement. In this case, the enforcement is limited to the garnishment of wages, salaries or pensions or the distraint of income, receivables or assets which can be transferred to the creditor without liquidation. The debtor’s assets and income sources are ascertained from register information. If the creditor requests limited enforcement, he or she cannot apply for the passive registration of the debt.
When the debtor is found not to possess distrainable assets or income, the enforcement case is normally closed by issuing a certificate of lack of means. However, the creditor may apply for the passive registration of the debt in the event that the debtor lacks means or the debtor, whose whereabouts are unknown, is found to lack means. No active enforcement measures are directed at debts in the passive register, and the case is not considered as pending in the enforcement office. However, if the debtor obtains distrainable assets (e.g. a tax refund) while the debt is in the passive register, the assets will be distrained so as to cover that debt. The passive registration will remain in effect for two years from the date of the certificate of lack of means.