Collecting a debt can be hard work, particularly when the debtor is out of state. If you have successfully obtained a judgment against a party that owes you money, you have a right to collect that judgment – regardless of where the debtor is located or if your judgment was obtained in a jurisdiction different from where the debtor operates his business.
As we have previously discussed, in many instances, a creditor plaintiff can seek to enforce a hard-earned judgment in the jurisdiction in which the debtor has assets. This is known as “domesticating” a judgment. In California, this is the first step in collecting an out of state judgment. The creditor must obtain a certified copy of the original judgment and file it with the local court (along with several 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, as the creditor, you will be able to obtain what in California is called a sister-state judgment. If there is the potential for great or irreparable injury (e.g., the debtor is concealing or transferring assets, is on the verge of insolvency, or intends to leave California), the application can request that the Court issue a writ of execution or other enforcement immediately.
Generally speaking, before a party can collect on the judgment, the creditor will need to serve the new judgment on the debtor and give them thirty days to respond. Once the thirty days have passed, or the court rules on the challenge to the judgment, our attorneys can begin the collection process on the judgment in California, just like you would in the judgment’s original state of entry. If the judgment debtor is not a resident of California or emergency circumstances approved by a Superior Court judge execution proceedings are allowed immediately.
For more information on how to collect out of state judgments, contact our collection attorneys today.