Enforcing an Out-of-State Judgment in California
By Antonia Gordon and Bryan Grundon
One of the worst things you can be told after going through the lengthy and expensive process of obtaining a judgment is that your debtor has moved to another state – and taken their assets with them. The court has already decided that they owe you money. It shouldn’t be hard to enforce it, should it? Unfortunately, California is one of only four states that has not enacted the Revised Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, the purpose of which is to simplify the process of collecting on your judgment in a state different from the one in which it was entered. All hope is not lost, though. We can help simplify the process of enforcing your judgment in California.
The Superior Court of California requires an out-of-state judgment to be domesticated before you can collect on it. This involves obtaining a certified copy of the original judgment and filing it with the local court along with a number of other documents detailing the terms of the judgment and notifying the debtor of the domestication. Once all of the necessary paperwork has been filed with the court, you will be able to obtain what in California is called a sister-state judgment, which allows for the enforcement of your original judgment. In most cases, before you can collect on it, you will need to serve the new judgment on the debtor and allow them thirty days to respond. There are limited grounds on which the entry and enforcement of an out-of-state judgment can be challenged. Once the thirty days have passed, or the court rules on the challenge to the judgment, we can begin the collection process on the judgment in California, just like you would in the judgment’s original state of entry.
We do whatever it takes to give you the best possible shot of collecting on your judgment, from levying your debtor’s bank account, to garnishing his wages or putting a lien on any property she may own in California. You’ve already done the hard work of getting the judgment – let us make the rest of the process as easy as possible! Even if you don’t know what kind of assets your debtor has in California, we can take care of it. Our staff, along with the experienced process servers and private investigators that work with us, know just how to track down a debtor’s assets, from running bank skips to locate their open bank accounts, to serving them with an order to appear in court and reveal their asset information.
Recently, we had a case where we obtained a sister-state judgment against a corporation doing business in California. When our client could not provide us with viable asset information on the debtor, we had our process server track down the CEO of the company and personally serve him to appear in court and provide us with all of the company’s financial details. Whatever your situation, you can rest assured that your foreign judgment is in good hands with us.