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Glossary of Judgment Collection Terms

Abstract of Judgment: A Summary of the judgment. We often use abstracts issued under Code of Civil Procedure §674 as a method of judgment collection. When a properly prepared abstract of judgment is recorded with the county recorder, by operation of law it creates a general involuntary lien on the all real property vested in the name of the judgment debtor Code of Civil Procedure §697.340.

Acknowledgement of Assignment of Judgment: This is the instrument required under Code of Civil Procedure §673 to transfer title of a judgment to an assignee of record. When this instrument is filed with the Court, the Assignee of Record (Judicial Revenue Service) becomes the Judgment Creditor under Code of Civil Procedure §680.240 and may enforce the judgment against the judgment debtor. The first step in our judgment collection process is to file an Acknowledgement of Assignment of Judgment with the Court.

Acknowledgement of Satisfaction of Judgment:  The document we file with the court after we have collected on a judgment that evidences partial or full payment of the judgment. When this document is recorded in the County Recorder’s office it releases all judgment liens created under a recorded abstract of judgment within the county. When we need to evidence a partial collection of a judgment we file a partial satisfaction as defined by Code of Civil Procedure §724.120. When we collect a judgment in full, we file a full satisfaction of judgment under Code of Civil Procedure §724.060. When evidencing a collection of a spousal or child support judgment we file our satisfaction under Code of Civil Procedure §724.250.
Affidavit of Identity: A declaration by the judgment creditor that the judgment debtor is also known by other names. Sometimes a judgment debtor uses several different names and the judgment is only enforceable against the name of the judgment debtor as it appears on the judgment. Code of Civil Procedure §680.135 provides a method to add additional aliases of the judgment debtor to a Writ of Execution or Abstract of Judgment. It is critically important to include all name variations when enforcing a judgment. The 9th Circuit Court decided that a title company was not liable to pay a lien recorded in the name of David Elliot, when the real estate was vested as David Elliott. [198 Cal.App.3d 666, 244 Cal.Rptr. 13].

Assignee of Record: The party (Judicial Revenue Service) that takes title to a judgment under Code of Civil Procedure §673 and becomes the judgment creditor under Code of Civil Procedure §680.240. The Assignee of Record has all of the rights to enforce and collect the judgment against the judgment debtor under the Enforcement of Judgments Laws.

Assignment Order: This powerful judgment collection technique is provided under Code of Civil Procedure §708.510 and allows a judgment collector to intercept royalties, commissions and other future payments which would normally be paid to the judgment debtor.  We often use assignment orders to collect judgments against landlords who receive rental income or real estate agents who receive commissions that cannot be garnished under a Writ of Execution. Assignment orders must be obtained through a noticed motion, and are generally more complicated than most other judgment enforcement procedures.

Automatic Stay:  When a Judgment Debtor files for protection under the United States Bankruptcy Code, the filing of the petition automatically stops all collection efforts against the judgment debtor pending determination of the judgment creditors rights. Under certain circumstances we can file an adversary proceeding in the Bankruptcy Court in an attempt to exclude certain debts or all debts from the bankruptcy discharge so that we can continue to enforce the judgment against the judgment debtor even after Bankruptcy.

Adversary Proceeding: A special lawsuit that is filed in the Bankruptcy Court when a dispute arises between the judgment creditor and judgment debtor or trustee. We often file adversary proceedings under 11 USC §523 to determine dischargeability of a particular debt. This allows us to continue to enforce the judgment even after a Bankruptcy discharge. We can also file adversary proceedings under 11 USC §727 which provides that all of the judgment debtors debts are enforceable after the bankruptcy proceeding.

Bench Warrant: An order by the court directed to a law enforcement agency to arrest a person for disobeying a subpoena or failing to appear before the Court as ordered. When a debtor fails to appear as ordered for a Judgment Debtor Examination we ask the Court to issue a bench warrant. If the debtor is arrested and posts bail, we can levy on the bail under a Writ of Execution.

Case Law: laws created by earlier judicial decisions regarding the same arguments. Our legal system follows the doctrine of stare decisis which means to rely on earlier decisions where the same points arise again. For example, in the judgment collection field we often make reference to cases such as Young v. Keele [188 Cal.App.3d 1090, 233 Cal.Rptr. 850] which allows a judgment collector “the widest scope for inquiry concerning property and business affairs of the debtor” during a judgment debtor examination.

Certified Copy: A duplicate of an original document certified to be an exact replica of the original document.

Conformed Copy: A filed copy of an original document.

