The Financials > Settings/Judgment sub-tab is dedicated to setting up your payment contingencies and tracking your judgment details. Each element of this section will be detailed as follows:
Saving Your Changes
Once you have altered any information on this screen, click the Save Settings button to apply your changes to the account. You must save for your changes to take affect.
The Allocation/Disbursement Settings section lets you add allocations, change payment orders and change allocation names in the system. Additionally, you can create disbursements for each one of your allocation types and/or add sliding contingency steps to individual allocations. You can read more about how Allocations/Disbursements work here, with detailed picture examples.
Firstly, users must have appropriate permissions to delete, rename, or add allocations. If the user does not have adequate permission, certain features in the above image will be missing.
NOTE: Also, an allocation may not be removed if it is currently in use by any case file in the system.
This section changes the Allocations/Disbursements on the individual account only. Default Allocations/Disbursements that might affect all accounts under a particular client can be set up globally by going to Settings > Clients. That screen will have the same functionality explained here.
Each allocation represents different debts that may be owed (Principal, Interest, Att. Fee, Cost), and each can have its associated disbursements customized. For example, you can have any money collected and allocated to paying off the Principal disbursed to certain entities (perhaps 30% to agency and 70% to client), but then money collected and allocated to a different item like Attorney Fees can be disbursed to another entity entirely (100% to attorney).
As noted by the *Client takes the remainder wording, the client will receive whatever is not disbursed. You can also specify whether or not an allocation accrues interest by selecting or deselecting the “Accrues Interest” box above the disbursements.
The Attorney and Agency disbursement options may be overridden by the Attorney Contingency Fee or Client Commission Rates using the “Cont. Fee” and “Client Comm.” check boxes. Clicking on these check boxes will gray out/override the Attorney and Agency boxes in the disbursement section. This method is often used:
- When a specific fee or commission rate applies to more than one allocation type, and makes it easier to change across all of them at once
- When you have a commission rate that will change based on a specific date
Lastly, the order of allocations can be re-arranged by selecting one and using the gray arrows to the left-hand side of the box. Payments made to the account will apply to these allocations one at a time, in order, from top to bottom.
NOTE: A common question is what entity Client Commission Rate refers to. This is the Agency’s rate–essentially, the commission rate agreed upon with that account’s client, for that particular debt.
The Add Step button may be used by agencies that use sliding steps to calculate the money and agreements with their clients. If the Add Step button is clicked the disbursement screen will look like the following:
Before Add Step was clicked, there was essentially one sliding step with no cap. The From column was unnecessary, so it was hidden. You’ll notice that the top right box is grayed out and equals $0.00. This is because the first steps’ From value is forced to be $0.oo. Each step ends at the next ones’ From value, except the last, which has no cap.
Use Total Payments for Add Step: If checked, sliding steps will use the total payment instead of the total allocation amount.
Compound Interest based on Principal Start Date: If checked, the interest (if any) will compound based on the Principal Start Date (referring to either/or the Claim/Interest Start Date or a Judgment Date). Otherwise, it will compound based on Jan. 1st.
In addition to the options above, you can disburse payments based on a dollar amount goal and recipient through the Ordered Disbursements section.
To utilize this feature, Enable Ordered Disbursements must be marked.
These settings override the Allocation/Disbursement Settings until the dollar amount goal is met for each party. You can utilize the arrows to the left to set the order of disbursement.
Based on the above example, all payments will be disbursed to the Agency until a total of $500.00 has been received. The next $25.00 will be applied to the Advanced distinction, and the next $25.00 will be applied to the Attorney. After all dollar amounts have been fulfilled, the system will default to the Allocation/Disbursement Settings up above.
NOTE: This feature will not operate with “Add Step” sliding fee scales
Cost and Fee Transactions
Here you can choose some additional options for how you want your pre-judgment debt to apply to the post-judgment.
Pre-Judgment Costs: This applies any remaining pre-judgment Costs to the judgment.
Pre-Judgment Fees: This applies any remaining pre-judgment Fees to the judgment.
Pre-Judgment Costs/Fees included in judgment amount: This indicates that any pre-judgment fees/costs are included in the judgment amount when entered. The fees/costs will still be allocated in post-judgment payments.
Pre-Judgment interest and payments included in balance: This indicates that any pre-judgment interest/payments are included in the judgment balance.
This section is for when you have a Judgment (also called a post-judgment) you are collecting on for the account. When any information is entered here, it will affect the Financials > Transactions tab accordingly.
Judgment Date: The date the judgment was issued, or the starting date of the judgment.
Judgment Amount: The amount of the judgment that was issued.*
Post-Judgment Interest: The interest rate for the judgment that is set by court, if any. If none, set as 0%. If using Global Interest, check the box provided.
Pre-Judgment Interest: Lets you continue or stop calculating pre-judgment interest after a judgment has been set.
*Oftentimes, the judgment may include additional fees, costs, etc. that are combined together in the total amount. Depending on your company policy, if you need to keep track of these items separately, (for perhaps, a different allocation/disbursement agreement for each item, or so interest does not accumulate on costs/fees), it may be required that you enter the Judgment Amount minus those costs/fees. You can have the costs/fees added separately after the fact in the Attorney Fees section (discussed below), as transaction items, or as adjustment items (added from Financials > Transactions).
Attorney Fees Awarded: The dollar $ or percentage % amount of attorney fees that were awarded in the judgment. They may be accounted separately from the judgment itself (see above note). They can also be added to the account instead as transaction items or as adjustment items (added from Financials > Transactions), but this section ties them specifically to the judgment itself.
Execution Date: The date the writ was entered with the court.
Execution Amount: The total amount of the writ of execution.