5 Tips for Collecting Judgments in Los Angeles County

A client high-fiving his judgment enforcer after collecting on his unpaid judgment.

A judgment is a court order that requires a person or entity (the judgment debtor) to pay a certain amount of money to another person or entity (the judgment creditor) to satisfy a debt or legal obligation.

While obtaining a judgment may be a victory in and of itself, collecting on the judgment can be another challenge. Many judgment creditors find it difficult to collect on their judgments, especially when the judgment debtor is uncooperative or lacks the funds to pay.

Fortunately, various methods are available to collect money owed from judgments in Los Angeles County. These methods include wage garnishment, bank levies, and liens on property, among others. While judgment collecting may require some effort, it is essential for creditors to take advantage of these options to enforce their judgments and collect the money owed to them.

By collecting a judgment, creditors can protect their financial interests and ensure they receive the funds they are entitled to. In some cases, the amount owed may even accrue interest, further emphasizing the importance of taking legal action to collect on a judgment. It is essential for creditors to work with legal professionals and take the necessary steps to collect their judgments lawfully and effectively.

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Most cases are handled in small claims court due to the small amount owed.

Tip #1: Understand the Judgment Collection Process

If you've obtained a money judgment against someone in Los Angeles County, you may wonder how to collect the amount owed. Collecting a judgment can be complicated and time-consuming, but it's essential to understand it to collect money owed to you successfully.

The first step in the judgment collection process is to file the judgment with the court clerk's office. This is necessary to create a public record of the judgment and to start the enforcement process. Once the judgment has been filed, you'll need to take specific steps to enforce it and collect the money owed to you.

One common way to enforce a money judgment is to place a judgment lien on the debtor's property. This can include real estate, personal property, and even the wages of the debtor. To place a lien on the property, you must file the appropriate forms with the court and provide proof that the judgment debtor owns the property in question.

Another option is to garnish the debtor's wages. This requires filing a separate form with the court and providing information about the debtor's employer and income. The court will then issue an earnings withholding order, which requires the employer to withhold a certain amount of the debtor's wages and send them to you.

If the judgment debtor has a bank account, you may be able to levy the account and collect the money owed to you directly from the bank. This requires obtaining a court order and providing the bank with the necessary paperwork.

In some cases, you may need to take more drastic measures to collect the money owed to you. This could include requesting a bench warrant for the debtor's arrest or working with a levying officer to seize the debtor's personal property.

It's essential to understand the different forms and paperwork required for each enforcement method and the time frames involved. For example, you'll need to attend a hearing date to receive a court's decision on whether your enforcement request will be granted or denied. If your request is granted, you must file the appropriate paperwork with the court and wait for enforcement to be completed.

Enforcing a money judgment can be a long and frustrating process, but it's important to be persistent and to stay on top of the paperwork and procedures involved. Working with a knowledgeable judgment enforcement firm can also help ensure that you take the right steps to collect money owed to you.

Several one hundred dollar bills fanned out, with three golden coins on top of them.
Through the use of a form called WG-005, creditors can utilize wage garnishment to collect a judgment,

Tip #2: Know Your Judgment Debtor's Assets

When collecting a judgment, it's crucial to understand the debtor's assets that can be used to pay off the debt. This includes bank accounts, personal property, and wages from their job or business.

To begin the process of investigating the debtor's assets, the judgment creditor can start by requesting basic information from the judgment debtor about their income, employment, and bank accounts. If the judgment debtor fails to provide this information, the creditor can use legal methods to obtain it.

One way to collect on a judgment is through wage garnishment. This involves having a portion of the debtor's wages withheld by their employer and sent directly to the creditor until the debt is paid off. To do this, the creditor must obtain an earnings withholding order from the court and provide it to the business where the judgment debtor works.

Another method for collecting on a judgment is through a bank levy, which allows the creditor to freeze the funds in the debtor's bank account and seize them to pay off the debt. The creditor must first obtain a writ of execution from the court and then provide it to the levying officer who will carry out the bank levy. The creditor must know the debtor's bank account number and other relevant information to carry out this method.

If the judgment debtor owns personal property, such as motor vehicles or valuable possessions, the creditor can use a writ of execution to seize and sell the property to pay off the debt. The levying officer must be provided with the address of the property.

