The key to enforcing a judgment is knowing where the judgment debtor’s money is. Typical cash flow sources are bank accounts, employment, rental income, and business receipts. If you have no information regarding the debtor’s assets, you may file an Application and Order for Appearance and Examination.
The Order of Examination is a hearing where you ask the debtor questions about his or her assets. You may ask where the debtor banks and where he or she works, among other questions. There is a fee to file an Order of Examination.
If you file an Order of Examination, you may want to have a Subpoena Duces Tecum issued at the same time. A Subpoena Duces Tecum is used to order the debtor to bring certain documents to the examination hearing. Documents that are generally subpoenaed include pay stubs, bank statements, accounts receivable and any other documents that tend to show where assets are.
Both the Order of Examination and Subpoena Duces Tecum must be personally served by a Sheriff or Registered Process Server.
Upon completing the examination and discovering the various assents that might satisfy the judgment, one or several of those assets must be chosen to satisfy the deb. There are several options for enforcing the payment of the judgment from garnishing wages and other income to putting a lien on real property. They each have their own process.
If the judgment debtor works for someone else, his or her wages may be garnished to pay off the judgment. To begin the process, you must complete a Writ of Execution form. There is a fee to have the Writ of Execution issued. Once the Writ of Execution has been issued, take it to the Sheriff’s Office and request an Application for Earnings Withholding Order. Fill out the forms completely with the employer’s name and address and the judgment debtor’s full name.
The Sheriff will charge a fee to serve the wage garnishment. The Sheriff’s Office can tell you how soon the garnishment should begin after it is served and how much of the judgment debtor’s wages may be garnished per pay period.
If the judgment debtor owns rental property, you may garnish the rents paid by the current tenants. The procedure is the same as for the wage garnishment except you instruct the Sheriff to do a rent garnishment instead of a wage garnishment. The Sheriff will charge a fee to serve the rent garnishment.
If you know the bank and branch the judgment debtor has a deposit account, you may levy on the funds in the account. To begin this procedure you must obtain a Writ of Execution from the clerk. Take the Writ to the Sheriff and request a bank levy. Once the Sheriff serves the levy, the bank account is frozen and the account holder is notified. There is a fee for the Writ and a Sheriff’s fee.
If the judgment debtor owns a business that has a cash register, you may arrange for the Sheriff to go to the business and do either a Till Tap or a Keeper’s Levy. A Till Tap sends the Sheriff into the business to take all cash and checks out of the cash register. A Keeper’s Levy stations the Sheriff at the business for 8 to 12 hours to collect money as it is paid to the business. To begin this procedure you must obtain a Writ of Execution from the clerk. Take the Writ to the Sheriff and request a Till Tap/Keeper’s Levy. There is a fee for the Writ and a Sheriff’s fee.
If the judgment debtor owns real property, you may record a lien on the debtor that attaches the property. Go to the clerk and ask for an Abstract of Judgment form. There is a fee to have the Abstract of Judgment issued. Record the Abstract of Judgment at the County Recorder’s Office, 701 Texas Street, Fairfield, California.
The Abstract places a lien on the equity the judgment debtor has in real property located in Solano County. Before the judgment debtor’s real property can be sold, the lien must be satisfied.
You may record an Abstract of Judgment in any county in which the judgment debtor owns the property.
A judgment creditor is entitled to recover certain costs incurred in enforcing a judgment. The judgment creditor is also entitled to claim 10% interest on the principal amount of the judgment. Costs must be added to the judgment within two years of incurring them. Interest may be added at any time.
Accumulated costs and interest are added to the judgment by filing a Memorandum of Costs with the clerk. Ask the clerk for a Memorandum of Costs form for small claims. Complete the form and mail one copy to the judgment debtor, and file the original with the clerk. The Memorandum of Costs must be mailed by someone other than the creditor.
After the judgment debtor pays the judgment, the judgment creditor is required to immediately sign the short Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment portion of the Notice of Entry of Judgment form and file it with the small claims court.
If the judgment creditor has recorded an Abstract of Judgment in any county where the judgment debtor owns real property, a different acknowledgment form must be used. Also, the judgment creditor must sign the form in front of a notary public and record it with the county recorder in any county where he or she has recorded an Abstract of Judgment.