A sister state judgment is not enforceable in the state until it is authenticated or registered as a California judgment. However, plaintiffs can also file a suit that establishes judgment here. Since judgments don’t always involve money, it may be a matter of repossessing real property (house) or personal property (car). In this case, the plaintiff registers the judgment by filing separate lawsuits.
Initiating the enforcement
You have to fill out and file an Application for Entry of Judgment and Notice of Entry of Judgment with the County Superior Court where the judgment debtor lives. If they are not a resident, the application and notice can be filed in any county. Nevertheless, it is usually best to file in the county where the debtor’s assets are located — this simplifies the enforcement action. While the Notice of Entry of Judgment serves notice than an entry of judgment occurred, the Application for Entry of Judgment involves more information. It must include the following:
- A certified copy of the sister state judgment
- The balance due under the sister state judgment, including application fees with interest rates allowed by the sister state
- The debtor’s last known address, whether it is a business or residence
- The interest rate in the judgment (cite the law that established the rate)
The court clerk enters the sister state judgment in the same way as they would an original judgment and it has the same effect. It must include the application’s total amount stated as due. Once entered, interest starts accruing at California’s standard 10% annually.
Enforcing the judgment
The judgment debtor is served the Notice of Entry of Judgment, and proof of the service must be filed with the court. Once they are served, the judgment debtor usually has 30 days to respond or file a motion to vacate the judgment. If the judgment does not respond within the allotted time, the judgment creditor can take any legally authorized action to enforce the judgment. Depending upon circumstances, the court may waive the 30-day hold on enforcement.
Effective in-state representation is essential
Creditors attempting to recover money or assets through the sister state judgment process can get local representation from California attorneys who handle collections. These legal professionals are adept at locating assets and taking legal action to leverage payment on the judgment or taking ownership in payment of the debt.