HOW TO CASH IN ON THAT OLD JUDGMENT

By Law Office of Bryan M. Grundon of Law Office of Bryan M. Grundon posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

A lot has happened in the last decade. Hurricane Katrina hit. We elected and re-elected the first African-American man as president. A team of Navy SEALS killed Osama Bin Laden. Apple gave us the iPhone in 2007. (Do you remember when everyone didn't have their eyes glued to their smartphones?)

Yet, that civil judgment you never collected a penny on is still sitting in the corner, collecting a thick layer of dust. Is it too late? Do civil judgments expire?

The quick answers are: it depends and yes. In California, money judgments automatically expire after a decade (10 years) from the date the judgment was issued, according to California Code of Civil Procedure 337.5(b) and 683.110. Yet, you still have a chance to collect on that dusty judgment, as long as you don't hit the 10-year mark.

Renew the judgment before the decade has passed and you can proceed with collecting. If you haven't managed to satisfy the judgment within ten years, you'll need to renew it again. There is no limitation on how many times a judgment can be renewed.

Securing a civil judgment seems like the difficult part but locating the money is often akin to a treasure hunt: you know there's gold somewhere; you just need to find and follow the map to locate it.

We can provide the map to that journey and hopefully it will lead to a treasure of some sort. That "treasure" may be a business or bank that can be levied, a home we can place a lien on or a salary that can be garnished.

Perhaps the business folded soon after the judgment was issued. And maybe the judgment debtor successfully avoided attempts to locate him for a court hearing. Many individuals are pretty clever when it comes to hiding their assets but there are an array of devices available to smoke them out. From bank and employment skip traces to court orders requiring independent contractors turn over their earnings, there are an array of ways to collect on that judgment, even if some time has passed.

We keep moving forward but that old judgment hiding in your dresser drawer may still be collectable.

Do you have a civil judgment collecting dust? Contact Bryan M. Grundon today.