California judgment collections strategy

California judgment collections strategy is the topic of this blog post.

This blog post will discuss some of the more common methods for collecting on an unpaid judgment in the State of California.  Unpaid judgments are very common as there are estimates stating that approximately 80% of judgments are never collected.

I have been collecting unpaid judgments in California since 1992 when I worked in industrial property management and over the years I have collected on many judgments both large and small both as an employee and as a judgment recovery professional.

Anyone who has ever obtained a judgment soon discovers that while the Court may enter the judgment they will not collect it for you.  In the real world there are few if any judgment debtors that ever voluntarily pay a judgment which means that the judgment creditor is responsible for collecting the judgment although the Court will issue certain documents that are very useful in collecting on a judgment such as writs of execution, abstracts of judgment, order to appear for examination for a judgment debtor, etc.

There are two major collection methods that can be used in collecting an unpaid judgment which are discussed briefly below.  Anyone attempting to collect on an unpaid judgment should carefully consider which of the two methods they wish to use.

The first method is what I call the active method. The active method involves actively taking steps to collect the judgment such as levying on bank accounts, scheduling judgment debtor examinations, serving wage garnishments, requesting assignment orders, etc.  The active method is my personal favorite for collecting on judgments as it increases the odds of collection

The active method does have one major disadvantage which is that it takes time and money to pursue the active method of judgment collections. Another disadvantage is that it may persuade the judgment debtor to take certain actions to avoid having to pay the judgment such as filing for bankruptcy, moving out of state, etc.

The second method is what I call the passive method. The passive method only works in cases  where you know that the judgment debtor owns or has an ownership interest in real property located in a certain county.  In that case you could record an abstract of judgment in the county where the real property is located and that will place a recorded lien on any present or future ownership interest by the judgment debtor in any real property located in that county that will last in most cases until the judgment expires or the judgment is paid off.   Another situation would be if the judgment debtor owns a business in which case you can file a notice of judgment lien with the California Secretary of State. The major advantage of the passive method is that in most cases it takes less time and money to utilize the passive method. However the major disadvantage to the passive method is that you may have to wait a long time before the judgment is paid off.

This blog post is merely an overview of the basic strategy for California judgment collections.  While some individuals do well collecting their own unpaid judgment many do not have the time, money or inclination to attempt collection on their own.  Those individuals may want to consider assigning the judgment to a judgment recovery professional.

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, has collected unpaid California judgments since 1992 and has also worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995 as a freelance paralegal.  Anyone with an unpaid judgment of at least $40,000.00 entered in the State of California that is interested in having Mr. Burman collect their judgment for them on a strictly contingency basis can contact him at for more information.

You can view portions of over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation at

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995 and has created over 300 sample legal documents for sale.

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Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.