If you need a judgment domesticated and enforced in California, The Wallin Firm is ready to help. The domestication process is simple (we typically charge only $1,000 to domesticate a judgment in California). After the California judgment has been entered, we can aggressively use California’s judgment collection tools to collect from the debtor.
To discuss your judgment, please contact us at 949-203-3870 or [email protected].
Please read the below sections to learn the steps necessary to domesticate judgments in California.
When creditors need to collect, The Wallin Firm provides aggressive, experienced representation. Our firm’s approach to successful collections is as follows:
To domesticate an out-of-state judgment in California, follow this procedure:
It is important to understand California’s service requirements with respect to the domestication of judgments in California. In other words, after the judgment has been domesticated in California, is the creditor required to serve the domesticated judgment on the debtor? If so, how must service be made?
The answer depends on the specifics of the judgment debtor. Please read on.
Code of Civil Procedure section 1710.45(a) states:
“Except as otherwise provided in this section, a writ of execution on a judgment entered pursuant to this chapter shall not issue, nor may the judgment be enforced by other means, until at least 30 days after the judgment creditor serves notice of entry of the judgment upon the judgment debtor, proof of which has been made in the manner provided by Article 5 (commencing with Section 417.10 ) of Chapter 4 of Title 5 of Part 2.”
CCP section 1710.45(a) means that, ordinarily, a judgment domesticated in California cannot be enforced until: (1) the domesticated judgment has been served on the debtor, and (2) 30 days have passed since the date of service.
In what manner must the domesticated judgment be served? The answer is: In the same manner as service of a summons and complaint filed in California (e.g., personal service on the debtor, substituted service, Notice and Acknowledgment and Receipt).
Despite the general rule, sometimes the creditor is NOT required to serve the domesticated judgment on the debtor. Code of Civil Procedure section 1710.45(b)(1) states:
“A writ of execution may be issued, or other enforcement sought, before service of the notice of entry of judgment if the judgment debtor is any of the following:
(1) An individual who does not reside in this state.
(2) A foreign corporation not qualified to do business in this state under the provisions of Chapter 21 (commencing with Section 2100 ) of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Corporations Code.
(3) A foreign partnership which has not filed a statement pursuant to Section 15700 of the Corporations Code designating an agent for service of process.”
In other words, if the debtor is: (1) an individual living outside of California, or (2) a business entity not qualified to do business in California, then the creditor is NOT required to serve the domesticated judgment on the debtor. Rather, the creditor can immediately begin enforcing the domesticated judgment in California.
When a creditor domesticates a sister-state judgment or foreign judgment in California, the debtor may seek to stay enforcement of the judgment using CCP § 1750. CCP § 1750 states as follows:
(a) The court shall grant a stay of enforcement where:
(1) An appeal from the sister state judgment is pending or may be taken in the state which originally rendered the judgment. Under this paragraph, enforcement shall be stayed until the proceedings on appeal have been concluded or the time for appeal has expired.
(2) A stay of enforcement of the sister state judgment has been granted in the sister state. Under this paragraph, enforcement shall be stayed until the sister state stay of enforcement expires or is vacated.
(3) The judgment debtor has made a motion to vacate pursuant to Section 1710.40. Under this paragraph, enforcement shall be stayed until the judgment debtor’s motion to vacate is determined.
(4) Any other circumstance exists where the interests of justice require a stay of enforcement.
(b) The court may grant a stay of enforcement under this section on its own motion, on ex parte motion, or on noticed motion.
(c) The court shall grant a stay of enforcement under this section on such terms and conditions as are just including but not limited to the following:
(1) The court may require an undertaking in an amount it determines to be just, but the amount of the undertaking shall not exceed double the amount of the judgment creditor’s claim.
In other words, the California court can stay enforcement of the judgment if (1) an appeal is pending in the sister-state or foreign state; (2) the sister-state has ordered a stay of enforcement; (3) the debtor has filed a motion to vacate the domesticated California judgment; or (4) “any other circumstance where the interests of justice require a stay of enforcement.”
This gives the judge wide discretion as to staying enforcement of the judgment.
But if the judge chooses to stay enforcement of the California judgment, the judge is permitted to do so “on such terms and conditions as are just.” This also gives the judge a great deal of discretion. If the debtor seeks to stay enforcement of a sister-state judgment in California, the creditor should usually ask that the debtor be required to post a bond in the amount set forth in CCP § 917.1 (i.e., 1.5 times or 2.0 times the amount of the judgment). The creditor should also arguing, in opposition to the request for a stay, that the California court should not stay enforcement unless the sister-state has decided to stay enforcement. The state that entered the original judgment knows the matter best. If that state did not find it necessary to impose a stay, then the California court should not impose any stay.
Our firm is dedicated to collecting large debts and judgments from debtors throughout California. We have tremendous experience and success in the collection of judgments in California. Michael Wallin’s practice focuses on creditors’ rights, with an emphasis on debt collection, judgment enforcement, foreclosure, and bankruptcy. Mike helps businesses and individuals collect debts of all sorts, both secured and unsecured. His clients range from publicly traded corporations to family-owned businesses to individuals. He handles collection matters from beginning (e.g., demand, lawsuit, writ of attachment application) to end (e.g., judgment enforcement, fraudulent transfer litigation, bankruptcy). In addition, Mike has substantial experience in all areas of bankruptcy law, including pre-bankruptcy counseling for creditors, dischargeability litigation and other adversary proceedings, fraudulent transfer and preference litigation, relief from stay proceedings, and plans of reorganization. Mike prides himself on his thoroughness, efficiency, and open communication with his clients.
Prior to forming Wallin & Russell LLP, Mike worked for many years at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, one of the largest and most successful law firms in California.
If you need to domesticate a judgment in California, we are happy to help. The Wallin Firm prides itself on doing everything needed to maximize the likelihood of collecting our clients’ judgments.
Feel free to contact us at (949) 203-3870 or [email protected] for a free consultation and complimentary review of your judgment and collection options.