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How do I collect?

You are the judgment creditor (plaintiff or defendant) if you won the claim. The judgment becomes final 30 days after you receive the Notice of Entry of Judgment in court (SC-130) or the date it is mailed. If the defendant has not filed a Notice of Appeal (SC-140) or a Notice of Motion to Vacate Judgment and Declaration (SC-135) you may collect the judgment.


If you are the judgment creditor make sure the judgment debtor is aware of the judgment and knows where to send the payment. You may work with the debtor to arrange payments. You may accept several payments over time or forgive interest in exchange for full payment.


There are several ways you can enforce a judgment if the judgment debtor refuses to pay it willingly:


If you: This means: You may:
Levy execution on the judgment debtor’s wages A wage garnishment of the judgment debtor’s wages will be imposed until the debt is paid. File a Writ of Execution (EJ-130) so the court can direct the sheriff to enforce your judgment. Complete an Application for Earnings Withholding Order (WG-001) and pay a fee for it to be issued.
Levy execution on the judgment debtor’s bank accounts A bank levy will be placed on the judgment debtor’s bank accounts to pay the judgment. File a Writ of Writ of Execution (EJ-130) and pay a fee for it to be issued. Include the name and branch address of the bank.
Record an Abstract of Judgment A lien is placed on any property owned by the judgment debtor. If the property is sold you will be paid out of the proceeds before the title can be transferred. File an Abstract of Judgment (EJ-001) and pay a fee for it to be issued. Record it with the county recorder in each county where the judgment debtor owns property.
Have the Sheriff do a till tap Money is removed by the Sheriff from the cash register of a business if the judgment debtor is/owns the business. If the initial till tap does not pay the full judgment amount, you can have additional till taps done. File an Execution (EJ-130) and pay a fee for it to be issued. Take the form issued by the clerk to the Sheriff, request in writing that a till tap be performed, and pay a fee. Pay a fee each time it is done.
Put a keeper in the judgment debtor’s business A Sheriff will remain in the judgment debtor’s business and collect all funds until the judgment is paid. This can include:
  • Cash
  • Checks
  • Credit card drafts
File an Application for Order to Produce Statement of Assets and to Appear for Examination (SC-134) and pay a fee for it to be issued. Have the small claims clerk issue a Small Claims Subpoena for Personal Appearance and Production of Documents at Trial or Hearing and Declaration (SC-107) if you want the debtor to bring certain documents. These forms must be served by the Sheriff, a registered process server, or a person appointed by court order at the judgment creditor’s request.
Suspend the judgment debtor’s driver’s license You may have the judgment debtor’s driver’s license suspended if the judgment was not paid within 30 days of final judgment. Have the judgment debtor’s license suspended 90 days if judgment was less than $750.00. Have the judgment debtor’s license suspended until the judgment is paid if your judgment is more than $750.00.

If you need help in completing the forms to collect a judgment, please contact the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs’ Small Claims Court Advisor Program.


For additional information on collecting your judgment, go to the California Courts website.


For the forms listed above and for a complete list of Judicial Council Small Claims forms, go to the California Courts website.


For a complete list of fee amounts, go to the Fees section.

Collecting a Judgment
More Small Claims Q&A Topics
Small Claims Basics
Thinking about Filing a Small Claims case?
Filing my case
Serving Notice of my case to the defendant
Responding to a Small Claims case as a defendant
Appearing in Court
Your Day in Court
Collecting a Judgment
Paying a Judgment
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