It's also important to note that self-employed debtors may have assets such as cash registers or other business equipment that can be seized. The creditor can obtain a writ of execution and provide it to the levying officer, who will seize the debtor's business assets and sell them to pay off the debt.

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Seeking outside council can be beneficial if you are learning the landscape of judgment collection.

Tip #3: Seek Help from Consumer and Business Affairs

If you struggle to collect a money judgment in Los Angeles County, you can seek help from the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. This department offers free assistance to judgment creditors who need help enforcing their judgments.

The Consumer and Business Affairs Department can provide written instructions on filing legal action to collect your judgment. They can also offer guidance on how to set up a payment plan with the judgment debtor. In most cases, they can also help you with the enforcement process.

Another helpful service the department offers is the County Recorder's Office, which can help you locate any real property or personal property owned by the judgment debtor. This can be a valuable tool for creditors looking to collect their judgment by placing a lien on the debtor's property.

A man in front of a laptop with a notebook and phone near by, expressing details of his case to a legal professional.
Always ensure your approach in ethical and within legal guidelines, as you can face severe penalties for violating the laws.

Tip #4: Avoid Abusive or Unfair Ways of Collecting

When collecting a judgment, staying within legal boundaries and avoiding abusive or unfair collection methods is essential. The Los Angeles County court system has established laws that protect debtors from being harassed or threatened by creditors. There are several actions that are prohibited when attempting to collect a debt, such as using misleading statements, making illegal threats, or using other illegal ways of collecting.

Misleading statements can include falsely representing oneself as a law enforcement officer or claiming that criminal charges will be filed against the debtor if the debt isn't paid. These statements are illegal and can have severe consequences for the creditor. Similarly, threatening to harm the debtor or their property is prohibited and can lead to legal action against the creditor.

It's important to remember that creditors have legal options for collecting a judgment, and resorting to unethical methods can backfire and result in severe legal and financial penalties. Therefore, creditors must know their legal rights and options while collecting a judgment and avoid engaging in illegal or unethical behaviors.

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Judgment collection agencies, such as The Judgment Solutions, offer amazing support to creditors who need help collecting on their judgment.

Tip #5: Enlist the Help of a Professional Judgment Collection Agency

If you're struggling to collect a judgment, enlisting the help of a professional judgment collector may be a good option. These agencies specialize in collecting difficult-to-collect judgments and can help you navigate the complicated enforcement process. Here's what you need to know.

First, it's important to understand that a judgment enforcement agency works for the judgment creditor (or plaintiff), not the debtor. The agency will use various methods to collect the money owed to you, such as requesting information from the debtor, filing a writ of execution, or placing a lien on the debtor's property.

One advantage of working with a judgment collection agency is that they have access to certain information that you may not, such as the debtor's employment information or bank account details. They can use this information to garnish wages, or levy bank accounts to collect the money owed.

Another benefit of using a judgment collection agency is that they are familiar with the legal process and can help you navigate it. This can be especially helpful if you're unsure which forms to file or how to proceed with enforcement.

Some methods that judgment collection agencies may use include till taps (seizing cash from a business's cash register), levying officers (seizing property to sell to pay off the debt), and court orders (ordering the debtor to pay a certain amount each month).

It's important to note that judgment collection agencies must follow specific legal guidelines when collecting a debt and cannot use illegal or abusive methods to collect. This includes not using threats, harassing the debtor, or misrepresenting themselves.

Before working with a judgment collection agency, make sure you do your research and choose a reputable agency. You may also consult a lawyer to understand your rights and obligations.


Collecting judgments in Los Angeles County can be challenging, but following the legal procedures and seeking professional help can make it easier. The five tips for collecting judgments include understanding the collection process, investigating the debtor's assets, seeking help from Consumer and Business Affairs, avoiding abusive or unfair ways of collecting, and enlisting the help of a professional collection agency.

It's important to remember that judgment creditors are entitled to collect the money owed to them, including any accrued interest. Still, they must follow the proper legal procedures and avoid illegal enforcement methods. By seeking assistance and following the proper procedures, collecting a judgment can be a successful outcome.

Should you need help with collecting your judgment, contact The Judgment Solutions. We provide world-class results on a contingency basis, which means no cost to you unless we deliver your judgment.

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