When you win a lawsuit, you have to enforce the judgment. This involves the process of collecting the money that has been awarded to you. What happens when you are trying to collect a judgment that was awarded by a court in another state? First, recognize that the out-of-state court will not collect the judgment for you. As a creditor, not only are  you responsible for your own judgment collection, you will also have a specified and limited amount of time to collect your judgment. Some judgments will have to be renewed before the California judgment renewal deadline if they are not collected within the statutory time allowed. So, how do you go about collecting out-of-state judgments? Read on to learn about California judgment collection laws and the process of collecting out-of-state judgments.

Collecting a judgment from a solvent business or person usually involves a straightforward process if the judgment was obtained in California. On the other hand, you may run into obstacles when trying to collect a judgment from a debtor who you sued in another state or conversely, who has moved its operations or assets to another state to avoid its creditors.

Sister-State Judgment Statutes Allow Collecting Out-of-State Judgments

In California, a sister-state judgment or a foreign country money judgment can be enforced. A foreign judgment is a judgment, decree, or court order of a state of the United States (other than California). The judgment must require the payment of money and cannot include a support order defined in California Family Code Section 155.

A foreign country judgment refers to a judgment of a court granted in a foreign country. This includes a judgment issued by an Native American tribe recognized by the U.S. government. California will recognize a foreign country judgment to the extent the judgment grants or denies the final recovery of a sum of money. This does not include judgments for taxes, fines, or penalties.

How to Turn an Out-of-State Judgment into a California Sister-State Judgment

Collecting out-of-state judgments is possible by filing for a California Sister-State Judgment. This allows you to enforce and go ahead with collection of an out-of-state judgment or a foreign money judgment in California. The process for collecting out-of-state judgments is contained in Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1710.10-1710.65. The process is a little tricky, but you don’t need to hire an attorney. In these types of matters the help of a legal document assistant is not that expensive and you will find it is money well spent having someone experienced handle this for you. This will make sure your Judgment remains intact and collectible.

First, before filing the required forms to turn an out-of-state judgment into a California sister-state judgment, you must get an authenticated copy of the out-of-state foreign judgment. Contact the court that issued the judgment to get a court certified copy. Next, you will need to file an Application for Entry of Judgment on Sister-State Judgment (Form EJ-105) and Notice of Entry of Judgment on Sister-State Judgment (Form EJ-110) with the local county court in which you seek to have the judgment enforced. As mentioned above, make sure you get legal help to properly complete these documents. After all, you are trying to safe-keep your Judgment so you will be able to collect on it. Generally speaking, form EJ-105 is needed to register your out-of-state judgment in California. Form EJ-105 is used to tell the debtor that you have applied to have your judgment enforced in California.

Once the forms have been filed with the court, they will need to be served on the debtor. Next, the proof of service must be filed with the court. Most importantly, as a creditor, you can then get a Writ of Execution (EJ-130) within 30 days after serving the debtor. The Writ will allow you to pursue collection of the amount due. Keep in mind, however, the debtor will have 30 days to file a motion to vacate the sister-state judgment. If the motion is not filed, the California judgment will be finalized and you can begin enforcement.

Collecting Foreign Country Judgments

California has adopted the Uniform Foreign Country Money Judgments Recognition Act. This act grants California courts the ability to recognize a foreign country judgment. An action for the recognition of a foreign country judgment must be filed no later than 10 years from the date the judgment becomes effective in the foreign country. Furthermore, the foreign judgment must be final and enforceable under the laws of the foreign country.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information about collecting out-of-state judgments. Don’t have your foreign or out-of-state judgment expire and become noncollectable. We can help you draft and file the necessary documents to get a sister-state judgment in California, allowing you to enforce and pursue collection of your out-of-state judgment.

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