How to Get a “Writ of Execution”

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If the judgment debtor has not paid the judgment debt when it is due, or made arrangements to pay it over time, California law gives you, the judgment creditor, the right to ask the court to give you a “Writ of Execution.”

A “Writ of Execution” is a court order giving the sheriff (or other “levying officer”) Opens new window the power to seize the judgment debtor’s property in order to pay his or her judgment debt. 

  • The Writ tells the court what property you want to be collected. You have to describe the property. (The sheriff may seize property such as cash, or may seize an item to sell.) 
  • Some or all of the cash and property may be exempt.  To learn more, click here.
  • The clerk may only issue a Writ to you if 30 days have passed since the court mailed the Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form SC-130) to you and the judgment debtor.

You, the judgment creditor, will need a Writ of Execution in order to: 


To get a Writ of Execution

Step 1.
Ask a court clerk to issue a Writ of Execution (Form EJ-130Opens new window for you. 

Step 2.
Make at least 3 copies of the Writ that has the court stamp on it.  Keep one set for your own file.

Step 3. Hire a Registered Process Server (RPS).

NOTE 1:  You may not give the Sheriff’s Office (or other levying agency) the collection documents directly; you must hire a Registered Process Server (RPS) -- unless you qualify for a fee waiver. Opens new window

NOTE 2:  The cost of a Registered Process Server (RPS) will vary from county to county. To find out about costs in your area, look in the yellow pages of your telephone book under "Process Servers," look on the Internet, or contact your local Bar Association for referrals. Then, call several Process Servers in your area and ask them about their costs

Step 4. Give the Registered Process Server: 

  • 2 sets of the Writ, and several other documents. 
  • A check to cover the fee that the levying agency in your county will charge. (You will need to contact the appropriate levying agency to find out the amount of money it requires.)

NOTE :  The Sheriff’s Office’s (or other levying agency’s) fees may be expensive if property is being sold. You may spend more on the fees than the property is worth - especially if an exemption applies.

The Registered Process Server will then open a file with the Sheriff’s Office (or whatever other levying agency is appropriate in your county). 

  • This file will include the Writ of Execution, but there may be other forms needed as well.  Contact the levying agency ahead of time to find out what that office requires. 

Generally, the court will only issue 1 Writ to you every 180 days.  However, the clerk may issue another Writ if the last Writ is: 

  • recalled by you, 
  • returned by the Sheriff (or other levying officer), or 
  • only partly paid by the debtor.

For more information about steps to obtain a Writ of Execution, click here Opens new window


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