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Collecting Money Owed to You

How will I know whether I have a judgment?

A court case ends with the judge's written decision as to who won. In a family law case, this final decision is called the decree and judgment. If you win a judgment that says someone owes you money, you are called the judgment creditor. The person who owes the money to you is called the judgment debtor.

How do I collect on my judgment?

You may collect the money owed you in one of two ways: either the debtor pays you voluntarily or you can execute on the debtor's property by getting a writ of execution from the judge.

What if the debtor wants more time to pay or wants to pay in installments?

In many instances the debtor is willing to pay, but simply needs more time. If you want, you can ask the debtor if to sign an agreement to make installment payments to pay off the judgment.

You may use the form Stipulation for Installment Payments, SC-18. Adobe Acrobat PDF logo Both of you must sign the form, and then it must be approved by the judge. As long as the debtor makes the payments according to the judge's order, you will not be allowed to use the execution procedures to collect the money owed to you. If the debtor stops making payments, you can begin the execution procedures by filing an affidavit telling the court that the debtor has failed to pay along with any other required paperwork.

If the debtor says he or she is not going to pay, can I begin execution procedures right away?

Generally no. In a divorce or dissolution case, you must wait 10 days from the distribution date of the decree and judgment. In a small claims case, you must wait 48 hours from the distribution date of the judgment. However, in any type of case, if the judgment was a confession of judgment or by default, you can file the execution paperwork immediately.

You may also be prohibited from filing execution paperwork after winning your judgment if the debtor has gotten a stay of execution or has filed for bankruptcy in federal court. Please note: there may be other circumstances that prevent or delay you from beginning execution procedures.

What do I need to get from the court to begin execution procedures?

Before you file anything, you should get the following booklets from your local court:

You have many decisions to make about how you proceed and what property you go after. For instance some types of property are exempt from execution, or others, like the PFD, have a limit as to how much you can get. These booklets will help you make those decisions and help you understand the entire process.

What court forms do I need if I want to execute on the debtor's PFD?

NOTE: While all of these forms are available electronically, in some courts you will be required to provide all necessary photocopies. If you obtain the forms directly from your local court, you will receive multi-part forms that do not require photocopying. Also, please note that the writs are generated electronically and you do not need to submit the CIV-502 when you file your packet.

What court forms do I need if I want to garnish the debtor's earnings?

NOTE: While all of these forms are available electronically, in some courts you will be required to provide all necessary photocopies. If you obtain the forms directly from your local court , you will receive multi-part forms that do not require photocopying. Also, please note that the writs are generated electronically and you do not need to submit the CIV-525 when you file your packet.

What court forms do I need if I want to execute on the debtor's personal property and/or bank accounts?

NOTE: While all of these forms are available electronically, in some courts you will be required to provide all necessary photocopies. If you obtain the forms directly from your local court, you will receive multi-part forms that do not require photocopying. Also, please note that the writs are generated electronically and you do not need to submit the CIV-500 when you file your packet.

Do I need to know more?

Yes. Please read both of the following booklets before you try to file execution paperwork:

You may also see the list of online forms used in the execution process at Civil Forms - Process after Judgment (Executions, etc.). The complete list of civil forms can be viewed in the Forms Catalog Adobe Acrobat PDF logo.


Rev. 24 August 2011
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