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After the Judgment: What to do if you won the case

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After the trial hearing, the court clerk will mail the plaintiff and the defendant a Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form SC-130), which states that the small claims case has been decided – and how much money one side must pay the other. The court clerk will also include
a blank form called Judgment Debtor’s Statement of Assets
(Form SC-133). 

  • The person who won the case is now called the
    “judgment creditor.” 
  • The person lost the case is now called the
    “judgment debtor.”


The 30-Day Waiting Period

As the judgment creditor, you must wait at least 30 days from the date the court mails the Notice of Entry Judgment before trying to collect the judgment. This is because the judgment debtor has 30 days to do certain things, depending on whether he or she went to the trial hearing.

A.  If the judgment debtor went to the hearing, he or she has 30 days from the date that the court mailed the Notice to:

  • Pay the debt 
  • File an appeal Opens new window of the judgment (Form SC-140), or 
  • Complete and mail to you a Judgment Debtor’s Statement of Assets
    (Form SC-133).

B.  If the judgment debtor did NOT go to the hearing, the court’s judgment is a “default judgment.” Opens new window

  • If you served the debtor correctly, and the debtor had a good reason for not going to the hearing -- the judgment debtor has 30 days from the date that the court mailed the Notice to:

    • Pay the debt
    • File a motion Opens new window to vacate (cancel) the judgment.
       
  • If you did NOT serve the judgment debtor correctly, he or she has 180 days from the date they knew, or should have known, that judgment was entered against them to file the motion to vacate (cancel) the judgment.

    NOTE:  If you have already started to collect on the judgment when the judgment debtor files the motion to vacate, you must stop all collection efforts until the judge makes a decision about that motion.


After the 30-Day Waiting Period Has Passed
 

If the debtor pays the money right away:

As soon as you receive all of the money that the judge decided is owed to you, or the other party did something or stopped doing something, as the judge ordered, you have four (4) steps to take:

Step 1. Fill out the short form on the back of the Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form SC-130), called the “Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment.”

  • Make 2 copies of it – one copy for the debtor and one copy for your files.


Step 2.
File Opens new window the form with the court. 

  • The court clerk will keep the original form and file-stamp the two copies.


Step 3. Serve Opens new window a copy of the Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment (on the back of Form SC-130) on the judgment debtor.

Remember: you cannot do this yourself. Ask an adult who is 18 years or older and not involved in the case to serve the form for you. 

  • Have the person who served the document fill in and sign a Proof of Service form. 

    • If the service was done in person, have your server use Form POS-020 Opens new window
    • If the service was done by mail, have your server use Form POS-030 Opens new window
       
  • Make a copy of the Proof of Service and keep it in a safe place.


Step 4. File the original Proof of Service (either the POS-020 or POS-030) at the court.


If the debtor does NOT PAY the money right away, the court will NOT collect the money or enforce the judgment for you.


To learn what you can do to collect your debt, click here.
 


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