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Payment by instalments - Creditor

In many cases, the person who owes you money will not be able to pay you in a lump sum. However, they might be able to pay you smaller amounts of money on a regular basis until the total debt is paid. This is called payment by instalments.

You and the debtor can agree to pay the debt in instalments at any time. After a court judgment, a debtor can also ask the court to make an order that the debt be paid in instalments. ​

    Before a court case ​starts

    If a debtor agrees that they owe you money, the debtor can offer to pay the amount by instalments. Such an agreement is informal but you should still put the agreement in writing.

    Even if you agree to accept payment by instalments, you can still start a court case to get your money back if the debtor doesn't pay the instalments.

    For further information, see Sample agreement to pay by instalments.

    During the court​ case

    At any time during the court case, you can agree that the defendant will pay the amount claimed in instalments.

    You need to make sure the court knows that you and the defendant have reached an agreement. For information on how to do this, see Settling the case - Creditor.

    After the court case

    If you have a court judgment in your favour, you are called the 'judgment creditor' and the defendant is called the 'judgment debtor'. The debt is called the judgment debt.

    Instalment agreement

    The judgment debtor may contact you and offer to pay the judgment debt in instalments. You and the judgment debtor can have an informal agreement or you can make a formal agreement that has the same effect as a court order.

    Even if you have an informal agreement you should still put the agreement in writing, in case there is any dispute later about what was agreed.

    If you want a formal agreement, you and the judgment debtor will both have to a sign a Consent Order form and file it at court. There is no filing fee. The Consent Order should say how much the judgment debtor will pay for each instalment, how often they will pay the instalments, when they will pay the first instalment and how they will pay the instalments. You can also include what will happen if the instalments are not paid.

    For an example of what consent orders to pay by instalments could look like, see Sample Consent Order - payment by instalments.

    Instalment or​der

    Instead of negotiating with you, the judgment debtor can make an application to the court to pay the debt by instalments.

    The first time a judgment debtor makes an instalment application there is an automatic stay of enforcement, which means any current enforcement action is suspended and you cannot start any new enforcement action, until the court has made a decision about the instalment application.

    The judgment debtor has to give information to the court about their income, assets and debts when they make an instalment application. A registrar will consider the application and decide whether to accept or refuse the instalment application.

    If the registrar accepts the instalment application, you will be notified of this decision by the court. If you disagree with the decision of the court, you have 14 days to file an objection.

    In your objection form, you can say either:

    • that no instalment order should be made or
    • that the amount of the instalments should be changed, or paid more often.

    For more information, see Instructions for filling out Notice of Motion - Objection to Instalment Order and Sample Notice of Motion - Objection to Instalment Order.

    If you file an objection, you will have to attend a brief court hearing about the instalment application. After hearing from you and the judgment debtor, the court will decide whether to confirm the instalment order, change it or cancel it.

    If the court makes an instalment order, you cannot take any enforcement action against the judgment debtor if the instalment payments are made according to the order.  

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