After the Judgment: What to do if you lost the case
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 who won and lost. 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 judgment creditor must wait 30 days from the date the court mails the Notice of Entry of Judgment before taking any steps to collect the judgment.
What you, the judgment debtor, can do depends on whether you went to the hearing or not.
If you went to the hearing
You have 30 days from the date that the court mailed the Notice of Entry of Judgment to:
- Pay the debt (or meet the requirements of the conditional judgment )
- File an appeal of the judgment (to learn how to do this, click here) or
- Complete and mail to the judgment creditor a Judgment Debtor’s Statement of Assets (Form SC-133).
- The SC-133 form has information about your property, including what it is, where it is located and who has it.
- Do not send a copy of the SC-133 form to the court. Send it to the judgment creditor directly.
If you did NOT go to the hearing
The court’s judgment is a “default judgment.” In this case:
- If you were served correctly – but you had a good reason for not going to the hearing – you have 30 days from the date that the court mailed the Notice of Entry of Judgment to file a motion to vacate (cancel) the judgment.
To learn how to do this, click here.
- If you were NOT served correctly, you have 180 days from the date you knew, or should have known, that you lost the case to file the motion to vacate (cancel) the judgment. To learn how to do this, click here.
If you properly file an appeal or motion within the 30-day time period, the judgment creditor must wait until the appeal or motion is decided by the court before trying to collect the judgment.
In the case of a default judgment which resulted from improper service, you should file your motion as soon as possible within the 180-day period. This is because the judgment creditor can start collecting as soon as the 30-day waiting period has passed.
If you pay the money right away, there are certain things that both you and the judgment creditor need to do. To learn about what you should do, click here.
If you do NOT PAY the money right away, your wages, money, and property may be taken without further warning from the court. To learn what you, as the judgment debtor, can do for yourself, click here.
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