Collect on A Judgment in California

Collect on A Judgment in California

A judgment is an official court order that when pertaining to debt means that the person has been ruled to pay back a creditor when sued and is commonly referred to as a civil judgment. The document is presented to both parties and stipulates what must be paid, to whom and the amount. It also breaks down other pertinent information regarding interest rate, court costs and attorney’s fees if granted. Those in California will have only a stipulated number of years to petition the courts for judgment of monies owed.

When is a Judgment Issued

An individual, group or business may petition the courts for a judgment when there is an outstanding debt that has not been satisfied, typically a contractual debt. A contractual debt is a debt in which the debtor has an agreement stipulating that they would repay the funds. The courts will require some type of proof of the agreement and pertinent evidence that the defendant will not or has not made an effort to pay, also known as defaulting. A hearing is held, but a judgment can be issued even if the defendant is not present, this is called a default judgment.

When Can Judgment Collection Begin

The state of California mandates that the creditor wait thirty days following the issue of the judgment, giving the defendant time to appeal. However, interest begins to accrue from the day that the court order has been issued. If the debtor does not win the appeal, collection efforts can be sought immediately, with few exceptions. During this time, the defendant may also enter into a repayment agreement with the creditor if he agrees. If no desirable arrangement can be made to suit both parties, there will be another hearing to determine how the judgment will be enforced.

 How a Judgment is Enforced

There are several ways people learn how to enforce a judgment. Since it is a court order, this means that the individual being sued can lose personal property, be subject to wage garnishment and a spouse may even have to pay. However, California requires that a hearing be held prior to pursuing such avenues. If the courts rule in favor of the creditor, law enforcement executes the selling of properties for example. Wage garnishments can exceed no more than twenty five percent of income. After a period of years, the judgment can still be renewed providing the judgment and any additional interest has not been satisfied.</p>

Best Enforcement Option

The best option to collect a judgment can vary on a case-by-case basis. Factors such as the amount of the judgment and the availability of the debtors assets are two very important considerations. If the debtor is employed, wage garnishment may be the best option, as this will guarantee repayment as long as the individual is employed. This may be especially so if the defendant has no assets of value. However, if the defendant is unemployed and has no assets of value, a spouse can also be held accountable for the debt.


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