Enforcing a sister-state judgment in California

Enforcing a sister-state judgment in California

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2023 | Firm News

Most people who borrow money or sign financial agreements will eventually make good on their obligations. They will make monthly payments until they have fully covered the balance owed and will do their best to keep their accounts in good standing. However, there are always a few people willing to break the rules and take advantage of a system even if it means potentially causing harm to others.

Some people and businesses borrow money or accrue debt and then never make any reasonable effort to fulfill those financial obligations. Their frustrated creditors may eventually decide that litigation is the only viable solution. Securing a judgment against a debtor expands a creditor’s opportunities to collect on a debt accordingly.

Unfortunately, some people take extreme measures when facing collection efforts, such as leaving the state where they live. Thankfully, if a debtor who owes money in another state relocates to California, it is possible to enforce a sister state judgment in California.

What is a sister state judgment?

Many people find the concept of sister state judgments a bit confusing and are unsure of whether or not their specific judgment applies. California law makes it clear that a judgment from any other state in the country could potentially be eligible for enforcement in California. The party that secured the judgment in another state will need to file the appropriate paperwork with the California civil courts. They will also need to provide a certified copy of the original judgment from the original state itself in most cases. Provided that they do so, the courts can enter a ruling that makes that out-of-state judgment now applicable in California.

The creditor can then conduct the same kind of collection activities, like wage garnishment, that they initially intended to pursue in another state. Seeking to enforce an existing judgment is usually a faster and more cost-effective solution than relitigating the debt would be. For many creditors attempting to collect from someone who has already proven willing to relocate to avoid their financial responsibilities, seeking to enforce a sister state judgment in California may be the most practical solution for handling outstanding debts.

Learning more about California civil rules and how they protect those owed money by others may benefit individuals and organizations eager to collect on a debt when the person who owes money has relocated to California.