California Post Judgment Costs

Everyone knows that suing someone to win a judgment costs money. At the very minimum, the court must get paid and the defendant must be served. Not everyone knows that it also costs more money to attempt to satisfy the judgment.

In a perfect world where you were paid in full immediately after you won your judgment, a notary would have to be paid to notarize your satisfaction of judgment. In the real world, post judgment recovery attempts cost real money, and no repayments are guaranteed. Also, not everything spent trying to recover, can be added to the judgment debt.

This article is my opinion, and not legal advice, based on my experience in California. I am the judgment recovery expert, and am not a lawyer. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer.

What costs are recoverable when enforcing a California money judgment? The short answer is the reasonable and necessary costs. The California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) 685.070 shows the statutory items; the costs which the creditor may almost always add, to the amount the judgment debtor owes. There are four statutory cost categories, and statuary means the costs are defined by law, so they cannot be easily challenged:

1) The cost of getting and/or recording a (certified copy of the judgment or an abstract of judgment), with county recorders.

2) The cost of filing a UCC lien, called a judgment lien, against the debtor’s personal property.

3) The cost of buying a writ of execution and paying the levying officer to serve the writ. Writs are usually served on a bank or employer, by the Sheriff or sometimes by a registered process server. The allowed costs for serving a writ is also mentioned in CCP 685.095.


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