Overview

In California, the term “judgment creditor” refers to a party in whose favor a judgment is entered whereas “judgment debtor” refers to the party against whom the judgment is entered.  A “money judgment” is any court order requiring the payment of money.

Enforcement

Subsequent to entry, the judgment creditor has the obligation to enforce the judgment because a Court will not.  Thus, the judgment creditor must act diligently to obtain, and perfect its lien, identify assets subject to levy, and execute on its judgment.

California judgments accrue interest at the rate of 10% from the date they are entered.

Examples of what the Law Office of D. Joshua Staub can do to assist in collecting a California judgment include:

  • Levy (seize) assets that you have personal knowledge of (or stated on a Judgment Debtor’s Statement of Assets form, if applicable) which can include vehicles, vessels, or real property.
  • Examine judgment debtor in court to locate unknown assets. The personal service of the order to appear for examination creates a lien on the judgment debtor’s personal property for one (1) year from the date of the order to appear.
  • Suspend the judgment debtor’s driver’s license the judgment is for a California auto accident.
  • Suspend the judgment debtor’s license in particular case (example: Contractor’s License).
  • Place a lien on real property through the issuance and recording of an abstract of judgment.
  • Perfect liens on the judgment debtor’s assets.
  • Garnish the judgment debtor’s wages.
  • Conduct discovery into the judgment debtor’s assets.
  • Collect from the spouse of the judgment debtor.
  • Creditor’s suit. This action lies where a third person has possession or control of property in which the judgment debtor has an interest or where they are indebted to the judgment debtor.  The purpose is to have the interest or debt applied to the satisfaction of the money judgment.
  • Seek and obtain order adding costs of enforcement to the judgment.
  • Obtain charging orders.
  • Obtain a lien against the judgment debtor’s right to proceeds from a lawsuit.

 

Sister State Judgments

“A State may not disregard the judgment of a sister State because it disagrees with the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits.” (V.L. v. E.L. (2016) 136 S.Ct. 1017, 1020).

In California, a “Sister state judgment” means that part of any judgment, decree, or order of a court of a state of the United States, other than California, which requires the payment of money, but does not include a support order.  “Support” generally means an obligation owing on behalf of a child, spouse, or family.  Thus, if one has a judgment against judgment debtor who has property subject to levy in California, one can apply for entry of that judgment in California to reach those assets in satisfaction of the judgment once entered.

A judgment creditor or assignee can apply to have the sister state judgment entered as a judgment in California.


Foreign-Country Judgments under the Uniform Foreign-County Money Judgments Recognition Act

A judgment of a foreign court can be entered in California subject to various exceptions which include judgments for taxes, fines, penalties, support, divorce, maintenance, or domestic relations.  Under principles of comity, however, a judgment for support, divorce, maintenance, or domestic relations may be recognized.

Tribal Court Money Judgments under the Tribal Court Civil Money Judgments Act

A judgment creditor can apply to enter the judgment of a court or tribunal of any federally recognized Indian nation, tribe, pueblo, hand, or Alaska Native village, duly established under tribal or federal law, including Courts of Indian Offenses under Part 11 of Title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in California.

Registration of federal judgments

Federal judgments can be registered in other districts once they become final.

This firm has experience in these proceedings, and can assist judgment debtors or judgment creditors in matters involving the enforcement of California judgments, and the entry of sister state judgments, foreign-country judgments, and tribal court money judgments.