April 14, 2014

Collecting A Judgment In California

Plaintiffs in California lawsuits commonly believe that once they obtain a default judgment or a money judgment against the defendant at trial, the matter is over and that they have won. However, winning is not necessarily collecting the judgment funds. Unless the defendant (now the debtor) voluntarily pays the amount of the judgment, you, the plaintiff (and now the creditor) will have to collect the judgment from the debtor.

Fortunately, California law allows for various methods of collecting a judgment. These are the most common methods:

  • Real Estate Levy
    • This involves putting a lien on a piece of real property the debtor owns in a particular county in California (such as Los Angeles County). If there is sufficient equity in the property, sale of the property may be forced and the proceeds used to satisfy your judgment.
  • Wage Garnishment
    • You can also collect your California judgment by garnishing the debtor’s wages. However, there are exemptions available to the debtor for this, so it would be wise to consult with a Los Angeles judgment collection attorney before proceeding.
  • Bank Levy
    • If you know where the debtor banks, this can be an efficient method. It involves serving a levy upon the bank and collecting proceeds from the debtor’s bank account to satisfy your judgment.
  • Personal Property Levy
    • To collect a California judgment, one can also put a lien on the debtor’s personal property. However, this is an expensive process. It is not recommended unless you know the debtor’s personal property has sufficient value.
  • Initiating A Debtor’s Examination
    • A debtor’s examination is not a method of collecting a judgment. Rather, it is a useful tool to assess the debtor’s assets. It involves forcing the debtor to come into court and be interrogated under oath about their assets, finances, and related matters.

Each of the above methods and tools for collecting a judgment in California involve filling various documents, which must be precisely filled out. Furthermore, if the debtor is fraudulently transferring their property or is a business, then there can be additional complications involved. We at Beverly Hills Law Corp., PC can assist you in determining whether your judgment is collectible and if so, which method may be best for your particular case. You owe us nothing unless we collect the judgment. We await your call.

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