Claim of Exemption: When a judgment debtor files a claim of exemption pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure §703.510 et seq with the levying officer  indicating that the pending judgment enforcement procedure is reaching exempt assets or if the judgment debtor claims the exempt property is necessary to support the judgment debtor or the judgment debtors dependents. The claim of exemption must be made under penalty of perjury by the Judgment Debtor and is subject to opposition under Code of Civil Procedure §703.550 by the Judgment Creditor.

Community Property: California is a community property state in that all property acquired between husband and wife or registered domestic partners becomes property of the community estate. Code of Civil Procedure §695.020 provides that Community property is subject to the enforcement of a money judgment. The judgment collector can apply for a court order under Code of Civil Procedure §706.109 to garnish the wages of the debtors spouse to collect a judgment. Another judgment collection technique is to levy on the bank account of a debtors spouse. Code of Civil Procedure §700.160 provides the judgment collector with the authority to do so.

Default Judgment: A judgment entered against a defendant who has failed to answer or otherwise defend a lawsuit. Default judgments are usually obtained when the defendant was properly notified of the court hearing, but failed to appear.
Also see: Judgment

Discovery: The process of learning something that was unknown. The judgment collector often uses post judgment discovery methods such as subpoenas or interrogatories to obtain further information about the assets and income of a judgment debtor. One of the judgment collector’s most widely used methods of discovery in judgment collection is the judgment debtor examination. This tool allows the judgment collector to apply for an order requiring the  judgment debtor to appear before the court for questioning. Code of Civil Procedure §708.110 authorizes the order, and if the judgment debtor fails to appear at the hearing, the judgment debtor may be arrested and brought before the court to face a contempt charge under Code of Civil Procedure §708.170.

Fraudulent Transfer: see Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act - Judgment Debtors often try to hide their assets. One method they like to attempt is to transfer property to a friend or family member with little or no consideration in an attempt to place the property beyond the reach of their creditors. A skilled judgment collector is able to identify such transfers and move the Court to set aside the fraudulent transfer and allow the property to be seized to satisfy the judgment.

Fraudulent Conveyance: See Fraudulent Transfer.

Judgment: See Money Judgment. Judicial Revenue Service only enforces Money Judgments.

Judgment Creditor: The party who is owed the money on a judgment. When Judicial Revenue Service files our Acknowledgment of Assignment of Judgment, we become the Judgment Creditor under Code of Civil Procedure §680.240.

Judgment Debtor: The party who a judgment is entered against.

Judgment Lien: A lien created by the judgment creditor that attaches to the non-exempt interest of the judgment debtors property. The most common lien created by a judgment collector is that of an Abstract of Judgment. When the Judgment Debtor is served with an Application and Order to Appear, service of the order creates a secret lien on all property of the judgment debtor for 1 year.

Keeper Levy: A judgment collection procedure under Code of Civil Procedure §700.070 where the judgment collector sends a keeper, (usually a sheriff) into a debtors business to take over operation of the business. The keeper will collect all money that comes into the business and deliver it to the judgment collector. This procedure can be very frustrating for a judgment debtor and often will lead to some form of voluntary payment arrangement.

Lien: see judgment lien.

Memorandum of Costs:  A form adopted by the California Judicial Council which in compliance with Code of Civil Procedure §685.070 allows the judgment collector to add allowable costs, interest and evidence all credits received. We generally file this document in conjunction with the issuance of a Writ of Execution allowing us to include all costs and interest on the Writ of Execution.

Money Judgment: An order from the court ordering the judgment debtor to pay the judgment creditor a specific amount of money. It is not unlawful for the judgment debtor to disobey this order by not paying. Judgment collectors have a wide range of collection techniques available to us under California’s Enforcement of Judgment Laws which allow us to force debtors to pay their judgments.

Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act:  Adopted in 1984 to replace the Uniform Fraudulent Conveyances Act, The Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act provides uniform penalties in many states against debtors who fraudulently transfer assets to avoid creditors. Judgment Debtors often deed real property to a friend or family to try and avoid paying a debt. The UFTA provides a method for the judgment collector to attack suspicious transfers and ask a Court to undo the transfer so that the judgment collector can seize the transferred property.

Writ of Execution: A Court order directing a levying officer or sheriff to enforce a money judgment. A Writ of Execution issued under Code of Civil Procedure §699.520 is a very powerful tool, and is the core of many basic judgment collection techniques. With a valid Writ of Execution, the sheriff or levying officer can be directed to garnish a debtors wages under Code of Civil Procedure §706.020, seize funds in the debtors bank account under Code of Civil Procedure §700.140, seize and foreclose upon real property under Code of Civil Procedure §700.015, and much more.


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For information purposes only, not to be considered legal advice. If you require legal advice please contact an attorney.
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